T rex’s long reign as king of the dinosaurs has now ended. Discoveries over the last few years have brought to light a few carnivorous dinosaurs that were even bigger. Spinosaurus is now the biggest land predator of all time at a massive 17 metres long. It had a long snout (about 99cm) with long, straight conical teeth that were perfectly adapted for its primary diet of fish. Spinosaurus would have hunted along the banks and shallows of the rivers and lagoons of what is now North Africa.
Vertebrae of sawfish have been found embedded in the fossilised remains of a Spinosaurus skull. We have a smaller cousin of Spinosaurus in Britain – Baryonyx. Spinosaurus lived in the middle of the Cretaceous period about 95 million years ago. The first fossils of Spinosaurus were discovered in 1912 in Egypt by Ernst Stromer and were taken back to Germany where they were subsequently destroyed in Allied bombing raids during World War II.
Spinosaurus is one of the stars of the BBC’s new Planet Dinosaur series – the long awaited follow up to Walking with Dinosaurs.