Swimming Spinosaurus is upon us!

Welp, the embargo is lifted and the not-so-well-kept secret is out: Nizar Ibrahim and Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago have new Spinosaurus material, and have found that it was even more croc-like than we knew. Narrow hips and short legs would have made it a strong swimmer, perhaps as at home in the water as on land. 

National Geographic Story 

Paywalled Paper

Afrovenator abakensis


NameAfrovenator abakensis 

Name Meaning: Abaka African hunter

First Described: 1994

Described By: Sereno et al. 

ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Megalosauridae, Afrovenatorinae

Afrovenator was a megalosaurid predator that is unique in that it came from Africa, not Europe. Specifically it was found in the Tiouraren Formation of Abaka, Niger, Africa. It is from the Bathonian to Oxfordian stages of the mid Jurassic, about 162 million years ago (though originally it was thought to come from the Early Cretaceous, this has since been changed.) It is famous for having lived alongside the sauropod Jobaria, and I remember both because when I was young Paul Sereno had an exhibition on them at Navy Pier in Chicago, and it was one of the most formative moments of my childhood. But enough about me. It is known from one skeleton, and was about seven to eight meters long, and was a gracile predator. It had a rather flat and elongated skull. It is possible that Afrovenator is a basal spinosaurid, or related to the ancestor of that clade. It also ahd a very long humerus, giving Afrovenator longer arms and a longer reach. 


Shout out goes to faucestrilladoras!

Dawn Shark, Eocarcharia (2008)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Saurischia
Suborder : Theropoda
Family : Carcharodontosauridae
Genus : Eocarcharia
Species : E. dinops

  • Early Cretaceous (112 Ma)
  • 8 m long and 450 kg (size)
  • Sahara, Northern Africa (map)

As you may have guessed from its name, Eocarcharia was closely related to Carcharodontosaurus, the “great white shark lizard” that occupied the same north African habitat. Ecarcharia was smaller than its more famous cousin, and also had a strange, bony ridge over its eyes, which it may have used to head-butt other dinosaurs (this was probably a sexually selected characteristic, meaning males with bigger, bonier brows got to mate with more females). Judging by its numerous, sharp teeth, Eocarcharia was an active predator, though it presumably left the biggest prey to Carcharodontosaurus. By the way, this large theropod marks yet another notch in the dinosaur-discovery belt of the prolific paleontologist Paul Sereno.


Kaprosuchus saharicus by Tyler Keillor:

“This life-sized flesh reconstruction of "BoarCroc”, created under the direction of paleontologist Paul Sereno, is based upon the nearly complete holotype skull, MNN IGU12. Extant crocodiles provided rich reference for scale and scute details, and the soft tissues of ear flaps and eyes; while the uniquely textured premaxilla was speculatively covered by a keratinous sheath.“