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Re: Spinosaur crests & sails

Very interesting theory, although I wasn't aware of any cranial crests
among the Spinosaurs. In addition, I believe that Spinosaurus predated
Deinosuchus by several million years, IIRC. Moreover, it is not known if
Spinosaurus or its relatives were as aquatic as the crocodilians.

Waylon Rowley wrote:

> 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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