Saturday, April 12, 2008

Suchomimus tenerensis

Ok. Back to my usual passion - drawing theropods. This time, it's Suchomimus tenerensis. As always, I ran out of paper but this time, I scotch-tapee another piece of paper to fit the tail...however, the extra length made it too big for my scanner so I had to scan it in twice and stitch them together using Photoshop...

Anyway, a bit about Suchomimus - though this dinosaur is really famous that I probably won't have anything unique to comment on. Suchomimus is a spinosaurid dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) of Niger (Sereno et al. 1998). It is quite distinctly different from the other famous African spinosaur Spinosaurus in snout morphology and in the lack of the giant sail - although Suchomimus also has elongated neural spines along the posterior dorsal, sacral, and anterior caudal vertebrae. The elongation is most pronounced in the sacral vertebrae but it is nowhere as long as those seen in Spinosaurus.

Along with the slightly older Baryonyx from the UK and contemporary Cristatusaurus of Niger, Suchomimus is phylogenetically distinct from Spinosaurus and Irritator of Brazil - the former three forming the subfamily Baryonychinae and the latter forming the subfamily Spinosaurinae. However, it has been suggested that Suchomimus is congeneric with Cristatusaurus as well as with Baryonyx. In which case, both Cristatusaurus and Suchomimus should be sunk into Baryonyx because of senior priority...whatever - I don't really know much about taxonomy but personal observations of the skull elements of Baryonyx and a cast replica of the same elements in Suchomimus lead me to believe that this may be the case - at least with Suchomimus and Baryonyx. Suchomimus is just slightly bigger than Baryonyx. Then again it is believed that Baryonyx is a sub-adult anyway, so if they were the same genus then we could just be observing an ontogenetic sequence...

5 comments:

Zach said...

I'm all for fewer genera rather than more, and all of the photos and restorations of the skull parts of Baryonyx and "Suchomimus" lead me to believe that the two are synonymous, but perhaps split at the species level, given their geographic and temporal differences. I wrote a McLarge Huge post about spinosaurs awhile back...I'm too lazy to link to it, though. ;-)

Mambo-Bob said...

I just read your blog piece on spinosaurs - I was aware of it but didn't have time to read it before...:P

I agree. S. tenerensis probably is Baryonyx tenerensis. Though, my colleagues and I follow the valid genera in the Dinosauria II for the moment until official renaming so we use Suchomimus.

saurian said...

Having spoken to Angela Milner not too long ago, she was very bullish that Suchomimus would be sunk into Baryonyx in the not too distant future but she also hinted that Paul Sereno would continue to be difficult to convince. But she gave the impression that this would be the year it would happen. We'll see....

Mambo-Bob said...

A few of my friends also had similar conversations with Angela Milner. But I didn't know it was gonna actually happen...

saurian said...

Well maybe it won't! She gave me the "this is as much as I want to tell you" look but, for sure, the feeling she exudes is one of absolute confidence and certainty that the two are the same.
It may have to do with the fact that she had been looking at newly recovered Baryonyx material from Portugal but that is just speculation on my part.