The Suchomimus was a genus of huge dinosaurs that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period in a limited region in the continent of Africa. These carnivores were discovered much later, around the end of the 20th century.
|Geological Period||Middle Cretaceous period, about 110-100 million years ago|
|Size||9.5 to 11 metres (31 to 36 ft) in length|
|Height||Around 12 ft (3.6 m) tall at the hips|
|Weight||2.5 to 5.2 tonnes (2.8 to 5.7 short tons)|
|Location/Distribution & Habitat||Dry Tenere region of the Sahara Desert in Niger, Africa|
|Birth Type (Reproduction)||Oviparous|
History and Discovery
It was in 1997 that about two-third of the fossilized skeletal remains of an unknown enormous meat-eating theropod was unearthed in Niger’s Gadoufaoua by a well-known paleontologist Paul Sereno, along with his research team.
Initially, on 4 December 1997, only a large thumb claw of the creature was discovered by a member of the team David Varricchio, after which the rest of the fossil was dug out. Later, on 11 November 1998, the type species Suchomimus tenerensis was named and described by Sereno, along with other scientists – Jeffrey Wilson, Oliver Walter Mischa Rauhut, Boubacar Gado, Hans Larsson, Jonathan Marcot, David Varricchio, Rudyard Sadleir, Christian Sidor, Didier Dutheil, Gabrielle Lyon, Gregory Wilson and Allison Beck.
The animal got its generic name Suchomimus from the Greek name ‘Sobek’ for the Egyptian crocodile god, and ‘mimos’ (means, mimic) – or in other words, mimicking the crocodile, because of its resemblance to the modern-day aquatic creature. The specific name tenerensis comes from the Ténéré Desert in Niger, the site where the animal was discovered.
The animal is known for its distinctive sail on the lower back. It had large, foot-long claws of each of its thumbs. It had a huge tail, a massive skull reaching a length of about 4 feet (1.2 meters), including its significantly long and narrow snout.
Their jaws were powerful lined with more than a hundred subconical teeth curved inward. The largest teeth were contained in an extra projection at the end of the jaw, which is called a rosette. In fact, the features of the mouth and the thumbed claws of the animal are adaptations to catch fish at ease.
The Suchomimus was extremely aggressive in nature and walked or ran on its two hind legs. Many paleontologists believe that the feeding habits of the reptile were probably much similar to that of present-day fish-eating crocodiles or alligators.
Like most other spinosaurs, its diet consisted primarily of fish (piscivore), but also small prey animals.
- The animal appeared in three episodes in the first season of the anime series Dinosaur King.
- In the 2004 Sci-Fi Film Dinocroc showed a new imaginary hybrid that was a cross between the Suchomimus and the Sarcosuchus.