Spinosaurus Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Would you like to meet a dinosaur that just might have been the biggest meat eater ever to walk on the Earth? This lesson teaches you about the spinosaurus. Learn what it looked like, what it ate and when it lived.

The Spiny Spinosaurus

Imagine that your school bus grew five-foot-long spines on top of its roof and learned how to swim, and you'll have an idea of what the spinosaurus was like when it was alive about 100 million years ago.

A Spinosaurus Skeleton
spinosaurus

The spinosaurus was thought to be the largest carnivorous dinosaur that ever lived. The term carnivore means that it was a meat eater. It was thought to be bigger than the T-rex, which is a big, meat-eating dinosaur that you might have heard of before.

What Did They Look Like?

If you break down the word spinosaurus, it will help you recall the most distinct feature of this dinosaur. The prefix spino refers to the large spiky bones on its back, and the suffix saurus is Greek for lizard, so you can think of the spinosaurus as the spine lizard.

A Spinosaurus In A Museum
spinosaurus

The bony spines that rose off the top of the dinosaur's back created a structure referred to as a sail. The bones that made the framework of the sail could grow to be five to seven feet tall, and were thought to be connected by skin.

Scientists can't determine what the sail was used for with complete certainty, but some think that the spinosaurus could flair the sail when it felt threatened to make itself look bigger and scarier. Others think it might have been something a male spinosaurus used to attract a mate; and, other scientists think the sail might have helped the dinosaur control its body temperature by gathering or releasing heat.

The spinosaurus was about 49 feet long, and weighed seven to 20 tons. It had a long, narrow snout that contained sharp teeth, kind of like the snout of a crocodile.

A Spinosaurus Skull
spinosaurus skull

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