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First ever evidence of a swimming, shark-eating dinosaur

The skeletal cast head of the Spinosaurus was displayed at the National Geographic Society in Washington Thursday.
The skeletal cast head of the Spinosaurus was displayed at the National Geographic Society in Washington Thursday.Jim Bourg/Reuters

When it wasn’t putting T. rex to shame, the dinosaur Spinosaurus spent its time swimming — and chowing down on sharks.

Until now, scientists didn’t have any proof there were swimming dinosaurs. There were some marine reptiles prowling the seas, but paleontologists couldn’t find fossils that put dinosaurs in the water. New fossil evidence published Thursday in Science changes that, and the Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is breaking records left and right. It’s now the largest predatory dinosaur to have ever roamed the planet — nearly 10 feet longer than the largest T. rex specimen. But more importantly, Spinosaurus has the distinction of providing our first ever evidence for a semiaquatic dinosaur.

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Spinosaurus was discovered in the Sahara more than a century ago by German paleontologist Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach, but all of his fossils were destroyed during World War II. When a partial skeleton was uncovered in the Moroccan Sahara — a place once home to a system of rivers full of sharks and other predators — scientists had a new clue that there was something fishy about the massive dino.

Washington Post