Spinosaurus, a large, swimming, fish-eating dinosaur of the Cretaceous period had a large sail on its back. It has been described as the "biggest, baddest predator to walk and swim on earth" by National Geographic.
In the above reconstruction from Davide Bonadonna for National Geographic, Spinosaurus or "spine lizard" is shown in two poses: catching a fish underwater and straining its head above the water. As a fellow swimmer, the second pose is unrealistic. Straining its neck like that is an untenable swimming position; when turning its head it would surely keep its head closer to the water or else visit the dino masseuse frequently.
Spinosaurus spines and the flesh in between the spines creating the sail are one of the biggest mysteries of this bigger-than-Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur (over 50 feet long) discovered in the Kem Kem beds of Morocco:
The long spines protruding from the vertebrae are up to eight times the size of the vertebrae themselves:
Various hypotheses for the sail's purpose are a thermal regulating structure, a device for sailing in the water, a place for stored fat, and a structure for showing interest in mating. It may have also served a combination of these functions. I just don't understand what the flap is all about . . .;-)
The head of Spinosaurus includes a jaw which does not handle torsion well:
And, my, what big teeth "Mr. Big" had:
The National Geographic link describes the discovery of the bones as well as the recreation of the dinosaur's body for an exhibit opening this month in D.C.
What's your idea for the Spinosaurus sail function?
Are you dancing the can-can about the Kem Kem find?
The Fort on a cold, fall night. Waugh!