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Suchomimus on beach 1280

Suchomimus (meaning "crocodile mimic") is a genus of large spinosaurid dinosaur with a crocodile-like mouth that lived sometime between 121-112 million years ago, during the late Aptian stage of theCretaceous period in Africa.[1]Unlike most giant theropods, Suchomimus had a very long, low snout and narrow jaws studded with some 100 teeth, not very sharp and curving slightly backward. The tip of the snout was enlarged and carried a "rosette" of longer teeth. The animal is reminiscent of crocodilians that eat mainly fish, such as the living gharial, a type of large crocodile with a very long, slim snout, from the region of India.

Suchomimus also had a tall extension of its vertebrae which may have held up some kind of low flap, ridge or sail of skin, as seen in much more exaggerated form in Spinosaurus. Detailed study shows that the specimen of Suchomimus was a subadult about 14 meters (45 ft) in length and weighing between 9-10 tons but scientists think that it may have grown to about 15 meters (50 ft) long, approaching the size of Tyrannosaurus. The overall impression is of a massive and powerful creature that ate fish and other dinosaurs and presumably other sorts of meat (carrion, if naught else) more than 100 million years ago, when the Sahara was a lush, swampy habitat.Chicago-based palaeontologist Paul Sereno and his team reported in 1998 that they had found fossils that represented about two-thirds of the skeleton of a huge meat-eater in the Tegama Bed of the Elrhaz Formationin Niger.[2] They named the genus Suchomimus("crocodile mimic") after the shape of the animal's head and the species tenerensis after the Ténéré Desert in which it was found.[2]

Suchomimus has been placed among the spinosaurids, a group of large predator-scavengers adapted for hunting fish and with less heavily-built skulls when compared to other similarly-sized theropods, like the tyrannosaurids.[3] Apart from the back ridge,Suchomimus was very similar to the spinosaurid Baryonyx which also had strong forelimbs and a huge sickle-curved claw on its "thumb". And, as with Baryonyx, the claw was the first fossil part to be noticed by palaeontologists. The holotype and only known individual of Suchomimus was considerably larger than that of Baryonyx, but the ages of the two individuals are not known. It may also be a synonym of Cristatusaurus.

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