'Bizarre' dinosaur Spinosaurus behaved like a giant, cicogna incapace di volare, dice lo studio

Paleontologists have long been puzzled about how the Spinosaurus — un dinosauro gigante e un predatore acquatico — si sarebbe comportato.

Adesso, credono che sarebbe stato meno simile a una lontra, e più come un enorme, flightless stork or heron.
Rather than hunting fish in the water, the massive dinosaur would have likely caught prey out of the water from a position on the shoreline, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Maryland found in a study published Tuesday.
Spinosaurs were a group of large-bodied theropods that were bigger than both Tyrannosaurus rex and Giganotosaurus, growing to around 15 metri (49.2 piedi) in lunghezza. These dinos lived during the Cretaceous period — fra 145.5 e 65.5 milioni di anni fa.
    The study compared Spinosaurus fossils with skulls and skeletons of dinosaurs and reptiles that lived both in and out of the water, concluding that a wading, heronlike behavior was the most likely.
    Spinosaurus material has been recovered in modern-day Egypt and Morocco.

    This behavior has been debated since the Spinosaurus was first discovered in 1915.
    Some recent studies have suggested that it was actively chasing fish in water but while they could swim, they would not have been fast or efficient enough to do this effectively,” lead study author David Hone, senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, said in a news statement.
    Our findings suggest that the wading idea is much better supported, even if it is slightly less exciting.

    ‘A bizarre animal

    Spinosaurus has proven hard to understand because it’sa bizarre animal even by dinosaur standards, and unlike anything alive today,” said study coauthor Tom Holtz, a paleontologist and principal lecturer at the University of Maryland’s department of geology, in una dichiarazione.
    We sought to use what evidence we have to best approximate its way of life. And what we found did not match the attributes one would expect in an aquatic pursuit predator in the manner of an otter, sea lion, or short-necked plesiosaur.
    The researchers compared Spinosaurus to crocodiles in order to illustrate its relatively poor adaptation to aquatic life.
    Crocodiles are excellent in water compared to land animals, Hone said, but they can’t actively chase fish.
    If Spinosaurus had fewer muscles on the tail, less efficiency and more drag then it’s hard to see how these dinosaurs could be chasing fish in a way that crocodiles cannot,” Hone said.
    There remains a lot to learn about Spinosaurus, said Hone, who explained that there is a lack of good fossils.
    There is still some debate as to whether there were distinct species of Spinosaurus that preferred different environments, or a single species that adapted, Hone told CNN.
      The best way to start solving some of these mysteries is to carry out more digs, said Hone, who added that there is good Spinosaurus material in Egypt, Morocco and possibly Algeria.
      The study was published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica.

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