Ibrahim works slowly and carefully.
On the Trail
It was crazy. Ibrahim knew that.
Five years had passed. He didn’t know the fossil hunter’s name or address. All he knew was that he had a mustache. Still, if he could find the fossil hunter again, maybe he could find Spinosaurus.
Ibrahim traveled back to the small town in Morocco. Against all odds, he began his search. Days went by without success. Ibrahim’s spirits sank. The task seemed impossible.
On his last day in Morocco, Ibrahim sat with two friends in a small café, sipping tea. Suddenly, he looked up. A tall man wearing white passed by his table. The man looked familiar, and he had a mustache.
Ibrahim leaped up and chased after him. He caught up to the man and looked at his face. It was the fossil hunter! Now, if only the hunter would lead him to the fossils.
Ibrahim was led into the desert to find Spinosaurus.
Ibrahim worked with a team to uncover Spinosaurus bones.
The man with the mustache listened closely to Ibrahim. He agreed to lead Ibrahim to the place where he had found the fossils.
The next day, the two men drove a short distance into the Sahara. They would have to make the rest of the trip on foot. They climbed a steep slope. Near the top, they reached a small cave. This was where the fossil hunter had been digging.
Ibrahim gently picked away at some of the sand and rock. Within minutes, he discovered several bones. At last, he had found Spinosaurus!
Building the Beast
Many large dinosaurs seemed to have lived in this area at the same time. Were they competing for the same prey? How was Spinosaurus able to live among other big predators? Ibrahim began to form a hypothesis.
To prove it, he had to conduct an experiment and recreate Spinosaurus. He didn’t have all the pieces, but he had enough to get started. His method was to create a digital model on a computer based on what he knew.
With other scientists, he made a skin for his model skeleton. Now, he had a complete Spinosaurus. It looked different from all the other dinosaurs he had seen.
This Spinosaurus foot bone was found at the dig site.
Spinosaurus’ head was long and thin.
Until Ibrahim had created this model, scientists had assumed that Spinosaurus spent most of its time on land. Seeing the way this dinosaur actually looked made Ibrahim realize that it probably didn’t spend much time there.
Ibrahim made a conclusion that this dinosaur spent most of its time in water. Its long tail may have helped propel it through the water. Spinosaurus probably had webbed feet that it used to paddle. High nostrils allowed it to keep most of its head underwater while it hunted. This is why Spinosaurus could exist with the other meat-eating dinosaurs.
Making a Model
Spinosaurus’ neck and body were longer than those of other dinosaurs. The Spinosaurus had short hind legs and powerful forearms. Its back feet were wide and flat. To Ibrahim, they looked like paddles.
Ibrahim studied Spinosaurus’ skull. It had a long snout, but its nostrils were halfway up the skull.
Spinosaurus’ wide back feet may have been webbed, which would have helped it swim.