Palaeontologists Discover Sail-back Dinosaur’s Distinctive Underwater Hunting Technique

Unlike previously thought, the huge sail-back dinosaur Spinosaurus may have hunted in shallow seas like a heron instead of in deep oceans. During the Cretaceous period, which was the last epoch of the dinosaurs, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was one of the biggest predators on Earth.

According to research that was published in PLOS ONE, these African species weighed around seven tonnes, which is more than an African bull elephant’s weight. “It’s a very distinctive-looking dinosaur due to its enormous’sail’ on its back,” said research author Nathan Myhrvold.

Most paleontologists agree that Spinosaurus was a dinosaur that consumed fish. Regarding its way of life and hunting techniques, there has been continuous discussion, nonetheless. According to some research, these dinosaurs swam or waddled in shallow waters close to the coast in order to catch food. According to other research, Spinosaurus was an aquatic predator that dove deep into the water to find its food.

The new study’s authors performed a new investigation in order to ascertain the dinosaur’s aquatic habits by reassessing its bone density. Additionally, they cited a previous research that supported the theory that Spinosaurus hunted its prey by diving into deep seas.

The relevant investigation was conducted in 2020 and published in the journal Nature under the direction of Matteo Fabbri of the Field Museum of Natural History. The authors of the new research contended that there could be serious problems with the 2020 study. We proved that the dataset they used was inappropriate for their approach since many statistical techniques can only be used to data that meets certain requirements. According to Myhrvold, “the data in Fabbri et al. did not exhibit the required characteristics.”

According to Myhrvold and his colleagues, this theory is not physiologically viable. They emphasized that the air sacs in the spine bones of Spinosaurus, like those of many other dinosaurs, provided so much buoyancy that diving would not have been conceivable.

Accordingly, Myhrvold clarified, “the density of thigh and rib bones does not indicate whether a dinosaur could dive.” Myhrvold said that the goal of the current research was to refute the theory that Spinosaurus hunted underwater, even if it does not conclusively end the argument. According to their research, the dinosaur was not a predator that could swim or dive in search of fish.

Paul Sereno, another author of the PLOS ONE study who is affiliated with the University of Chicago, stated, “We find no evidence from bone density to suggest that Spinosaurus was anything other than what we have inferred from numerous other lines of evidence in previous research—a semi-aquatic, fish-eating predator that prowled shorelines and shallow waters, ambushing prey of various sizes.”

“Like a heron, it might have lurked in shallow water to ambush fish,” Myhrvold said. “We don’t believe their data substantiates their conclusions,” Fabbri said. “Myrvhold et al. claim that high bone density is only found in the legs, but this is false: we found high density in the ribs, the sail and tail spines, and even the hand bones,” he said.

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