Until the beginning of 2020, they were believed to be terrestrial dinosaurs. New studies in the Algeria-Morocco border, however, indicate that at least one species was aquatic.
In April, a study published in the journal Nature presented evidence that Spinosaurus could live in aquatic environments – something innovative, since, until then, they were believed to be terrestrial dinosaurs.
Now, an analysis of the teeth of these animals has presented new evidence that, 100 million years ago, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus did indeed live in water.
The new study, led by the University of Portsmouth, UK, was conducted by the scientists who participated in the first research and was published in the August issue of the journal Cretaceous Research.
They analyzed fossils found in the Kem Kem river system, which flowed through the Sahara Desert, where today it is the border between Algeria and Morocco.
The researchers say they collected 1,200 teeth in the region, of which 45% belonged to Spinosaurus. According to them, the teeth of these animals have a distinctive surface and a smooth, round cross section that glints when held against the light.
“The enhanced abundance of Spinosaurus teeth, relative to other dinosaurs, is a reflection of their aquatic lifestyle,” said David Martill, a Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Portsmouth.
“An animal living much of its life in water is much more likely to contribute teeth to the river deposit than those dinosaurs that perhaps only visited the river for drinking and feeding along its banks.”
Spinosaurus were quite large: they weighed approximately 6 tons, were 15 meters long and 7 meters high.
“From this research we are able to confirm this location as the place where this gigantic dinosaur not only lived but also died,” Professor Martill said. “The results are fully consistent with the idea of a truly water-dwelling, ‘river monster’.”