In a bizarre twist of events, scientists in Morocco, Germany and Italy are trying to reconstruct a new species of dinosaur that could have swam in waters. This semi-aquatic dinosaur is known as spinosaurus, and the fossil found in Morocco and parts of Italy and Germany suggest that it had features that could have enabled it to live on land and take to water at will. But more bizarre is the fact that fossil parts found in the three countries indicate to have belonged to the same spinosaurus.

With details published in the Science journal, the features of the spinosaurus indicate that it was 9 feet longer than the T. rex, and it had nostrils that were placed closer to the top of its skull and diagonally jutted teeth that would have been instrumental to snapping up fish and other aquatic creatures.

Apart from the peculiar limbs and other features, the spinosaurus also had openings in its snout that would have been used as pressure sensors to detect movement and pressure in surrounding waters – just as alligators and crocodiles have sensors that enabled them to hunt for prey after detecting their pressure movement in water. And it had a bony sail that allowed it to swim too.

The first spinosaurus skeleton was discovered by a German researcher, Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenback in Egypt in 1912; and the second one found by Nizar Ibrahim, a paleontologist from the University of Chicago in Morocco. A Bedouin fossil hunter approached Ibrahim in 2008 and handed him a box containing some notable fragments of the spinosaurus, and much later when he visited a museum in Italy, he found spinosaurus fossils that complemented the ones he got from Morocco, signifying that they belonged to the same extinct animal.

And according to Hans Thewissen, an anatomist from the Ohio Medical University, “it’s about time that they found a dinosaur that was semi-aquatic. I’m not surprised, but I’m delighted that they found it.” However, considering the fact that the spinosaurus was reconstructed from skeletons found in two continents, a paleontologist from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, Lindsay Zanno, has cautioned about the accuracy of the reconstruction, saying “we have to be very careful about presuming that we know exactly what this animal looked like. I find the proportions of this animal to be really bizarre.”

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