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Baryonyx
Baryonyx by Jiggy/Paleocolour
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
clade: Dinosauria
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Spinosauridae
Genus: Baryonyx
Charig & Milner, 1986
Species: B. walkeri
Type species
Baryonyx walkeri
Charig & Milner, 1986

Baryonyx (meaning "heavy claw") is a species of large, carnivorous dinosaur discovered in clay pits just south of Dorking, England.

The species only known from a single; subadult; specimen, and because remains of its last meal were discovered fossilized in its ribcage; both remains of fish and a juvenile Iguanodon; it gave true clear indication that spinosaurids wouldn't have only ate fish. It lived in the Barremian period of Early Cretaceous, around 125 million years ago.

Description

Baryonyx skeletal reconstruction by Dan Folkes

Baryonyx estimated about 7.6 to 9 meters long (25 to 29 feet) and around 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) tall at the hip. It probably weighed in the region of 1-2 tons, but analysis of the bones suggests that the only known specimen was not even fully grown. The fact that the skull and vertebra of B. walkeri holotype specimen (NHM R9951) do not appear to have fused suggests that the individual was not even fully grown, and the mature animal may have been much larger; as is the case for some other species of spinosaurids.

On the other hand, the specimen's fused sternum indicates that it may have been mature. Baryonyx is a very unusual tetanuran. The design of its hips and pelvis suggests that it was bipedal for the purposes of walking from place to place. However, its forelimbs were large for a theropod, this has been speculated by some, that it being an indicator of the theropod spent at least some of its time on all fours. Unlike dromaeosaurids, the creature had a long curved claw on the thumb of each hand, rather than on its hind legs. This claw measured at about 30.4 centimeters (12 inches).

The skeleton was not arranged exactly as it would have been in life (articulated), so the paleontologists reconstructing it placed them on the front feet because these legs were so powerful. The bone structure suggests a massive bulk of muscle ran down the sides of these front legs, and it therefore seems probable that the claws were placed here.

The long neck was fairly inflexible, and was not S-shaped as in many other theropods. The skull was set at an acute angle, not the 90° angle common in similar dinosaurs. The long jaw was distinctly crocodilian, and had 96 teeth, twice as many as its relatives. Sixty-four of the teeth were placed in the lower jaw (mandible), and 32 large ones in the upper (maxilla). The snout probably bore a small crest.

Classification

Baryonyx was a basal member of the Spinosauridae family within the Megalosauroidea. It was a member of the sub-family Baryonychinae.

Paleobiology

Aquatic Baryonyx based on the 2022 study by Ibrahim et al. (Artwork by Kookaburra Survivor)

Until the discovery of the closely-related Suchomimus, Baryonyx was the only known piscivorous (fish-eating) dinosaur; the crocodile-like jaws and large number of finely serated teeth suggested to scientists that Baryonyx was a fish-eater.

As confirmation, a number of scales and bones from the fish Lepidotes were also discovered in the body cavity; However bones of an immature Iguanodon were also found in direct association with the Baryonyx skeleton. A definitive proof, that Baryonyx wouldn't have only gone after fish. Even more fossil evidence shows the Portuguese/Iberian Baryonyx fossils are, also, found directly associated with Iguanodon teeth, and listed with other such associations as support for opportunistic feeding behaviour in spinosaurs [1]

It was one of the biggest carnivores of its habitat; its only competitor was the Neovenator; a relative of the Allosaurus.

Thought not depicted as a truly semiaquatic theropod, a 2022 study presented that it had the physical features fit for such an animal.[2]

Paleoenvironment

It is speculated that Baryonyx would sit on a riverbank, resting on its powerful front legs, and then sweep fish from the river with its powerful striking claw. This is similar to the modern grizzly bear. The long but low stance and angled head support this theory.

In the Media

  • Rudy, the Colossal Baryonyx

    Rudy is a large albino Baryonyx and is the main antagonist in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. However all three claws are the same size, and it is shown to be bigger than Spinosaurus.
  • Baryonyx makes a cameo appearance in the first episode of Planet Dinosaur, showing on how spinosaurids may have eaten other prey rather than fish, as showing part of a juvenile Iguanodon inside the ribcage of Baryonyx. Along with Irritator teeth with the neck vertebrae of a large pterosaur.
  • InGen created 5 Baryonyx in the InGen Compound in Isla Sorna. It was planned to live in its own paddock for Phase I of Jurassic Park, but never made it to Isla Nublar. Its paddock was located near a river, which could have supplied its residents with fish to eat. It is unknown if there were any surviving wild populations on Isla Sorna after Hurricane Clarissa hit the island.
  • Baryonyx is mentioned in Jurassic Park III as the survivors of the plane crash (caused by a Spinosaurus) try to figure out what type of dinosaur that chased them was. Baryonyx was also meant to appear in the film itself, but was cut. However, a logo featuring it was produced before the decision to cut the animal was made.
  • Baryonyx appeared on the Jurassic World website and is stated to be in the park, but it is unfortunately never seen in the film, it was seen in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, when it attempted to eat the crew in the lava chamber.
  • Baryonyx as depicted in "Dinosaur King"

    Baryonyx makes a major appearance in the action film, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. These Baryonyx clones are different enough from their real-life counterparts and the Jurassic World 'depicted' clones. These clones have a crocodilian-like appearance such as armored back, lined with bony osteoderms and crocodilian-like underbelly, a long but broad snout which makes it look like a caiman, a less pronounced notch in the upper jaw, pronated wrists like all of InGen’s cloned theropods, a much smaller thumb claw, and teeth more like a needlefish, unlike their real-life counterparts.
  • The Baryonyx also makes another major appearance in the animated series, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous in its Season 2 follow up episodes. The three Baryonyxes, Grim, Limbo and Chaos are one of the main antagonists in the series. The design of these Baryonyxes are incredibly similar to the references in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.
  • Baryonyx makes a brief cameo in the third episode of Monsters Resurrected, considered a close relative of Spinosaurus.
  • Baryonyx appeared in a free Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom DLC for Jurassic World: Evolution, based on the Fallen Kingdom dinosaur.
  • Baryonyx appeared in Dino Stampede.
  • Baryonyx appeared in both seasons of the anime series Dinosaur King.
  • It also appeared In Dink, the Little Dinosaur episode 22 "Encounter At Flatrock", Where it was called a Shell Eater & it almost ate Crusty.
  • Baryonyx is seen in the follow-up game, Jurassic World: Alive, where it is an Epic dinosaur, and the game requires you to dart 150 Baryonyx DNA to unlock it. A reddish Gen-2 version is also seen in the game.
  • Baryonyx appeared in several Jurassic Park based games including Jurassic Park: Builder, The Lost World: Jurassic Park PS game, Jurassic Park III: Park Builder, and LEGO Jurassic World. It was going to be in Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis before being cut.
  • Baryonyx made it's 1st Arcade appearance in the 1999 Dinosaur Arcade Game Savage Quest.
  • A fictional species of Baryonyx called, Baryonyx aquafulgur appears in ARK: Survival Evolved. Described inaccurately as a solely fish-eater/piscivore unlike the counterpart species in real life; which shown clear evidence of Being a generalistic carnivore.
  • Baryonyx made an appearance in the ROBLOX game called Dinosaur Simulator".

References

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