Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
|An artist's illustration of Baryonyx walkeri|
Charig & Milner, 1986
| Baryonyx walkeri|
Charig & Milner, 1986
Baryonyx (Name 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 an Iguanodon; it gave true clear indication of the spinosaurids diet as Generalist carnivores similiar to crocodilian species and large avians; different from previously thought as solely piscivores. It lived in the Barremian period of Early Cretaceous, around 125 million years ago.
History of discovery
Baryonyx estimated about 7.6 to 10 meters long (25 to 33 feet), and around 2.7 meters (9 feet) tall. It probably weighed in the region of 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 absurdly large for a theropod, suggesting that it also 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. 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.
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.
Until the discovery of the closely-related Suchomimus, Baryonyx was the only known mostly piscivorous (fish-eating) dinosaur. On the other hand, bones of an Iguanodon were also found in association with the Baryonyx skeleton. A definitive proof, it seems possible that Baryonyx scavenged or killed any extra meat it could find. A more clear proof directly pointing that Spinosauroids aren't obligate piscivores as previously thought. It was one of the biggest carnivores of its era; its only competitor was the Neovenator; a relative of the Allosaurus.
In the Media
- Rudy is a large albino Baryonyx & is the main antagonist in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
- 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.
- Baryonyx will be making an appearance in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. These Baryonyx clones are noticably different from the real-life counterparts and the Jurassic World 'depicted' clones. These clones have a crocodilian-like appearance such as armored back 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.
- 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 also appears in Dino Stampede.
- Baryonyx also 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.
- It also appears 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.