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Spinosaur crests & sails



I've been looking into the Spinosauria recently, as
I'm sure everyone will be talking about them after the
release of JP3. I think I've come up with a fairly
plausible functional purpose for spinosaur crests and
sails that might be tested by examining the fossils. I
suggest that the cruciate process/median crest was in
fact a kind of sensor for detecting pressure waves in
the water from struggling prey. The best was to
illustrate this is to place a large T-shaped object in
the tub. Now wiggle your finger next to it to produce
ripples. the central shaft of the T will prevent the
waves from striking one of side-branches of the T.
Imagine a giant Suchomimus searching for fish at
night. A lungfish surfaces to take a breath, and the
dinosaur moves it's snout along the surface of the
water until the waves strike both sides of its crest
equally, thus homing in on the fish. If I could
examine the fossilized crest, I could test this
hypothesis by looking for nerve foramina or other
evidence of an organ near the lacrimal horn. If this
could be confirmed, it might raise questions about the
purpose of nasolacrimal crests throughout the
Theropoda, suggesting that they were sensitive
structures that might have been used sexually, like
the spurs of some Boid snakes that stimulate females
by digging it into their skin. Perhaps this is how the
evolution of assisted preening evolved in birds. As
for the sails, I wanted to entertain the idea that
they helped keep partially submerged spinosaurs warm
by a absorbing the early morning/late evening
sunlight. Oxygen isotope sampling could come in handy
to test this. Another idea is that the sail was used
to intimidate large crocodilians like Deinosuchus,
which no doubt posed a threat to these animals. If
you've ever seen an angry or horny gator, you'll know
they arch their backs and grumble....a swimming
spinosaur with its sail sticking out of the water
would look like a mighty big male to the observing
Deinosuchus. Anyway, just thought I'd vent a couple
ridiculous ideas at you. Bye.     

-Waylon

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