The 100-million-year-old river monster

Published April 30, 2020

Finding a fos­sil tail of a Spinosaurus shows that the mon­strous beast swam — mak­ing it (pos­si­bly) the first known dinosaur to do so. (There were oth­er crea­tures that swam 100 mil­lion years ago, but they weren’t dinosaurs.)

“Jaws” does­n’t look so bad now, does it?

The struc­ture of the bones—along with state-of-the-art robot­ic mod­el­ing of the tail’s movement—add fresh and com­pelling evi­dence to an argu­ment that has raged for years among pale­on­tol­o­gists: How much time did Spinosaurus actu­al­ly spend swim­ming, and, by impli­ca­tion, how close did large preda­to­ry dinosaurs ever get toward a life in the water?

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