Spinosaurus had probably the most dramatic change in look of any dinosaur (I’ll probably say this for every dinosaur in this series, however). Just by looking at the images above you can tell. Let’s take a closer look at the many depictions of this magnificent creature.
Well, this is interesting. Early depictions would often show Spinosaurus as some love child between a carnosaur and a Dimetrodon, even depicting it walking on all fours. The reason for reconstructions like this is because only fragmentary remains of this dinosaur were found in the early 20th century, but those remains were destroyed in a WWII bombing. So not only did they have very little of the creature, many generations of paleo-artists didn’t even have reference points because the bones were blown up! This led to depictions like this. Ick, it gives me shivers.
Later renditions would give it a more traditional carnosaur pose, but at the time, traditional had problems.
At least he’s not on all fours.
It wasn’t until later that we’ve found that Spinosaurus was related to the dinosaur Baryonyx. So in doing so, he got a longer snout.
Progress is progress people.
Although this picture still has the wrong arms and a way too tall sail, it’s pretty progressive for the early 90’s. Later the true relation to this beast and Baryonyx became apparent and it was given an even more updated look to boot. This was around the time of Jurassic Park 3.
Once this baby made an appearence, the idea of the skinny jawed bigger than T. rex Spinosaurus was finally put into the public’s conscience. Since then, many interpretations make the creature look like some scary abomination of awesomeness.
You can’t deny the awesomeness.
Many people had the image that this creature was some indestructible super predator. But later findings showed that Spinosaurus probably dined mostly on fish, so the awesomeness had to be toned down a bit.
But only a bit.
Even later research suggests that the large spines on the dinosaur didn’t represent a sail, but instead a hump, leading to a less spectacular but more realistic depiction.
Uh oh, guess what day it is…
However, even MORE recent material paints a very different creature. Spinosaurus may have been a bit stumpier than we thought.
Um, wheres the awesomeness?
Recent, somewhat controversial material suggests that Spinosaurus didn’t have the long hind legs that pretty much every large theropod has. Instead, it may have crawled along the ground like a crocodile!
Some question the validity of these finds, claiming it’s a mix mach of a young spinosaur and an adult one. But if this proves to be true, Spinosaurus might be the strangest dinosaur we’ve ever found.
So, as you can see, the image of Spinosaurus has changed dramatically over the years. This just goes to show just what can happen when you only have fragmentary material to reconstruct an animal. In reality, none of the creatures above may exist. It might actually look like this!
What? Just what?
Next time, we tackle a childhood favorite. I might actually need Raptor to review this properly, but unfortunately, there are none in this.
The Land Before Time is next.