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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 130–125 Ma
Baryonyx NHM.jpg
Reconstruction of the holotype skeleton, Natural History Museum, London
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Family: Spinosauridae
Genus: Baryonyx
Charig & Milner, 1986
B. walkeri
Binomial name
Baryonyx walkeri
Charig & Milner, 1986

Baryonyx was a carnivorous theropod dinosaur discovered in clay pits just south of Dorking, England, and also in northern Spain. It has been dated to the Barremian period of Early Cretaceous Period, around 125 million years ago.

It was first discovered in 1983 by William Walker, who was an English amateur fossil hunter. A group of scientists lead by Alan J. Charig and Angela C. Milner of the Natural History Museum examined the skeleton and named the animal "Baryonyx" (meaning 'heavy claw'), and the species name walkeri after the man who discovered it.[1] Other good skeletons were discovered in England and in Spain, which gave scientists a good idea of what the dinosaur was like.

Baryonyx grew up to between 7.5 and 10 m (25 and 33 ft) meters long and weighed 1.2 and 1.7 t (1.3 and 1.9 short tons). It had long arms which were probably used for holding on to prey, the claw on the first finger was 31 centimeters (12 in) long. It ate mostly fish, like a grizzly bear would; for this it had a long snout like a gharial, and straight, cone-like teeth perfect for fishing. It had a bump on the top of its skull, this could have been the base for a small or large crest.[2]

Paleontologists do not know whether Baryonyx or other spinosaurids had scaly skin like crocodiles, or if it was covered in feathers like most theropods are.

References[change | change source]

  1. Edwards, D. D. (1986). "Fossil claw unearths a new family tree". Science News 130 (23): 356. doi:10.2307/3970849. 
  2. Psihoyos, L.; Knoebber, J. (1994). Hunting Dinosaurs. London: Cassell. pp. 176–179. ISBN 978-0679431244.