28 Best Spinosaurus Facts For Kids

Real Spinosaurus skeleton on display in a museum.
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Image © Kabacchi under Creative Commons License.

The Spinosaurus is one of the most amazing creatures that has ever roamed the planet, and lived millions of years ago. A huge dinosaur, with an enormous bony fin on its back, the name 'Spinosaurus', means 'spine lizard' in Latin.

Any child who loves learning about dinosaurs will be captivated by our 28 best Spinosaurus facts, so take a look below to discover all about this incredible beast.

What Did The Spinosaurus Look Like?

The Spinosaurus had many interesting features! Learn all about them here:

1.The Spinosaurus is the largest carnivorous dinosaur that has ever been found! It was even longer and heavier than the ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex, another example of an enormous carnivorous dinosaur. The Spinosaurus' skull was 6 feet long - this is longer than the height of the average man. The Tyrannosaurus Rex's skull was only the same length of a small child by comparison.

2.The Spinosaurus' body could also be up to 59 feet long - that is 19 feet longer than the Tyrannosaurus Rex's body.

3.The Spinosaurus' most distinctive feature was the massive bony fin on its back. This is also known as a sail, and could be up to 7 feet high. The bones of a Spinosaurus' sail were actually part of its spine. The sail was raised when the Spinosaurus arched its back. The purpose of the sail was to scare off any other predators who were competing with the Spinosaurus for food. Another dinosaur which had a sail is the herbivorous (plant eating) Ouranousaurus.

4.The Spinosaurus' head and jaw are thought by palaeontologists (people who study dinosaurs) to look similar to the modern-day crocodile.

Life-like model of a Spinosaurus outside a National Geographic Society building.
Image © Paulo O under Creative Commons License

5.Palaeontologists have recently worked out that the Spinosaurus could swim from their physical features. These included webbed feet, dense bones, sharp teeth and nostrils near the top of their snouts. These features would have made it easy for the Spinosaurus to swim in deep water, catch slippery prey and breathe while they were in the water, making them fierce and threatening predators. The Spinosaurus is the only dinosaur that could swim, making it unique!

6.The Spinosaurus had a long tail which was flexible, and helped push it along as it swam.

7.Spinosauri had sharp, curved claws. These would have helped them pounce on their prey.

8.The Spinosaurus had 6-7 teeth at the front of its mouth, and a further 12 at the back. Though these front teeth were very sharp, they did not have rough edges, which means the Spinosaurus could not have eaten any large land animals that were alive.

9.The Spinosaurus usually walked on two legs, although it could also walk on all fours. The Spinosaurus' legs were shorter than its arms, and it wouldn't have been very graceful because its feet and legs were designed for swimming. The Spinosaurus' legs were a lot shorter than the legs of many other dinosaurs, but its arms were unusually long and very strong.

Food Facts About The Spinosaurus

The Spinosaurus had a very interesting and varied diet:

10.The Spinosauri diet usually consisted of meat and fish. This means it was a piscivorous (fish eating) and a carnivorous (meat eating) dinosaur.

11.The Spinosaurus usually ate fish from the water where they would hunt for prey. A tasty meal for a Spinosaurus might have been a giant shark, lungfish or sawfish. The Spinosaurus would also scavenge for food on land, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and would eat the remains of other dinosaurs who had already died.

When and Where Did The Spinosaurus Live?

Large model of a Spinosaurus in a green forest.
Image © Andrew Borgen

Discover when and where the Spinosaurus made its home millions of years ago:

12.The Spinosaurus lived all the way back in the middle of the Cretaceous period, about 112-97 million years ago. The Cretaceous period ended with the extinction of most dinosaurs and came right after the Jurassic period, which was known for the arrival of many new dinosaurs. The Spinosaurus disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous period the earth got warmer. This meant their water-based habitat dried up, and so they did not have enough food to eat.

13.Within the Cretaceous period, Spinosaurus lived during the Cenomanian and Albian ages. These are periods of geological time.

14.The Spinosaurus never came into contact with humans, and had completely died out by the time humans had evolved.

15.The Spinosaurus lived in North Africa, around the land that is now part of modern-day countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Niger.

16.The Spinosaurus lived in large bodies of water which reached across the whole of the North African coast. These included lakes and swamps. These areas of water have since dried up.

17.Six main specimens of the Spinosaurus have been discovered. Out of these, four were discovered in the Kem Kem beds of North Africa. This is an area that reaches across Morocco and Algeria. Examples of Spinosaurus fossils that have been found in the Kem Kem Beds are a snout and a partial skeleton.

18.Spinosaurus teeth have also been found in recent years. Spinosaurus teeth have been discovered in Tunisia, which is also in North Africa.

19.The Spinosaurus was one of the dominant predators in its habitat, alongside the Carcharodontosaurus, which was another meat eating dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period.

What Kind Of Dinosaur Is The Spinosaurus?

Young boy sat at the table playing with little toy dinosaurs.

Discover what group and family the Spinosaurus belonged to:

20.The Spinosaurus was a type of dinosaur called a theropod. Theropods usually had three-toed arms and legs and were often carnivorous dinosaurs, like the Spinosaurus. Theropods were a very diverse group and also included the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Microraptor, which was one of the smallest dinosaurs that did not fly. Like most theropods, the Microraptor was also meat eating dinosaur. Theropods usually had very good vision.

21.The Spinosaurus was the longest of all the other theropods.

22.The Spinosaurus was part of a family within the theropod group called the Spinosauridae. There were members of the Spinosauridae family all over the world. For example, the Irritator dinosaur which lived in Brazil was part of the Spinosauridae family, and so was the Baryonyx dinosaur, which could be found in England. The Baryonyx dinosaur was the Spinosaurus' closest relative.

23.Two species of Spinosaurus have been named. The more well-known species is called the Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus. A specimen from this species was found in Egypt in 1912 and was first named and described by a German palaeontologist called Ernst Stromer in 1915. He called this discovery 'Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus', which means 'Egyptian spine lizard' in Latin. The fossils Ernst Stromer had collected were lost due to Allied bombing in World War II (1939-1945).

24.The Spinosaurus Aegypticus fossil that was named by the German palaeontologist Ernst Stromer was discovered in a place called Bahariya Oasis in Western Egypt. This specimen was part of a Spinosaurus' spine.

25.The smaller species of Spinosaurus is called the Spinosaurus Marocannus. This species lived in Morocco. The Spinosaurus Marocannus was named and described fairly recently, in 1996. Its name translates from Latin to mean 'Moroccan spine lizard'.

Extra Fun Facts About The Spinosaurus

Enjoy these extra facts about the fascinating Spinosaurus:

26.The Spinosaurus was included in the movie Jurassic Park III, which came out in 2001. The Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park was a scary villain in the film, and is shown winning in a fight against a Tyrannosaurus Rex. In reality, the two dinosaurs lived millions of years apart,  and so would not have had the chance to fight. The Tyrannosaurus Rex evolved much later than the Spinosaurus, and lived about 65 million years ago - 30 million years later than the Spinosaurus.

27.It has been estimated that the Spinosaurus could run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. This is extremely quick for such a big dinosaur.

28.The Spinosaurus has been pictured on the stamps of many countries. This includes African countries such as Tunisia, Angola, Liberia and The Gambia, as well as Guyana, which is in South America.

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