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Re: Carcharodontosaurus & Spinosaurus

Waylon Rowley wrote:

> I've been especially interested in the
> non-coelurosaurian tetanurans for quite some time now,
> and what little I've learned about the saharan taxa
> suggests that the large spinosaurs in that region fed
> on large fish and probably the ornithischians.
> Carcharodontosaurs seemed to have evolved to hunt the
> larger sauropods, and therefore the predatory habits
> of these animals did not overlap as much. Although I'm
> sure there were many encounters between these
> creatures, it was probably not a common affair, and
> rarely resulted in a JP3-style battle. At least that's
> my take on the situation.

Ornithischians occurring at the same point in time and space with
_Spinosaurus_ have yet to be found in the eastern Sahara.  Doesn't mean
they aren't there, of course.  As it appears that the southern shores of
the Tethys in the Late Cretaceous had no shortage of predators, we can
expect that there had to be some niche partitioning going on among them.
This was probably an acute issue in what is now Egypt, as it looks like _S.
aegyptiacus_ and _Carcharodontosaurus_ basically shared the same
coastline.  We have some evidence that the larger non-spinosaurid theropods
in Egypt munched on sauropods.  However, as far as _Spinosaurus_ eating
fish goes, all we have is some inferred behavior postulated on the basis of
anatomy (much of that extrapolated from phylogenetically close taxa) and
some extrapolations of behavior from other spinosaurids.  For _S.
aegyptiacus_, that leaves us with little more right now than a hypothesis
to test.  Is it likely that _S. aegyptiacus_ ate fish?  Absolutely.  It was
a coastal system..it is likely that _Carcharodontosaurus_ ate fish.  We
have something like 55 bloody fish species.  Do we know for sure that _S.
aegyptiacus_ incorporated a lot of fish into its diet right now?
Absolutely not.  Do I think that _Carcharodontosaurus_  would have wiped
the floor with _Spinosaurus_ in an altercation?  Absolutely.  Do I have
anything other than a gut feeling for that?  Absolutely not.

Josh Smith
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
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