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Spinosaurus: Why Giants aren't so Bad*ss!




In October of 1989, when director Steven Spielberg was speaking with science fiction author Michael Crichton about ideas for screenplay of a TV series, the author let slip the news that he planned on writing a book about geneticists resurrecting dinosaurs.  Before any other deals were done, Spielberg demanded rights to a screenplay for the book, which was a non-negotiable fee of 1.5 million US Dollars along with a fair percentage of the gross from the film.  Crichton agreed, and before he had even published his final draft, the film Jurassic Park was on its way to development.  Four years later, it would hit the big screen as one of the biggest films of our age, roughly three years after the book was released.  By then, Jurassic Park was a bestseller, and was well on its way to becoming Crichton's signature novel, so the movie took the world by storm.  By May of 2013, the film's total earnings has equaled to roughly about an estimate of $970 Million worldwide, making it the 18th most grossed film in history.

Since then, the franchise has been released in many, many formats.  Many of us remember the famous website, the JP Institute (may it rest in peace), along with several dozens of video games released in all kinds of formats ranging from home console to PC to even arcade systems.  The book alone became Crichton's signature novel, as mentioned earlier, and later led to the creation of the sequel in the series.  Since then the movie has had follow ups, and while some are better than others they still fit relatively well and are considered to be some of the best of cinema, accurate to the series or not.

Probably the one that I have a lot of memories of is Jurassic Park 3.  While not an adaptation of the book itself, the sequel to the series pits famous paleontologist Alan Grant, the protagonist of the first film and book, against the fabled Isla Sorna or Site B from the second book and film.  Attempting to rescue the son of a department store owner and his ex-wife, Grant finds himself facing his worst nightmares all over again (namely the ever-changing Velociraptors) and, of course, a new and deadly face; Spinosaurus Aegypticus.

Now comes the paleontology part.  For those of you who don't know, Spinosaurus Aegypticus is one of the most popular dinosaurs to date (for obvious reasons...I mean, Hollywood's practically glorified it).  Known for scant fossils found primarily in Egypt and the Sahara (Northern Africa primarily), the dinosaur is known for being estimated to be by far the biggest carnivorous dinosaur to date.  This is due to its headgear; a long snout like a crocodile's that makes it much longer than a Tyrannosaur's skull, but not nearly as thick; and its spine, which carried neural extensions that made it look like a giant sailback.

Spinosaurus to date does not have a single complete skeleton, though it has several casts and estimates based on other bones and the bones of family members of its species.  While it once had a complete skeleton, this had been discovered by German Paleontologists which took it to the Natural History Museum in Berlin...which, unfortunately, had been dug up and set up for display just before WWII hit.  By the time when American forces finished bombing the capital of hated Germany, most of the city was sacked or in flames, and the Natural History Museum was chief among these.  It isn't stated whether or not any of the fossils survived, though it's likely enough fragments and details were left to cover how big the creature really was.

In any case, the highlight of the third film was that Spinosaurus was an unprecedented addition to the Park that wasn't included in the roster; likely, not even John Hammond, InGen's founder, knew at all about it.  This suggested that not only was the Site B staff keeping secrets from their CEO, they were also performing genetic experiments.  The team of protagonists manage to make their way to the island only to have their plane encroached by the monster within minutes after their arrival.  The plane crashes, and the monster follows, intent upon making a meal out of the humans.  They do their best to escape only to run into what was thought to be the island's top predator, a T. Rex (explained to be a Juvenile by the development team, the grown baby of the second film).  They end up leading the two predators into one another by mistake, which then causes them to duke it out.  The smaller Rex tries in vain to take out the more massive predator, but then gets its neck snapped in half and potentially leads to the corpse being devoured by the blatantly more amazing predator.

Since that famed fight, paleontologists, fossil hunters, and dinosaur lovers the world over steadily complained until it became an uproar.  The fight had been unfair and blatantly in the larger carnivore's favor, while the Hollywood script didn't even give the smaller Rex a chance to deploy its famed killing tool; its own bite.  But the deed was done.  Almost overnight, Spinosaurus was the new king of the dinosaurs.  The fabled Tyrannosaurus Rex's crown was stolen away in favor of the new gilded champion of the silver screen, and would later be shown all over the world as an indomitable predator that takes no prisoners.

The purpose of this little piece of non fiction isn't to put down a species; Spinosaurs are among my favorite dinosaurs (two of the known species, Baryonyx and Suchomimus, are in particular favorites of mine).  It's simply to give those new to dinosaurs (or only experience them through popular media) a chance to see exactly what kind of predator it was, why it would have been so formidable...and why a T. Rex would be more than able to smoke it in one-on-one combat.

The Largest Carnivore to walk the Earth

For many years Tyrannosaurus Rex had the title of biggest man on campus.  That all changed when we began discovering other predatory dinosaurs throughout the world.  With the discovery of Tarbosaurus Bataar in Mongolia, we found out that T. Rex was not the only giant carnivore in the world, and that other Tyrannosaurs dominated the northern hemisphere.  But then what really surprised scientists was the discovery of predators found in the same fossil beds as the ones were the giant sauropod dinosaurs were found in South America; giant sauropods that once, long ago, shared relatives that had to deal with the same family of giant reptiles; Allosaurs.

The Charcharodontosaurs proved to paleontologists that Tyrannosaurs weren't the only giant predators of the Cretaceous Period.  While for the most part they didn't possess nearly the same kind of armory as a Rex, they did have larger skulls with hatchet-like teeth and had the added advantage of size on their side.  They had evolved specifically to hunt the very large prey like the Sauropod dinosaurs, such as Argentinosaurus and Sauroposeidon from South American and Africa respectively.  It was something their ancestors did long before them in the Jurassic, and it would have been something they'd continue in the future until the last of the giant dinosaurs died out.  It was in discovering these fossils that the idea that predators bigger than T.Rex were speculated, and soon after scientists began to take an interest in the only other large carnivore in the Cretaceous they had known up to that point; a dinosaur whose fossil remains were thought lost in WWII bombings.

Spinosaur fossils have a tendency of being hard to find, but what we can find shows that they are very big.  What is known about them in particular is that they are part of a group of theropod dinosaurs classified as Spinosaurs after the signature Spinosaurus.  They are known for their elongated, crocodile-like skulls, their long sharp fore-thumbs similar to a Raptor's second toe (but located on the hand instead), and their spines, which extend long enough to create a noticable spinal ridge across the top.  Up to this point, two other spinosaurs were identified with a third speculated (Irritator from Brazil), before the group was named.

Spinosaurus's key trait is its massive neural spines, which are taller than a man at their tallest, and have a degree in thickness unlike those found in previously discovered spined reptiles (Pelycosaurs, such as Dimetrodon from the Permian Period, being among the first with very thin, elongated spines, and Ouranosaurus, which had thicker spines and weren't nearly as elongated.  It was enough that it's been hypothesized that Spinosaurus had a hump like a Buffalo instead, though this hump would be rather big and, in a carnivorous dinosaur, would likely be a very unnecessary adaptation.  More likely it was built for display or like a Pelycosaur's, used for temperature regulation similar to an organic solar panel.

Spinosaurus's size has been estimated to have ranged in length between 49 and 59 feet long, enough dimensions that it already severely dwarfs the largest Tyrannosaurus by almost over 15 feet in length.  By reptile standards, this is massive.  With the sail added this would make Spinosaurus also the tallest of the theropod dinosaurs, ranging well within 30 feet in height.  It's little wonder Hollywood's glorified this monster of predators; if bigger is better, Spinosaurus would be the dinosaur equivalent of Chuck Norris or Arnold Schwarzenegger circa Terminator 1.  Pure blockbuster material right there.

Of course, we don't have enough fossil evidence to point towards whether or not that size was even useful to Spinosaurus.  Spinosaurs have been show to share adaptations similar to crocodiles; an elognated snout, with conical teeth designed to grip prey rather than tear off chunks of flesh.  Recent finds have shown that they also may have had pressure sensors in their snouts, making them perfectly adapted to hunting while standing in water.  This would have made them the perfect fishermen of the dinosaur world.  Hunting fish provides new means of opportunity and less competition; when there are other predators that are bigger than you, the best way to cope is to find food that's plentiful that other dinosaurs cannot get to.  Fish swimming upstream in rivers, or generally swimming about in ponds and lakes, provide perfect sustenance for a dinosaur that would otherwise be forced to directly compete with competition.

As time would go by, they would become better adapted to their lives as fish hunters.  They'd become powerful swimmers, able to move in the water like their crocodile cousins.  They'd develop powerful forearms capable of tearing flesh similar to a bear's, which would free up their jaws for gripping slippery fish.  And in order to keep themselves off of the food chain they'd have to get bigger than their competition, until they themselves were big enough that they could hunt other dinosaurs for their own food as well as fish.

More than one bully on the block...

Spinosaurus became the epitome of that evolutionary line, and likely would have been just as successful as the Tyrannosaurs until their extinction roughly 90+ MYA.  By that time it had all of the adaptations that made it an even deadlier hunter than its predecessors.  It could hunt fish, and likely hunted sawfish over 8 meters in length.  It could also hunt dinosaurs, as tooth marks in other fossils suggested.  But it wasn't exactly the dominant killer, especially when a neural spine was discovered having been bitten off; the jaw size belonging to the only other large carnivore in the region; Charcharadontosaurus.

What made Spinosaurus really successful was most definitely not its arsenal.  By predator standards, Spinosaurs were wimps; relying on a change in diet rather than directly competing with other predators for food.  While this strategy paid off in the end, their bodies became adapted so that they would become the perfect fish killers...not theropod fighters.  Its skull was long, pointed, and full of conical teeth designed to grip prey.  The bite itself would be relatively deadly to a herbivorous dinosaur half of its size, but to a predator nearly matching it in weight and length it could easily be shrugged off.

Its claws were another matter.  Spinosaurus's conical teeth would have been an eating hazard if it was unable to tear apart prey to get at the juicy flesh within.  While this problem is easily solved in mammals due to their three different modes of teeth, in archosaurs like the dinosaurs and crocodiles this presents a problem.  Their teeth are almost all very much alike, with only the incisors and tearing teeth having any real difference between species.  Instead of teeth change they usually become adapted by the way they feed through other means.  Crocodiles do this by simply biting into their prey and tearing it off piecemeal usually by performing a death roll.  While this 'could' have been accomplished in early Spinosaurs like Baryonyx, for Spinosaurus performing any form of action that would involve damaging its neural spines would be fatal; it would break its back all along the vertebrae and likely die instantly.

So, instead, they used their claws.  Spinosaurs all have a powerful foreclaw on their hands that looks in appearance almost identical to the powerful toe claws that make the Dromaeosaur dinosaurs so famed.  Claws like that are designed to grip straight through flesh, and are thick enough that, when pulled, tear through skin like a butcher's knife.  Powerful arms would be needed for a predator of this size to tear large enough chunks fast enough for it to become an efficient eater of any diet; fish or otherwise.

This being said, arsenal-wise Charcharadontosaurus has the advantage.  As a descendant of Allosaurs; efficient and deadly killers for their time that left quite a mark on history as predators of the largest of herbivore dinosaurs; Charcharadontosaurus already has genetic experience at being an efficient hunter.  But its prey isn't fish; it does not satisfy itself with meager prey.  Instead, it hunts the largest of animals, ranging from the hadrosaurs like the Iguanadonts to the massive sauropod dinosaurs like Sauroposeidon.  Regardless of how big they got, dinosaurs like these usually got the meal they wanted regardless of how old or young it was or how massively big.  Sauroposeidons were big enough that if predators wanted they would simply slice off chunks of flesh from the dinosaurs while they were still alive; wounding them but not killing them, often following the same animal until it eventually dies of blood loss and infection.

Charcharodontosaurus would do this through a combination of its bite and its jaws.  Like allosaurs, it could potentially have used its upper jaw like a hatchet; sawing off chunks of flesh straight off of the animal and administering shock and blood loss similar to hacking with a butcher's cleaver into a living oxen; brutal, certainly not a clean kill, but effective and efficient for its needs.  Its jaws likely were also much stronger than Spinosaurus's, though not nearly as strong as Tyrannosaurus's.  Charcharodontosaurus also had a much larger skull and mouth, initially placing it with the largest skull of any land animal on the planet.

Just this massive head alone could beat a Spinosaur's powerful arms and conical teeth in a heartbeat, but Spinosaurus did have one advantage; its size.  All large predators use their size to bully others; Lions in Africa use their size and power to drive Hyenas away from a kill so that they could enjoy the spoils instead.  Other predators simply have no other option, regardless of how more efficiently they actually can kill.  Spinosaurus is without a doubt the largest carnivore to walk the Earth.  Its sail alone more than makes up for the size it otherwise would have to make up for if it ever stood shoulder to shoulder with other large carnivores.  Though it's more likely that it had other uses, if used for display this sail could have intimidated anything on the planet that lived.  There would be no conceivable way a Charcharadontosaurus would even consider going near a dinosaur that big that was a predator.

Yet it still did.  It's obvious that these two predators entangled with one another, based on fossil evidence.  But despite this, the likelihood that they'd fight each other to the death was very slim.  Most predators of similar size try to avoid each other if they can.  Better to go hungry and stay alive than to die with a full belly and your enemy's teeth buried in your skull.

Regardless of who was more successful of a predator, in the end the reason why Spinosaurus died out was because it was too specialized in being a river hunter.  When the climate changed roughly 95 MYA, Spinosaurus found its natural habitat overswamped.  Large amounts of drought first killed the river valleys, and later flooding from the Mediterranean saw to it that its food supply was cut short. Massive deltas and shallow seas replaced the swamps and rivers it called home, and without its primary source of food it could not adapt to continue its line of hunters, or move fast enough to escape the change.

The change in the climate was too fast for Spinosaurus, and soon the biggest predator to ever walk the Earth went extinct...

Conclusion

Predators of today's world tend to avoid each other when in a battle of dominance.  When territory disputes are proclaimed between species, the visibly larger usually gets the rewards and the lesser backs down, preferring not to fight.  In the event predators do get into tangles, it's usually because they have little other choice; desperation and lack of food is almost always the key motivator to fights between large carnivores, regardless of the time they lived in, and ensuring competition is eliminated when the contender is smaller or physically frail is almost always a better alternative to either starvation or a fight.

The Jurassic Park III fight was rigged, yes.  Hollywood couldn't help but let the big guy come out on top.  In any other situation, Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus would not want anything to do with each other; neither even lived in the same continent or time period.  And if two fully grown of either species ever got into a fight for survival, a Tyrannosaur's armaments would have made it the superior fighter; its jaws could crush bone, and by simply grabbing a limb or a spine such ferocity could be displayed with ease.  Grab the neck or a leg and the Spinosaurus would be as good as dead.

But there are a few things we were forgetting about the fight; three key things.  The first was that, like it was mentioned by the filmmakers, the Tyrannosaur was still a juvenile.  It's common practice for major predators to eliminate competition by killing off a youngster and thereby ending the reproductive line of a species before it even begins.  This provides more food in the long run and is more than not worth the risk.  The second was that Spinosaurus was produced through genetic reconstruction; there was a good chance genetic tampering was involved, more than likely for the sake of militarizing a species for warfare (I dunno about you, but tank or no tank I'd be getting the hell out if there was a Spinosaurus charging in from the enemy side).  And the third is that it's Hollywood; they always have to glorify or change something if they think it'll make big bucks.  How many of you would have likely watched the movie again if the Spinosaurus just left before the fight even started, or if the star dinosaur was killed before it could even show off its moves?  In the end, it's something to appreciate, because damn, that was some badass CGI...

-Kerian
Image is from an awesome model from Garry's Mod. Credit to the model goes to its creator...

I wanted to do another one of those non-fiction little shorts for a while now, since I made the Bigfoot one a few weeks (almost a month) back. I had meant to do one showcasing how Spinosaurus should have lost the fight with Tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park III, but thanks to a stupid bug I lost most of that thesis on MS Word, and I decided I didn't want to do it again. I find this one is a bit better; instead of explaining how Tyrannosaurus should have won the battle, I instead decided to showcase the mighty Spinosaurus, why Hollywood and most of the world thinks its so awesome, and explain how it was so specialized that in any real fight between predators a Spinosaurus would come short-handed.

Everything I wrote is based on what current fossil evidence we now have. With the exception of other complete specimens of previous Spinosaurs like Suchomimus and Baryonyx, we have little to no knowledge on what Spinosaurus even looked like, let alone how it hunted or acted. If it weren't for finding the scant evidence on the few fossils we do have, plus the adaptations based on previous Spinosaurids, we likely would never even have gotten as far as we did, and could potentially have dismissed Spinosaurus as two different animals instead of the one we currently have.

Spinosaurus has become a favorite of mine over the years, I've noticed. While my favorite carnosaurs remain to this day the Allosaurids (as you saw me glorify them in this piece...I couldn't help myself), Spinosaurids are also very intriguing to me. They are a unique group of predators whose knowledge of how they hunted and behaved has only been recently grasped, and the fact that they took on a unique niche otherwise either overtaken or overshadowed by other predators tells me that what they managed to do they happened to do very well; so well that when the carpet was pulled from beneath them they couldn't get back up again. It's really intriguing how such creatures could exist, intelligent design or no, and that they once walked the very same dirt and shared the very same sun we do today.


Writing by Will, aka Kerian Halcyon
Image found on random blog, original Garry's Mod model part of a pack uploaded by Z_guy on Garrysmod.org
Dinosaurs (c) to the WORLD!

-Kerian
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ANd with the new spinosaurus it would have been pretty clumbsy on land. A rex wouldve probably have speed on its side too.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Rexes probably didn't have speed.  They were likely like bears; stamina versus speed to get from one place to another without having to rest frequently in between.  The reason why is because of the proportion of their legs; in order for them to get to the speed needed to be active hunters they would need to have really beefy legs that would have no practical use whatsoever.  More likely they were ambush predators that used their massive jaws to increase the likely chance of a single bite guaranteeing a kill, like how Komodo Dragons are today with their bacteria-laced venom.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
well look at the new spinosaurus limbs, im not sayin t-rex is fast,just that it is probably faster than spinosaurus.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Maybe, maybe not.  Depends on the situation.  Spinosaurus probably didn't need to run as fast; if it's eating fish or stealing a kill, it probably only needs to go as fast as the prey its running down, and when you're a specialist ambush predator hunting fish on one spot there's no need to waste energy running it down when you can snatch it up on the spot.  Rexes meanwhile would have to travel a great length, and while they could have been faster it's a waste of energy to travel really fast to get from one place to another at that side with that kind of diet.  Rather, going at a moderate pace would have been far more effective.

Either way, we may never know unless we either find some secret underground cave full of surviving dinosaurs or go back in time, because unless Jurassic Park becomes a real thing that's the only way we'll ever see their behavior to find out for sure...
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have one of those caves in my front yard actually.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You'll have to invite me over sometime, the dinosaurs in mine are getting stale of late.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh god when?ive got lots of time tommorow, no school :)
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
That might work, mebbe.  :XD:
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(1 Reply)
:iconrandomdinos:
randomdinos Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013
But Sauroposeidon didn't live with Carcharodontosaurus either D: Lemme clarify, it lived with (probably) Acrocanthosaurus.
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:iconspinozillarex:
SpinozillaRex Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
wow this is awesome! will you be doing more like for t.rex or giganotosaurus?
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Depends on my mood.  Giganotosaurus would be interesting to write about, but I'm more likely to write about Allosaurus or a similar animal.  Allosaurus has always been my personal favorite. ^^
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:iconspinozillarex:
SpinozillaRex Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
Allosaurus is an awesome dinosaur! it would be super cool if you could write about that one 
i'd really like to learn more about allosaurus, since i just found out that they weren't the biggest predator in their lands and i wonder how they would cope. :D
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
They still might have been the biggest.  There's evidence to suggest that Saurophaganax, an Allosaur cousin, was actually a bigger version of Allosaurus...Plus there's also the mystery fossil Epanterias, which is believed to be a gigantified version of Allosaurus (and Big Al, who was a juvenile of a species that could have gotten much bigger).

I'll write more when I find the inspiration to.  ^^  Keep an eye out for when I do!
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:iconspinozillarex:
SpinozillaRex Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013
wow thats really cool!
okay i'll keep a sharp eye out if you do!
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:icondalaimalai123:
DALAIMALAI123 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
Look, Spinosaurus wasn't the wimp as everyone says it is. I'm just stating my own opinion, but here are the reasons why:

1. Spinosaurus' jaws and teeth were designed like that of a Crocodile like you mentioned. Not suitable for tearing or crushing, but perfectly adapted for biting down and never letting go. Since they have such a huge resemblance to Crocodiles, it must suggest that the jaws and teeth of Spinosaurus were very durable. Plus, it had a bite strength of around 2 tonnes. Not as strong as most large Theropods, but still strong enough to leave a nasty mark.

2. The claws and arms were probably not only used for tearing off flesh. They could have also been used as a deadly weapon, similar to modern Bears. One swing of a Bear's arm is strong enough to break a Bison's back! Plus, those claws of Spinosaurus were like meat hooks, perfect for slashing at attackers. It could even claw at an enemy's windpipe when it's biting down on its enemy's neck. The arms were probably strong enough to pin enemies to the ground.

3. Even if a neural spine would break off, it wouldn't die instantly. A broken neural spine would most likely result huge bloodloss, not instant death as many people say. The only way a broken neural sine can instantly kill a Spinosaurus is if it was torn right out of its back. Then the spinal cord would snap, killing the Spinosaurus.

I repeat, I'm just stating my own opinion(s). I do not mean to piss anyone off.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You aren't pissing anyone off, don't worry. ^^

I had a comment like this a little while ago that expresses my opinion on the matter.  While Spinosaurus had jaws a lot like a crocodile's they were still probably nowhere near up to speed as a Rex's.  They likely were built to deal with wriggling fish that would escape easily in a normal predator's jaws (because of how slick and squirmy fish tend to be.  Having fished myself I know this for a fact).  While this is great for gripping prey, it's a different story when it's expected to break something's neck, especially something as big as a Rex.  You're asking an animal with a snout that's just as long as its neck to grab something and twist it in a forward motion.  Kind of hard to do.

I also mentioned how while the arms would be very effective weapons (and are much longer than other theropod arms; long enough that it's theorized that they could walk on four limbs every now and then), they're still close to the body in comparison to the head and the rest of its length.  When dealing with something that's all jaws one miss will make the difference in a fight.  A Charcharadontosaur would likely get a few good bites in before it would get shaken off if they ever were forced into conflict.

A single neural spine broken off probably won't do much, but if the whole thing got ripped off it would have a massive gouge across its back.  Not only will that likely shift its balance but it's also got an exposed wound all along the spine.  If it doesn't die from the initial shock then an infection will take it just as easily.

Thanks for the comment. ^^
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:icondalaimalai123:
DALAIMALAI123 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
Phew... I tend to get scared of making others angry.

Anyways, I agree with the fact of Spinosaurus being unable to snap the neck of something as big as a T. rex, but people say that the T. rex from Jurassic Park /// was a sub-adult, so it wasn't as strong/experienced as a fully grown one. That would contribute to the idea of Spinosaurus being able to hold its own against other large carnivores. But not by snapping their necks, more like biting down and slashing their windpipe open with its claws, since the arms and fingers are long enough to reach to the opponent's neck.

Also, Spinosaurus might have been able to rear up to get a larger field for its claws, without accidentally hurting itself. Similar to the Planet Dinosaur Spinosaurus, it reared up to slash at the Carcharodontosaurus' face. But it would make itself vulnerable, since it exposes its belly/neck area once it is reared up, giving the opponent some time to strike.

And about the neural spine, I already mentioned the part of the whole neural spine being ripped out. But remember, the neural spines are attacked to the actual spine. If just one neural spine would be ripped off, so would one of the spine vertebra, thus ripping apart the spinal cord. And if that won't kill it, it would most likely paralyze the Spinosaurus, again, leaving it vulnerable to attack.

Its some sort of pet peeve of mine, hearing people say that Spinosaurus was a weakling/wimp, despite its huge size and menacing weaponry. But I also believe... That Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus wouldn't fight at all. Both are colossal creatures, both specialized for different environments. Spinosaurus being in the rivers/swamps/mangroves, and Carcharodontosaurus being in the deserts. The only time they'd fight is during the dry periods, again, as seen in Planet Dinosaur. Quite interesting and plausible really.

Heh, maybe they'd think this if they see each other: "Man, this one here is too big for me to take down myself, but neither is it big enough to take me down on its own." and then they'll leave each other alone, avoiding confrontation, and injuries.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It's the internet.  I've noticed in particular that 2013 tends to be full of a lot of mean trolls of late, especially on Youtube.  It's like the world got a bit harsher than normal.  8\

Sub-adult or not, when that Rex had a hold of the Spinosaur's neck it should have been over.  It's not the story that bothers me; the whole point of Jurassic Park III was to present the idea that Ingen did more with their dinosaurs than they were first believed to have done, such as tamper with the DNA to make potential weapons or super soldiers.  But a lot of people don't bother researching into the background and take what's given to them as what is true, so for Spinosaurus to be depicted like a powerhouse left an image on everyone's minds that it was unstoppable.  That's my biggest issue.

*nods* Weapons like that are a double-edged sword.  It's different if it had claws like Therizinosaurus, which it could just extend out and strike with its long arms and claws (I might end up doing one on Therizinosaurus sometime in the future as well).

If just one spine got ripped off I can see how that would only be a minor injury, but the whole thing being torn would leave a big gaping wound.  If the shock didn't kill it (believe me, it's no picnic getting injuries on your back.  I know) then it would likely die of an infection before long, not to mention its balance would likely be out of wack for a while.  (Someone had mentioned that the spines could be disconnected without damaging the actual backbone).

Well, I didn't say that Spinosaurus was a weakling/wimp at all.  I simply said that it isn't as badass as modern media depicts it to be.  I can see Spinosaurus being a specialized predator that would occasionally go for a bit of Ourangosaurus steak every now and then, or scavenge for food killed by a smaller predator.  I don't see it as being an invincible powerhouse that could kill anything and would kill anything to get what it wanted.  (Damn you, Discover Channel.  The day you put Spinosaurus on Megabeasts was the day I officially started to hate you.  WHYYY?!? You were so awesome in the 90's!)

*nods* That's exactly how I see it.  It's classic predator behavior.  ^^
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:icondalaimalai123:
DALAIMALAI123 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013
God, the trolls.

*Ahem* You're right about InGen having tampered with the DNA of the dinosaurs. That's how the Dilophosaurus ended up being so small and with a frill, the Velociraptor's looking very unrealistic, and the T. rex having eyesight based on movement. That's also probably why the Spinosaurus was so darn powerful. InGen has tampered with its DNA for so long, they actually made it into Spinosaurus Aegypticus Robustus.

Now that's more plausible. The neural spines being removed without that much damage actually gives my a theory... Maybe when another predator bites down on one or more neural spines, the Spinosaurus can actually detach the neural spine(s), thus making the other predator lose its grip. The blood vessels in the other hand would be there where the blood won't come gushing out once a neural spine is detached. Similar to modern day Geckos! After a few days, or weeks, the neural spine would have grown back into it's original space. This might sound a bit crazy, but remember. Evolution is never constrained by our lack of imagination.

And yes, I always believed that Spinosaurus would go after an Ouranosaurus once every while. But I believe it won't be often since it probably preferred fish over dino steak. And believe me, no carnivore that ever lived was able to kill anything it wanted without getting injuries. Not even T. rex. (Believe me, I hated Megabeasts as much as you do after the scene where Spinosaurus didn't even fight back when it was attacked by the pack of Rugops.)

And with classic predator behavior, you mean what they'd think about each other, right?
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes...the trolls...We must have...:icondealwithitplz: Troll Hunters!

*nods* One of the premises for the new Jurassic Park movie coming out was originally the introduction of dinosaur super soldiers.  At that point I was thinking that I'd officially stop watching the series from there and consider the first three "canon" to the film trilogy.  As a big fan of the books I find it upsetting when Hollywood takes the steps it does and throws all of the good stuff out of the window.

Well, remember, it takes a lot of energy to replace a spine like that.  In Gecko's it's kind of easy; being smaller, it doesn't take nearly as long of time to regenerate a lost limb and it can replace that energy easily with an abundant amount of resources for its size.  Spinosaurus, however, was a top-of-the-line carnivore that likely didn't get enough to eat in one half of the year even despite the plentiful seasons for the rest of the year.  It'd be all but impossible for it to regrow all of that lost bone in an adult in the amount of time it took for it to build it.  There's also the idea that Spinosaurus actually had a hump or that it's sail/spine was more like a muscular enhancement for its body, which would mean that it would be a lot tougher for an animal to actually break, and that if it eventually did break due to stress it would make it all the more deadly for the animal.

Oh yeah, definitely.  It's also part of why I like Jack Horner's idea of a Rex being more like an oversized Turkey Vulture than a predator, though the idea of it ambushing another animal up close isn't a bad one either.  

Kind of.  :XD: I meant about them leaving each other alone.  If two carnivores that share a region find themselves at odds, they usually leave each other be, though in a confrontation the bigger of the two usually wins out.  In survival of the fittest, nature always, ALWAYS takes the easy road to success.  If that means giving up a kill in order to stay alive for another day, then so be it.
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:icondalaimalai123:
DALAIMALAI123 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013
Troll Hunters! (PFFFT!!!! X'D)

Dinosaur Super soldiers? That's pretty similar to the game "Dino D-Day". And that would be pretty cool actually, except that in Jurassic Park ////, the best Super soldiers of Isla Nublar/Sorna (the 'Velociraptors') are going to be used to fight another species of dinosaur that has learned how to cause havoc. And believe me, Hollywood does that pretty often.

Hmm... Maybe you're right about that. But remember what I said earlier, evolution is not constrained by our lack of imagination. We can't be 100% sure whether Spinosaurus had a sail, or a hump. Whether dromaeosaurids hunted in packs or not. Whether T. rex was a hunter, scavenger, or both. Whether Triceratops lived alone, or in small herds. We just don't know. Who knows? Maybe all that we know about dinosaurs is wrong. Heck, we aren't even sure if anything's real! This all could be just a wild dream!

*Ahem* Sorry about that.

I'm not too sure about Jack Horner's theory. While T. rex was large enough to scare other carnivores away from their meals, I doubt that there'd be enough kills to sustain a healthy T. rex population. Also, with all those adaptions, there's no denying the fact that T. rex was a hunter, and a scavenger.

True that. But that won't always go that way. Sometimes, the smaller one will defend its food from the larger one. In my opinion, when that happens, the smaller one is either very persistent, very brave, or very suicidal. Or maybe all three.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well, kind of.  It's more like "Let's give them a humanoid stance and make them carry guns" kind of scenario.

That is true, very true.

Quite alright. ^^

*nods* That's true, though there's a lot of meat in a single kill.  After all, these guys usually weighed several tons in weight.

That is true, yes.  Mostly though it's because of desperation.  It's hungry enough to know that it's not going to get another chance unless it defends.  It's either die fighting, or die of starvation...
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(1 Reply)
:iconmechatherium:
Mechatherium Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Bears may not be top-rank predators in the same way tigers are, but they can be plenty dangerous, especially if riled.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh yeah, definitely.  I used to live up in bear country, I know better than to get one of those behemoths angry.

And whereas a cat can potentially outrun you, if you out-agility it the thing will get tired and leave you alone.  A bear will keep coming at you at a steady pace regardless if you outrun it or not.  They're almost as bad as boars.  >n<
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Spinosaurus likely did use its arms to tear apart food, but it could also use those jaws too. Most theropods have been shown through biomechanical studies that they shook their heads to help tear away chunks from kills, save the Allosauroids, which fed like falcons. And Spinosaurus' prey likely bore the brunt of it when landed. The aquatic prey it hunted was also quite massive. 8 meter sawfish like Onchopristus and the Maswonia, a coelacanth the size of a great white shark were potential prey, as were pterosaurs, and likely even crocodiles like Kaprosuchus. 
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well the thing is, Spinosaurus's jaw is really long and thin.  That kind of a jaw is more suited for grabbing and holding struggling prey (much like a croc's, oddly enough ^^) that's normally pretty wriggly and slippery, such as fish and potentially crocodiles (let's face it; those things can wriggle real well when they want to get away from something).  And while its arms could be used like a bear to tear food apart, they are pretty short and close to the body.  Sure, they are depicted as much, much longer than those of other theropods like T. Rex or even Allosaurus, but that's a lot of risk if you're pitching it against something that's all jaws.

I'm not saying that Spinosaurus was an ineffective predator of other animals.  Far from it.  What I am saying is that in a fight against a Rex, there is no way it would be able to snap its neck.  In a biting contest, the Rex would win hands-down, regardless of size.  Biomechanical studies have proven that.

Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it. ^^
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

You're welcome. Yes. Tyrannosaurus rex would definitely win a fight with Spinosaurus, which I agree with. Tyrannosaurus has a bite that is estimated to be anywhere from ten to twenty tons maximum. Spinosaurus had a bite of around maybe two or three tons maximum (according to a paper I read). Still, Spinosaurus was well equipped to kill a shark-sized coelacanth. Once that prey was dead, it would really tear into the carcass by shaking it to rip off good sized chunks. That in all likelihood is how the creature fed, because Planet Dinosaur, as accurate as it was, showed Spinosaurus pronating its hands, which is of course impossible.

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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh yeah, definitely.  A lot of my updated facts on Spino came from Planet Dinosaur.  They need to make more dinosaur documentaries like it (well...they could have had more sound effects than what they had.  Listening to the same pig noise being used for every Ornithischian got annoying after a couple of episodes).
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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
that's true. i for one enjoy the elephant noise that's associated with ceratopsians.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
*nods* There are a few others.  I myself think of them as sounding more like rhinos or hippos, given that they are of a similar body build and pretty much fill in a similar niche.  That, combined with a few deep, goose-like honks every now and then.  :XD:

It'd be amazing to hear a dinosaur in real life.

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:iconsaberrex:
Saberrex Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah. it would be. i for one would love to hear the roar of Tyrannosaurus. 
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Who wouldn't?

Well...I guess the person getting hunted by one...but still.  :XD:
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(1 Reply)
:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wasn't JP3 one of the first portrayals of Spinosaurus with a crocodilian head instead of that of a generic theropod?  Also, apparently the JP3 Spinosaurus was originally supposed to be a Baronyx

And as for how they hunted, there was an analysis that that took oxygen isotopes from fossils of Baryonyx, Irritator, Siamosaurus, and Spinosaurus and compared them to compared oxygen isotopes taken from contemporary theropods like Carcharodontosaurus and modern crocodiles and turtles. The study found that of the spinosaurids, Siamosaurus had the ratio closest to those of crocodilians - indicating they spent most of their time in the water - while Spinosaurus had the ratio closest to terrestrial theropods - indicating they spent most of their time on land.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It was, though it didn't help that the movie had Jack Horner behind the scenes pushing for it to become so bad*ss.  I mean, seriously, he's the guy who helped discover the theory that a Rex is more likely a scavenger than a hunter.  He should be ashamed of himself. :XD:

And yeah, I can see Spinosaurus being a land theropod of sorts, that's not out of the question.  I'm just saying that the way it's built and the shape of its skull indicates that it was evolved to take advantage of a completely different style of food source.  It could have still hunted, and given that it was the biggest critter on the block hunting and definitely scavenging/bullying other animals is something very plausible.  But being a competitive hunter that can take out a Tyrannosaurus in battle by snapping its neck with its jaws?  Yeah...I am not sold.

Thanks for the info!  I'm greatly obliged when people post comments with these kinds of facts.  ^^
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:iconjoeofthemasks:
JoeoftheMasks Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that's a lot of words... but no whitey whiteness so cudos. You sound like your doing my profession
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:XD: Thanks, I'm glad I actually kept the grammatical errors to a minimum this time.
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:iconbrolyeuphyfusion9500:
"More likely it was built for display or like a Pelycosaur's, used for temperature regulation similar to an organic solar panel."

Sorry, but that is just wrong. The spine structure is clearly not like a pelycosaur's. Spinosaurus is a giant endotherm(warm blooded), it has no need for a large organic solar panel that would cause it to overheat.


This chameleon's spines can be compared to Spinosaurus, although less elongated and with more proportional space between them, and see how it looks in life. A ridge, not a sail.

Skeleton: img829.imageshack.us/img829/54...
In life: scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoolo...

And Spinosaurus' spines are spaced even more closely than that chameleon's, actually the gaps between the spines are quite similar to bison. The Dimetrodon-backed Spinosaurus is so unlikely that it's basically a myth.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I think you may have misinterpreted the reason why I mentioned that.  Back in the 90's, scientists were still not sure why Spinosaurus even had its spinal ridge.  Many thought that the climate where it had lived in was much like the Sahara; really warm in the daytime and cold at night.  Having a sail that can fill up with blood would provide an advantage for reptilian predators like Spinosaurus, allowing it to warm up quickly at daybreak and keep cool at high noon by positioning itself in different directions as it rested.  Now that we know it lived in swamps and by rivers, and that it hunted mostly fish, that theory is considered invalid.

As far as being warm blooded, however, scientists still debate on that.  Given that Dinosaurs are still closely related to reptiles as well as birds, there's a good chance that they were cold blooded, and that due to their size they could retain their heat simply because their body temperature couldn't cool down as fast as their environment.  No one knows for sure though, given that we still don't have a secret giant dinosaur carcass hidden in the Antarctic ice that would give us all the answers, though hopefully we'll figure it out in the future.

Thanks for the information!  I'll remember it in the future.  ^^
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:iconbrolyeuphyfusion9500:
The early theories that give Spinosaurus a sail seem to assume that Spinosaurus needed to heat up at all.

And dinosaurs aren't just closely related to birds, birds are theropod dinosaurs: www.guardian.co.uk/science/los...

Btw, more information about dinosaurs being endothermic: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/... and www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You don't have to argue about it, you make a convincing point.  I'm just saying that, given that Paleontology is the science of assumptions, we can never be absolutely sure down to the letter that the theories of dinosaurs are fact until we have a living dinosaur...or at least some DNA evidence to examine.
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:iconbrolyeuphyfusion9500:
Well, according to cladistics, we do have living dinosaurs around to examine...that would only work for coelurosaurs though...

And palaeontology may be mostly educated guesses, but at least we can safely say that some theories are far more likely than others.

Anyway, it's good discussing with you, you seem pretty reasonable, unlike the kind of responses I get when discussing in some other places.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh yeah, if we wanted to study at least one group, birds are a perfect candidate.  Unfortunately birds have evolved so much over hte past 65 million years that the differences between the two start to increase as time goes by.

*nods* Indeed.  Lots of theories can be pretty far-fetched as well, extinction theories included.  I can't believe someone had thought of the idea that dinosaurs killed themselves by getting high on flowering plants...:XD:

It was great discussing with you too.  I took a peek at your page and noticed the comments of your Spinosaur journal.  If there's one thing I can always expect about the internet, it's that people can be really unreasonable with or without meaning to.
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The Spino in JP3 was also undersized, at a mere 47 feet long.  Regardless of feeding apparatus, being 1.5-2 times larger than an opponent shifts the balance of the fight far in your favor.  There are also quite complete juvenile Spinosaurus skeletons in private collections that show us it's proportions.  In general we can estimate adult rex's averaged <12m long and ~7 tons, and adult Spinos probably averaged ~16m and 12 tons.  That's like a hyena vs a lion, even with it's mouth wired shut, that hyena is gonna have a bad time.

Another thing to note.  Spinosaurus's "sail" was not where it's spinal cord was.  In theory you could snap every single one of it's dorsal spines, and the Spinosaurus would be relatively unharmed, other than bleeding...
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:iconmechatherium:
Mechatherium Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Not to mention pissed. See my comment below.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well, this is interesting.  Thanks for the information! ^^

Well, even though Spinosaurus is bigger and (like I mentioned in the story) is more than capable of driving away other predators, in the event both are desperate enough to attack one another Tyrannosaurus had the better arsenal.  With a bite capable of breaking through bone (proven through experiments and tests), all it needs is one bite.

Even if it doesn't break its back outright, if a Spinosaurus were to accidentally roll over or be pushed, it likely would be a goner.  Losing all of its spines would cause shock and blood loss, and as time went by it likely would die either of its wounds or starvation.

In any case, I'm glad you commented on this. ^^ It's nice getting a chance to hear the other side of the argument.
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, although at the sizes we're talking about a fall would probably be game over for both animals!  I completely agree that Tyrannosaurus had the superior gear, but I think the massive size advantage of Spinosaurus is enough to give it the upper hand in a confrontation.
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
True.  Besides, until we see them in real life we may never have any idea how they behaved or even what they looked like beyond just bone.  It'd be nice to see if some genius could find a way to do that...maybe make Jurassic Park a reality (minus the killing of people, of course)
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, who knows...maybe Tyrannosaurus was a big old softie. :D
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:iconkerian-halcyon:
Kerian-halcyon Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm more inclined to believe that myself.  That'll be a topic of a different nonfiction entry. ^^
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:iconshadowsmokeandfire:
shadowsmokeandfire Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is actually really interesting. It's informative without being boring, and it is easy to see you're very passionate about this subject. I was just wondering what 90+ or 95 MYA meant, because all I got were shoe advertisements when I tried looking it up. It was a very enjoyable read.
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