it begon years ago with a change encounter

This fossil became an important clue to Ibrahim’s search.

Nizar Ibrahim was in a small town in Morocco in 2008. He’s a scientist who studies fossils. Ibrahim was collecting fossils in the Sahara. He wanted to talk to some local fossil hunters. He hoped they had clues about the fossils he had found.



boxes of fossils found in Morocco

A man approached Ibrahim. He had also collected some fossils. The man had a mustache. Ibrahim didn’t know how important that mustache would become.

One fossil caught Ibrahim’s eye. He thought it might be part of a spine or a rib. He thought it might be important. So, Ibrahim bought the fossil. Years later, that fossil would lead him to one of the oddest dinosaurs ever!

Ibrahim used the fossils that had been found to piece together an unknown dinosaur.

Picturing the Past

Ibrahim uses science to piece together the past. He studies bones and observes their shape. He asks questions to form a hypothesis. That is an explanation of how these ancient animals lived.

Ibrahim looks out across the desert. He pictures what it looked like 95 million years ago. Instead of sand, he sees rivers and swamps. He sees giant turtles, huge crocodiles, and fish the size of cars. He sees large meat-eating dinosaurs that walked on land.

Searching for Spinosaurus took hard work and perseverance.

Ibrahim and team members study part of the tail of Spinosaurus.

Something Urgent

One day, Ibrahim received a message from some scientists in Italy. They described some fossils they thought Ibrahim would want to see.

They looked like the fossil he bought from the stranger years ago. They also reminded him of drawings and photos he’d seen in a book. Could they be connected? He was starting to form a new hypothesis.

A Different Dinosaur

The bones Ibrahim remembered had been found by a German scientist. He had uncovered them in the Sahara.

This dinosaur was bigger than ­­
T. rex.
It had long jaws, sharp teeth, and a huge sail on its back. The scientist named it Spinosaurus. But those bones had been destroyed long ago.

Ibrahim thought his fossil and the ones in Italy might be from Spinosaurus. He had to find that mustached man!