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Baryonyx – The Theropod Dinosaur Related to Spinosaurus

The Baryonyx was a huge theropod dinosaur related to Spinosaurus. It was among the largest carnivorous dinosaurs ever discovered at the time of its discovery. It lived in modern-day Africa and Europe and is estimated to have lived during the middle Cretaceous period.

So what makes the Baryonyx related to Spinosaurus? Spinosaurus and Baryonyx are both members of the Spinosauridae family. Despite living at different times and in different places, they share the same distinct group according to what they ate. While their skulls are similar, their bone plates differ.

Baryonyx means ‘heavy claw.’ It is said to have been named this because of the pattern imprinted on its teeth. Below is a bucket of thoughts of how Baryonyx is related to Spinosaurus and some studies where researchers believed about Baryonyx.

Is Baryonyx Related To Spinosaurus?

It is no easy feat to differentiate between two dinosaurs, Baryonyx and Spinosaurus. Both of these large theropods had many features in common. Baryonyx is related to Spinosaurus because they are both members of the family Spinosauridae. They shared many similarities, but they did not share geographic space.

The spinosaurid family includes four genera, Baryonyx, Spinosaurus, Araeoscelosaurus, and Suchomimus. All four genera are known from North Africa and Europe in the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago; hence their name). The two genera which have been found in North Africa and Europe are Baryonyx and Suchomimus. These dinosaurs were different species because they lived at different times and locations.

For the majority of its existence, Baryonyx was found in what is now northeastern Africa. It was most likely a semi-aquatic dinosaur that played a major role in the food chain, given its size. They were large enough to consume fish and eggs.

Baryonyx is a little smaller than the other, although it is still rather huge in comparison. On the other hand, A Spinosaurus is approximately 30 feet long and has little resemblance to the last dinosaur.

These dinosaurs shared many characteristics in common, but they also had certain characteristics unrelated to one another. Teeth, the shape of the jaws, tensile strength, and muscles are only a few factors that prove their similarities.

Regarding teeth, both the Baryonyx and Spinosaurus have sharp, curved teeth that could tear flesh from prey. The teeth are different in terms of size, shape, orientation, and direction. In Baryonyx, they were conical in shape with dorsal blade-like serrations running down the center. These teeth were smaller than in Spinosaurus.

Additionally, in the Spinosaurus, the serrated blade was more towards the front of an upper jaw than a lower jaw like Baryonyx. Baryonyx teeth were longer on each side but a smaller size overall.

Both Baryonyx and Spinosaurus jaws were strong and muscular, capturing prey and tearing meat from bones. However, the shape of their lower jawline differed in that Spinosaurus had a more elongated lower jaw with an “S” shape while Baryonyx had a “U” shaped jawline.

The above skeletal features suggest some similarities between Baryonyx and Spinosaurus, but there are many more as far as muscle features go. 

Baryonyx Unique Features

Baryonyx is distinguished by a number of features that differentiate them as unique dinosaurs. It reveals how these characteristics and features make them recognizable from other dinosaurs.

The Baryonyx has carpal bones and a paddle on its hand that may have been used to propel itself or prey capture. The bony plates that cover the skull also seem to have protected the head from injury. Their teeth were like those of adult crocodiles but smaller than those of adult alligators.

It possessed enormous curved claws on its feet. It used to catch prey such as fish and other small animals in the water or marshy ground by thrusting and slicing with one foot while stepping on or wrapping around the victim’s other foot to keep it motionless and unable to escape. It then would grab and kill with its jaws once subdued.

YouTube Video Showing What Did The Baryonyx Really Look Like?

YouTube video by DangerVille which discusses all about the Baryonyx and corrects some of the misconceptions created by movie depictions – AdventureDinosaurs

The Baryonyx also had large nostrils on its snout to help it smell fish under the water. It also would have had a keen sense of smell, sight, and hearing to detect prey.

Like most carnivorous dinosaurs, the Baryonyx was probably fast and agile in the water. It would have been easy for it to swim long distances and catch prey in the water of its size. Its neck was long and flexible enough to move its head around to the side or above water at a crucial moment to pinpoint prey and then shoot out its deadly jaws through the surface into the prey’s back or sides. (Source)

The Baryonyx also had a long tail, probably used as a whip to propel the dinosaur in water or on land. This feature is similar to what crocodiles do today.

It also has strong, muscular legs with five toes on each foot. It moved its front legs and back legs simultaneously like how all four-legged animals move today. The length of its front legs made it easy to walk on land, swim in the water, and climb up trees for smaller prey that they could snatch off branches.

Spinosaurus Unique Features

Spinosaurus lived in what is now modern-day Libya and Tunisia during most of its life. It had a skull that was longer and more tapered than most other Spinosaurus. Its ability to swim is inferred because it had dense bones, which makes it a heavy animal. 

A distinguishing feature is a large sail on its back, thought to function as a thermoregulator. Seeing it from behind may have also made it appear bigger, similar to the sail of a ship.

Baryonyx is More Related to Ichthyosaurus than Spinosaurus? True or False

Baryonyx is a type of species found with remains of the Spinosaurus, which has generally been thought to be its closest relative. In recent years, however, research has suggested that it may be related to the alligator-like Ichthyosaurus. 

Researchers from Brigham Young University, Florida State University, and the College of Wooster in Ohio did a phylogenetic analysis comparing various species using 3D models of skulls and skeletons. The scientists compared different species and their skulls, like those of Baryonyx and the skull of an Ichthyosaurus horridus from the Early Jurassic period around 200 million years ago. They used this data for their study, published in October 2011 in the Public Library of Science. 

Baryonyx and Ichthyosaurus are different species of theropod dinosaurs that lived in the Early Jurassic period. They both had long jaws and sharp teeth so that they may have eaten fish. However, unlike Spinosaurus, it had a longer snout and smaller nostrils closer to the eyes, which helped it hunt fish. By that characteristic, they concluded that Baryonyx is quite related to Ichthyosaurus. (Source)

How Do We Know Baryonyx Ate Fish? Does Baryonyx Eat Other Dinosaurs?

Baryonyx appears to have been an omnivore that ate fish! While this might seem strange compared to other carnivores like T-Rex or Velociraptor, it is not unheard of. There are other known fossils of dinosaurs with stomach contents that indicate they eat vegetables and meat. What makes scientists think Baryonyx ate fish?

The first conclusive evidence for this came from the Baryonyx fossil found in 1983 held at the Museum of Natural History in London. After creating a full 3D digital reconstruction of the skull, they noted that its teeth were serrated and interdental plates present, both characteristics seen in modern-day fish eaters. These results would strongly suggest Baryonyx was an omnivore. (Source)

A paleontologist’s team was trying to reconstruct the animal’s diet using a stomach-content analysis. They found the contents of one of the stomachs to contain “fish bones, fish scales and unidentified bones of a small mammal.”

The fact that this was part of an advanced dinosaur study is even more amazing. The contents they found would be rare in a dinosaur as it would usually eat other dinosaurs or plants. Even though Baryonyx is only about 7 feet long, its digestive system was very efficient, meaning it probably ate a lot less than other dinosaurs. (Source)

Fact or Fiction: Baryonyx Eating Other Dinosaurs

Paleontologists have been debating whether the dinosaur known as Baryonx ate other dinosaurs for years. The reason is that, according to paleontologists, they think that based on fossil evidence found all over the place that Baryonyx likely ate other species of dinosaurs. 

Paleontologist and author Matthew Lamanna respond to this by saying that the presence of a single tooth in the upper jaw does not prove that they were carnivorous. They believed that Baryonyx could just as easily have been omnivores.

Baryonyx did look like they were predators with large mouths and sharp teeth. However, this does not mean that the dinosaur ate other species of dinosaurs. For example, it could have been an omnivore. 

Paleontologists have also debated vigorously about whether Baryonyx ate fish. Since fish scales are often found in and around the same region where Baryonyx fossils are located, they think this proves that Baryonyx ate fish. However, it only proves that fish species lived in the area where Baryonyx was found from time to time, but not necessarily when the dinosaur was alive.

Lamanna goes on to say that if the dinosaur ate fish, we have no evidence of it. He exclaimed that if Baryonyx lived in an area rich in fish fossils, so presumably, Baryonyx could have eaten some fish. 

Also, Baryonyx probably was not a top predator. They were not at the top of the food chain but the second- or third-most important animal since carnivory is not proven by the presence of a single tooth in the upper jaw.

What Dinosaurs Did Baryonyx Live With?

The creature Baryonyx was a type of dinosaur that paleontologists call a fish-eating dinosaur. It was part of the family known as Spinosauridae. Baryonyx was a meat-eater that hunted for food. It was one of the biggest omnivore animals to have lived. Chances of how many species he could have lived with are a lot.

Many different types of dinosaurs lived during the Jurassic period. Some of these include Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops. Possible ones include Stegoceras, Pachycephalosaurus (a horned dinosaur), and Pentaceratops (a multi-horned dinosaur.) 

Paleontologists suggest that Baryonx lived during this period, as well as with some others. Baryonyx also lived alongside Pterosaurs. There were many kinds of these animals, for example, the Pteranodon and the Quetzalcoatlus. (Source)

During the period of dinosaurs, there are so many that are still not discovered. Some of those might be related to the found research about Baryonyx dinosaurs. Possibly, other species lived with them that have not yet been discovered. Some fossils and evidence that might be true in today’s study might be flipped differently with future discoveries.

Conclusion – See What Is Beyond All The Pictures

There were dinosaur exhibits, pictures of fossils, and even dinosaur skulls so large they could have walked right out of the halls. Most dinosaurs, including the Baryonyx, may have been seen in exhibits, but it is more impressive when people try to see what is beyond the animatronics. The unique characteristics and features they imposed are fascinating to examine. It is amazing to believe that there are people who still want to learn more about them after all these years.