The ongoing Spinosaurus Saga… now a nesting ground.

Faithful to my traditional custom of showing extreme views, I was compelled to do one with Spinosaurus. I had taken several pictures of a then intriguing, spectacular Spinosaurus skull fragment that was on display in Italy many years ago. Unbeknownst to me in those ages, the upper jaw was displayed upside down, as if it were the lower jaw! You can imagine my surprise when years later I discovered that in reality it was the upper jaw.

So what I did was: turn my pictures around and do a full study of how the jaws would look on a full frontal view. The results showed that Spinosaurus, contrary to many depictions including the obvious Jurassic Park one, had a skull that was even narrower than expected, almost gavial-like and that that the conical teeth were splayed outwards. It can be argued that that way it was better suitable for catching fish… But the evidence is not conclusive… many outspreading jaws are not specifically designed for fish-catching. The teeth sere rather big, conical as expected and surprising for any theropod. No wonder the Spinosaurus remains were once considered not to be a dinosaur’s.

Here’s my preliminary study that required quite a few modifications in the final stages. Spinosaurus is a puzzle that is far from being resolved. However, I still stick with the notion that the current evidence we have so far continues to show us a water dwelling-swamp dwelling animal that would be very cumbersome walking on land. It is virtually impossible that this animal would be running around in two legs, despite the current trend that has preference for the Ideal (as much as I’d love to be proven wrong…sorry Scott Hartman!). The hands are oustpread as in any theropod but more so if this animal was adapted for a virtually quadrupedal stance… more evidence is needed!, so this may change any time soon. The little mounds I depicted here are crocodile-like nests. The sauropods in the background are Paralititan

This is an ongoing project that will continue to be modified and show advances as we gather more evidence. This new reconstruction overrides the previous ones , especially in details of the tail. The final product will be shown in full in our future Kickstarter project by Hector Splintersaurus Munive and myself. A nesting ground seems apt since a baby Spinosaurus model is in the making and will be part of the project!

About luisvrey

Paleo Illustration
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8 Responses to The ongoing Spinosaurus Saga… now a nesting ground.

  1. Marcos Kashiwaya Pinheiro says:

    Wow! This project is looking better and better thanks to your unique paleo illustrations and these very good blog posts, Luis! And I love the spinosaurs a lot too! ^^

    I agree that there’s more to be revealed eventually about the missing parts of Spinosaurus yet such as the arms, hands and chest bones. But it’s good thing that you keep these features up to date when new paleo stuff comes and that you are always aware of the paleo news and scientific dinosaur papers.

    I’m looking forward for the next post and news of this project! Keep up the great paleo work, Luis and Hector Munive! 😀

  2. palpatine505 says:

    This is lovely, although the Spinosaurus wrist bones wouldn’t support a quadripedal lifestyle, so it was most assuredly bipedal in how it moved about… however, I do so love your works, Sir.

    • luisvrey says:

      Thank you but… how do we know how the wrists’ bones wouldn’t allow for quadrupedal wading when we actually do not have anything of the forelimbs… all the material suspected to be forelimbs is suspect. We know that the fingers of theropods are hyper extendable >outwards< and knuckle-walking is absurd. S9 we have still the possibility of a walrus Spinosaurus… cumbersome on land but happy on water, no matter how shallow… those little legs are not made for walking (on land that is)!

  3. Marcos Kashiwaya Pinheiro says:

    Hello, Luis.

    I believe that you are aware of the 2021 paper published on Palaeontologia Electronica called “The ecology of Spinosaurus – Evaluating the ecology of Spinosaurus: Shoreline generalist or aquatic pursuit specialist?” by Dave Hone and Thomas Holtz.

    I think it’s a very detailed and a very good spinosaur paper. However, I talked with other spinosaur experts, like Matteo Fabbri and Simone Maganuco, and warned me about the lack of new fossil evidence and the lack of some archosaur (birds and crocodilians) features that can be compared with Spinosaurus anatomy and its fossils. Also, they and their colleagues are working on something new to come in the next papers about Spinosaurus and they defend that it was an aquatic hunter like a penguin. Although, not a fast or swift pursuit aquatic predator, but a slow pursuit aquatic predator of slow prey like the huge fish Mawsonia, Neoceratodus and Onchopristis.

    I even asked Matteo if Spinosaurus could have been both a wader and aquatic predator, not just one type of hunter. And he answered “yes”, it’s possible. Personally, I don’t think that Spinosaurus had to be just one or the other type of hunter. Unless more fossil evidence proves this case being that type of hunter or the other. We’ll see. And I’ll be waiting for the next papers.

    So what do you think, Luis? Did that 2021 paper by Dr. Holtz and Dr. Hone affect you and your Spinosaurus project?

  4. luisvrey says:

    As Fabri and Maganuco rightly point out, the jury is very much out on this one. I asked Hone and Holtz: do we have a whole hand? (or even elements of it), they admitted that, no there’s no hand elements. They admitted that the fossil record is very incomplete for Spinosaurus and we all joked that Spinosaurus right now is “in our minds”. Thom Holtz even endorsed my reconstruction, or at least wasn’t against it. Only time will tell… wader needs to be adapted to also swim. I do not buy the “display wader” … 15 meters of adaptations only for display in shallow waters sustained by those tiny legs? So the seal-walrus-pinguin is good for me for4 the time being.

    • Eleazer says:

      Hello Mr. Rey,
      Have you seen the new arm of Spinosaurus that seems to be circulating the internet? I found a pic from DinoLab’s instagram post. Professor Holtz told me about it after class today, and he says that the arms are more reduced than the current reconstruction shows, and one of the fingers is really long for some reason. I think they look really flexible (well, as flexible as they could have been for a theropod). What are your thoughts, and do they support or disagree with your reconstruction of a “walrus” Spinosaurus, which I think is very fascinating?

      Here’s the link:
      https://gramho.com/media/2535465340537444071

      Thank you.

  5. Eleazer says:

    Hello, Mr. Rey,
    I left this comment a day ago but it disappeared, so I’m posting it again. I am a student of Pr. Holtz, and yesterday he told me about what appears to be new bones of a Spinosaurus’ arm. Professor says that the arms are more reduced that the current reconstruction suggests, and for some reason the third finger is really long. What is your opinion on the new bones?

    Here’s some links:
    https://gramho.com/media/2535465340537444071
    https://www.thezone.fm/2020/09/02/geekout-dino-lab-spino-arm/

    Thank you for your time.

    • luisvrey says:

      Yes Eleazer, Thom and I agree that everything is still very much up in the air. Most of the arms bones are still missing including the wrist. Cristiano Dal Sasso (part of the original team of researchers) told me in person that new discoveries still to be disclosed will show that the animal was >fully< aquatic. So let's wait and see!

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