Spinosaurus is considered to be the biggest carnivore the world has ever seen as tall as a Giraffe, as long as a bus, and as heavy as about 3 elephants, or 10 rhinos, it was a huge predator. Was it the biggest carnivore the world has ever seen? We examine the facts below.
Though that only hold true on land, there are plenty carnivores in the sea that achieve much bigger sizes in terms of weight and length. Spinosaurus is the only universally acknowledged aquatic dinosaur or swimming dinosaur and is thought to be a piscivore (fish eater).
It was instantly recognisable by its huge sail on its back that has multiple theories on its use, from heat regulation to display and species recognition. However it is most famous for being considered as the largest Carnivorous dinosaur to ever live on Earth.
We take a look at how large this huge predator really was below, covering length, height and weight and more.
if you want more information on Spinosaurus we have 2 full articles on Spinosaurus facts and questions linked into the article as well as well as a page comparing the size of carnivorous dinosaurs ( and a table to make it more easy on the eyes.) Including facts sheets, and for the kids coloring pages.
How ever let’s get into how big a spinosaurus was.
How Long Was A Spinosaurus?
The maximum length of a fully grown Spinosaurus has been estimated to be between 49 and 59 Feet long.
While debate about other Spinosaurus attributes rages on, there is some agreement on the length of a spinosaurus and its position as the longest carnivore ever. In estimates in 2005-2007 it was estimated to grow to between 42 and 59 feet long when fully grown,
Although the spinosaurus length was scaled down in further research in 2014 to 49-52 feet it is still longer than any other carnivore as you can see in the table further down this page. However the table below compares the length of Spinosaurus to more regular items
Fun Spinosaurus Length Facts:
- Spinosaurus at 59 feet long, possibly, is almost as long as a bowling lane.
- At 59 Feet it is the same length as home plate to the pitchers’ mound in Baseball
- Spinosaurus was the same length as a semi truck and the trailer
- Spinosaurus could be as long as As long as three male giraffes are tall!
- Spinosaurus could be as long as 10 people laying top to tail.
How Tall Was A Spinosaurus
The maximum height to the top of the sail of a fully grown Spinosaurus has been estimated to be 5.4 metres or 17.7 feet.
Spinosaurus was not only the longest known carnivorous dinosaur ever on earth it was also the tallest, even when taken at the horizontal posture and walking gait that theropods are now thought to have employed. At 5.4 metres tall or approaching 18ft tall it was taller than the tallest female giraffe and a high average height of a male giraffe.
it means it was a similar height to quetzalcoatlus the largest ever flying animal found, and much bigger of course.
All of these measurements are horizontal to the top of its sail, which may seem a little unfair as the other contenders for largest dinosaur did not have sails. however, recent studies have shown that it is likely that Spinosaurus would have reared up on its hind legs and used its claws,
Its arms are longer than any other dinosaur on this list, to defend itself. had it done so it would be much taller than any other carnivorous dinosaur.
It is thought that the claws would have been used in a similar way to an anteater, which also has huge claws, use them to dissuade hungry jaguars from making a meal of it. Slashing and cutting.
Fun Spinosaurus height facts
- At 15ft Spinosaurus would be about the same height as Stonehenge in England.
- Stacking 6 mini fridges, or 3 regular fridges on top of each other would be the same size as a Spinosaurus.
- As mentioned Spinosaurus was about as tall as a Giraffe
- A spinosaurus was about 2.5 times as tall as an NBA player ( like Lebron james)
- A spinosaurus was taller than 3 65 inch TVs standing on their ends.
How Heavy Was A Spinosaurus
The maximum weight of a Spinosaurus has most recently been estimated at 24000 to 41,800 lbs.
A spinosaurus was one of the heaviest meat eating dinosaurs known from the fossil record. Estimate are greater in range than for its height and length however. Spinosaurus, in a criticised study from 2007 were estimated to weigh between 24000 and a massive 41800 pounds.
Although the study has been criticised, mainly because the lower estimates make spinosaurus lighter than both giganotosaurus, T-Rex and Carcharodontosaurus most weight studies have received criticism. the various Weight estimates are listed below.
- 1926: Spinosaurus was estimated to weigh 12,000 lbs
- 1988: Spinosaurus was estimated to weigh 8000 lbs
- 2005: Spinosaurus was estimated to weigh 15400 – 19,800 Lbs. (crtisited and upscaled to 23400 – 3,400 lbs.
- 2007: Spinosaurus estimated to weigh between 24,000 and 41800 lbs.
The criticisms range from comparing it to heavier build and lighter build theropods, incorrectly scaling up when comparing to a suchomimus and incorrect head length measurements. However, even taking the average of all the estimates it was a carnivorous dinosaur weighting over 25,000 pounds or 13,000 kg and really is was likely to be much more massive than that.
Fun Spinosaurus Weight facts:
- If 40,000 pounds Spinosaurus would weigh as much as 10 White rhinos.
- or Spinosaurus could be 3 African elephants in weight
- If spinosaurus weighed 40,000 lbs. that is the same as about 6 blue whale tongues.
- Or spinosaurus weighed the same as about 30 cows.
- At 40,000 lbs Spinosaurus would weigh more than 10 cars.
How Long Were a Spinosaurus Arms?
Spinosaurus arms could be up to 6.5 ft long, almost as long as their hind limbs with sharp 6.5 claws at the end.
Although this doesn’t really add to the how big was a Spinosaurus discussion, it does add to the who would win in a fight discussion that is googled far more often than it should be, and may play a role in the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion movie ( more on that later)
Spinosaurus Forearms were the longest of all the largest predatory dinosaurs, they could be upto 6.5 feet long and were almost comparable to its hind limbs. Suggesting it may have walked on all four legs as well.
Despite recent thoughts they may have been on their way to evolving webbing or into flippers they were at that time incredibly well armed (haha) with massive claws on the end and much more functionality that other large theropod dinosaurs.
It is now thought as well as holding and ripping prey, as well as defense from attacks, they may have been used in hunting on land as well.
There was even a program that tried to simulate how strong a Spinosaurus arms could be in 2009 called “monsters resurrected” unfortunately we can not find the clip in Youtube, but here is an example below
Fun Spinosaurus Arm Facts:
- Spinosaurus arms were about the same length as Michael Jordan
- or about the same length as a queen size bed
- And Spinosaurus arms were 8 inches taller than the average refrigerator.
- At 6.5 feet Spinosaurus arms were as tall as a door frame
- or their arms were as long as an average Christmas tree.
How Long Were Spinosaurus Teeth?
Spinosaurus could have up to 5 inch long teeth in its mouth, though the average was 1-3 inches long.
Spinosaurus teeth were designed differently to other large carnivore dinosaurs. their diet was mainly fish and their teeth had evolved for grasping and stabbing rather than tearing and cutting like Giganotosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus and T-Rex.
However Spinosaurus still had teeth than could reach up to 5 inches long, though they did measure up to 12 inches when including the root. This is smaller compared to dinosaurs like Carcharodontosaurus with 8 inch teeth or the Tyrannosaur with 12 inch teeth.
Most spinosaurus teeth were between 1 and 3 inches and 4 inch plus teeth are considered rare. They are also one of the most common carnivore teeth to be sold as collectables as well – we have one!
Fun Spinosaurus teeth Facts:
- Spinosaurus teeth could be two-and-a-half times as tall as a Golf Tee
- Spinosaurus could be an inch shorter than a small pencil case
- Spinosaurus Teeth could be as long as a Child’s hand.
- or they could be as long as a can of soda
- Or Spinosaurus teeth could be about the same length as an bic pen
How Many Teeth Did Spinosaurus Have?
Spinosaurus could have up to 5 inch long teeth in its mouth, though the average was 1-3 inches long.
Spinosaurus could have up to 38 teeth in its top jaw and a similar number in its bottom jaw. Amounting to over 74 sharp pointed teeth. its mouth was more crocodilian than most other carnivorous dinosaurs and therefore longer.
this is compared to T-Rex having around 60, though bigger, teeth, Giganotosaurus having similar and Carcharodontosaurus having possibly 64 or so teeth around 8 inches long.
How Fast Could Spinosaurus Run?
Spinosaurus is thought to have been able to run at about 15 miles an hour on land, not bad for a dinosaur that lived in water.
Just before you get into this section we want to let you know that studies have, relatively, recently been published that suggest the top running speeds of these largest carnivores has been vastly overestimated. It used a T-Rex as the study looking at bones and the pressure on them at running speeds and it was suggested that at 20 miles an hour (or 32 miles an hour in Jurassic park!) that they would have shattered!
So keep that in mind with the following information.
Spinosaurus is estimated to have had a top running speed or about 17 miles an hour, or 28 Kph. Which when considering it was an aquatic predator is pretty impressive. It compares to other large predaotrs in the lsit below.
- Spinosaurus: 15 miles an hour
- T-Rex at 25 miles an hour (12 miles an hour from the new information highlighted above)
- the Carcharodontosaurus at 20 and the
- Giganotosaurus at 31.3 miles an hour.
However these figures come with the proviso at the top of the section. None of these dinosaurs would win any awards for being the fastest dinosaur ever!
Fun Spinosaurus Speed Facts:
- At 15 miles an hour Spinosaurus was 2.5 times faster than a crocodile
- Which means a spinosaurus was about 8 miles an hour slower than Usain Bolt.
- A Spinosaurus at 15 miles an hour was about the same speed as a bull.
- Which means Spinosaurus was about 50 miles an hour slower than a cheetah!
- And also means it was 3 miles an hour faster than a T-Rex (maybe)
How Big was Spinosaurus compared to Giganotosaurus, T Rex and Carcharodontosaurus
These four dinosaurs are considered the biggest carnivores ever to live on earth, and there is always adjusting of figures, stats and information. Although Spinosaurus is widely considered to be the biggest carnivore of all time lets see if that stacks up in the table below.
Table 1: Spinosaurus size compared to other large carnivores.
|Max length (ft)||59 ft||40 ft||43 ft||44 ft|
|Max height||18 ft||12-14 ft||16.6 ft||13-15 ft|
|max Weight||24-41,000 lbs.||19,500 lbs||17,600||16,000 lbs|
|Teeth length||5 inches||12 inches||8 inches||8 inches|
|Arm Length||6.5 ft||3 ft||4 ft||3.5ft|
|Max Speed||15 mph||12 mph||31mph…?||20 mph|
|Length of Name||11 letters||16 letters||14 letters||19 letters|
We felt we had to put in the length of name to let the carcharodontosaurus win one as we have just finished writing an article on it and felt it needed the love!
Was Giganotosaurus The biggest Carnivore the world has ever seen?
UPDATE MAY 2022: To be upfront we are writing this on a hunch, we have a feeling in the upcoming movie Jurassic World Dominion the trailers are steering us an intentional wrong direct to do a reveal at the end of the movie.
(The movie has not been released as of the time of writing this article )
There is a moment in the trailer where Alan Grant answers the question, possibly by Claire (we presume Ellie would know her Spinosaurus from her giganotosaurus) and, sorry Claire, we presume you wouldn’t.
What is that?Claire Deering
The biggest Carnivore the world has ever seen”Alan Grant
The trailer is heavily insinuating that it is the Giganotosaurus, however we have a hunch that actually the movie will show it to be a Spinosaurus. Our reasons are as follows
- Alan Grant has been much closer to a Spinosaurus than anyone else in the movie,
- He is a dinosaur expert,
- Unless in “this Jurassic World” the fossils are different, (possible as they find velociraptors suffering from gigantism in Montana, and apparently giganotosaurus survived an extra 30 million years to take down a T-Rex (again!) it is pretty much accepted, pretty much, that the largest known carnivore, and the largest carnivore the world has ever seen, was the Spinosaurus.
We may be wrong but it would kind of be a nice nod to the Spinosaurus which has disappeared from the Series since Jurassic Park 3, and is rumored to be in this movie.
*update! we were wrong, they missed a chance and were wrong actually, they used the giganotosaurus!
The video below…. this guy gets it.
So The Spinosaurus was truly a massive dinosaur, and in fact it was the biggest carnivore ever seen on Earth as the table and the information above clearly shows. There are arguments of if weight or length makes a dinosaur bigger, but at the moment it is likely winning in both categories of size so the argument is somewhat mute.
Until we find something bigger that is.
You can read more about the size of some of the iconic dinosaurs here on these pages
- What were the largest meat eating dinosaurs
- What were the largest armored dinosaurs
- what was the biggest dinosaur
- What were the biggest horned dinosaurs.
We have a series of articles on How Big Dinosaurs were and you can follow the links below to check out the size of other popular dinosaurs.
And if you wanted to know some of the smallest dinosaurs ever you can check out the article on the site as well. As although dinosaurs are often thought to be huge monstrous animals there were plenty of small ones as well and we take a look at them on the link above.
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.