The finding of over a thousand dinosaur teeth by a team from the University of Portsmouth confirms without a reasonable doubt that Spinosaurus, the massive predator made famous by the film Jurassic Park III and the BBC documentary Planet Dinosaur, was an immense river monster.
Today’s research published in the journal Cretaceous Research demonstrates that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a 15-meter-long, six-ton giant, was the most regularly seen animal in the Kem Kem river system, which ran through the Sahara Desert 100 million years ago.
It was previously believed that dinosaurs lived solely on land. Due to its newly found tail, Spinosaurus was well adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, according to studies released earlier this year. The recent discovery of 1,200 teeth in the same location provides more credence for this notion.
The fossilized remains were recovered by researchers from the University of Portsmouth from an old river bed in Morocco. After analyzing all of them, it was determined that there was a plethora of Spinosaurus teeth, which are readily distinguishable.
Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Portsmouth David Martill stated:
“The large number of teeth we recovered from the ancient riverbed indicates that Spinosaurus was present in great numbers, comprising 45 percent of the total dental remains. We are unaware of any other site where such a large number of dinosaur teeth have been discovered in bone-bearing rock.
The greater number of Spinosaurus teeth relative to those of other dinosaurs reflects its aquatic lifestyle. A creature that spends the most of its existence in water is more likely to contribute teeth to the river deposit than dinosaurs that may have only visited the river to drink and eat.
“This research allows us to confirm that this area was not only where this enormous dinosaur lived, but also died. The results are entirely congruent with the concept of a true “river monster.”
Professor Martill collaborated with two master’s degree candidates in paleontology at the University of Portsmouth.
Thomas Beevor stated, “The riverbeds of the Kem Kem constitute an extraordinary source of Spinosaurus bones. In addition, they retain the bones of several other Cretaceous animals, such as sawfish, coelacanths, crocodiles, flying reptiles, and other dinosaurs that lived on land. Given the amount of Spinosaurus teeth, it is extremely probable that this species lived mostly within the river rather than on its banks.
Aaron Quigley detailed how the teeth were sorted: “After processing all of the fossils, we evaluated each one individually. Spinosaurus has teeth with a unique surface. When held up to the light, the cross section of these objects is perfectly spherical and glints. We categorized all 1200 teeth by species before counting each one. 45% of our overall discovery consisted of Spinosaurus teeth.”