Ichthyovenator (Greek for "fish hunter"); pronounced ICK-thee-oh-VEN-ate-or
Woodlands of Asia
Early Cretaceous (125-112 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 25-30 feet long and 1 to 2 tons
Narrow snout; two-lobed hump on back
Spinosaurs--large, fish-eating theropods characterized by their narrow snouts, grasping hands, and sailed backbones--are mostly known from early Cretaceous Africa and South America (witness he northern African Spinosaurus and the South American Irritator). Now, a team of paleontologists has announced the first-ever spinosaur discovered in Asia, the Laotian Ichthyovenator. Since Ichtyovenator's fossil "type specimen" doesn't include the skull, we can't say anything for sure about its head; what's most notable is this dinosaur's two-lobed sail, which had a prominent notch toward the tailbone. The function of this bizarre sail, and other details of Ichthyovenator's anatomy, will have to await future fossil discoveries.