Dinosaurs have always been a topic that inspires thoughts of which was the biggest and the best. The two top contenders in any dino fight would have to be the T-Rex and Spinosaurus because they are both known for their ferocity and endless hunger. The Jurassic Park series made this even more of a question when the Spinosaurus was victorious. But in all reality, who would win in the battle between T-Rex vs. Spinosaurus?
Experts around the world all agree that the T-Rex would kill the Spinosaurus nearly every time. The T-Rex was called the “king” of the dinosaurs for a reason. We will take a look at the comparisons, differences and similarities between these two Apex Predators in the article below.
The movies have definitely muddied up the waters when it comes to the outcome of these two carnivores. It has always been a common misconception that the bigger something is, the stronger it is, and the more likely it is to win against any opponent. Let’s dive deeper into this subject and find out why that is simply not the case.
Head-To-Head: T-Rex vs. Spinosaurus
To be able to understand the battle mechanics of this match up you would have to understand the specifics of each dinosaur. It may be hard to understand why the T-Rex would prevail the majority of the time.
Meet The King of The Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex)
The T-Rex has long been known as the king of the dinosaurs. They were the most fierce hunters of the dinosaur era, taking on any rival or food source that had the misfortune of crossing their paths. What the movies may have gotten correct about the T-Rex is that they were the top dogs during their time.
- Lived during the upper Cretaceous Period (65 million years ago)
- The primary food sources were larger herbivore dinosaurs
- Lived in the forests of the western parts of North America
- Used its tail for balance
- It could move up to 12 mph
- Had an amazingly high sense of smell
- They had life spans of around 28 years
- 12 inch longer serrated teeth.
- Possibly the heaviest predatory dinosaur.
Meet The Runner Up: Spinosaurus
The Spinosaurus was not among the most famous of dinosaurs until it debuted on the big screen. The villain it portrayed was actually far from what the dinosaur truly was. It was a carnivore that ate other dinosaurs, but not like the might T-Rex.
- Lived during the mid-Cretaceous Period (95 million years ago)
- Its primary food sources were fish and smaller plant-eating dinosaurs.
- Lived in North Africa’s Sahara region
- Spent most of its life in the water
- It could move up to 15 mph on the land, 9km in the water
- They had life spans of about 30 years ( it is thought)
- Famous for its large Sail on its back
- Probably the tallest and longest predatory dinosaur.
The Spinosaurus is the only land-capable dinosaur to spend its life in the water, fishing for food. The area they lived in at that time was covered in water. Rivers, streams, and lakes made it an ideal place for the Spinosaurus to live and thrive.
We have an infographic you can use and download here if it helps see the differences between the t Rex and the Spinosaurus.
The Comparison: T-Rex vs. Spinosaurus
You should understand the fundamental differences between the Tyrannosaurus and the Spinosaurus. In reality, a battle between these two dinosaurs would not have been possible because they lived in different time periods and on different continents.
That is not the point of the question, of course. Let’s take a look at a side-by-side comparison of the fighting skills of each carnivore so you can have a better idea of why the T-Rex is the king.
The table below gives you the information in bite sized form and we go into a little more detail on the differences between them below this to explain more.
|Serrated for ripping meat and inflicting wounds. Up to 12 inches long at their longest with the root
|Conical teeth for fishing and piercing also about 12 inches at their longest with the root.
|49 – 53 (possibly) feet
|13-15 ft feet
|13-15 ft to head and 18ft to sail
|16,000 20,000 plus pounds
|12 mph on two legs
|15 mph on two and occasionally 4 legs
|Two Clawed relatively short but stocky and strong arms
|Two longer, more useful and 3 clawed arms for slashing and gripping.
|Multiple almost complete skeletons discovered. Up to 85% complete.
|Only Partial remains ( loads of teeth!) Some fossils destroyed.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Differences
We highlight some of the differences between these two apex predators in the following section in a little more detail. However with most of the significant spinosaurus remains being destroyed in the Second World War some of these details are based more on scientific guesstimations rather than hard facts. Until we find more fossils this is the best we can go on.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Size
The Spinosaurus definitely had the size advantage in the comparison between the two. If you regard size and length or height. At potentially up to 49 feet long the Spinosaurus was 6-9 feet longer than the tyrannosaur.
However, more recent research has suggested that while longer, and taller, it was not as massive as the T Rex. With the Spinosaurus being (again heavily estimated) at up to 7 tons ( 15000 lbs or 7000 kg) and the T Rex at between 8 to 10 tons ( 17000 lbs – 20,000lbs plus)
Size is not all that matters in a fight, though and while taller can be an advantage, so can heavier.
If we look at this for the T Rex Vs. Spinosaurus fight then it is a likely tie, btu if really forced then the heavier dinosaur would get the win and that according to research is the tyrannosaurus Rex.
The T-Rex could easily snap the bones of the Spinosaurus, which is the opposite of what the movies have shown.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Intelligence
The intelligence of the T-Rex is one of its significant advantages over its prey. When you look at the size of the brain compared to the size of the body, you will see that the brains of a dinosaur are small in comparison to many modern day animals, however the T Rex, for a dinosaur, had a larger brain than most other dinosaurs,
Which you can read more about here on the site. and certainly was thought to be larger than the Spinosaurus which lived 30 million years earlier.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: When and where they lived.
As we mention below the two dinosaurs were separated by around 30 million years and by two different continents. Spinosaurus lived about 110 million years ago and T Rex was alive up until the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Spinosaurus also lived in what is now Africa and T Rex lived in What is now North America.
Both also lived in different environments, Spinosaurus is now thought to have been Semi Aquatic as a minimum and lived at least some of the time in water. T Rex was purely a land predator that while able to swim would have done so to move from place to place rather than for hunting.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Teeth
These two dinosaurs had specialized teeth suited to their environment and what they hunted. T Rex Teeth were large and serrated and perfected suited to inflict massive wounds on large prey. They were coupled with a massive bite force (more on that later).
Spinosaurus teeth, and for that matter its head, was much more similar to a crocodile or alligator, with sharp teeth suited for grabbing and piercing its prey. These teeth could be up to 12 inches long with the root, and like the T Rex these would have had an exposed length of about 5 to 6 inches.
In terms of an actual fight between the two the Tyrannosaurus with its bite and cutting ability would be the clearly winner here, The spinosaurus teeth would manage to hold and grip the T Rex, and the arms could certainly do some damage but with teeth alone its a win for the T Rex.
Tyrannosaurus Vs. Spinosaurus: Arms
It is a long standing joke that the T-Rex had short arms, but these should not be discounted so readily. Although they were certainly short when compared to both its body size and the Spinosaurus, they were thought to be remarkably strong and actually would have been able to help it stand and to claw prey when it was close.
However, the clear winner in the arm category is the Spinosaurus. We think, the forearms of a Spinosaurus have not been found, and their length and size has been judged to be large by looking at close cousins like suchomimus and Baryonyx.
If they were a similar size comparison to these dinosaurs then they would have been useful to grasp as its mouth and teeth ripped its prey. However they would have also doubled as legs when it was n lands and be used for movement.
T-Rex Vs. Spinosaurus: Tail
Since Spinosaurus has been generally accepted as a aquatic dinosaur the general consensus regarding the structure of its tail has also changed. It is now thought to have been more suited for swimming more like a crocodiles, fossils have been found over 4 metres in length.
T Rex had a much more powerful and heavy set tail designed to counter balance its huge skull and jaws. it would have been packed with muscles and help mostly horizontally from the body.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Bite Force
There Is only one winner when it comes to the strength of jaws and not just between the spinosaurus and the T Rex. In fact among land animals one of these dinosaurs ahs the strongest bite of any land animal.
The T Rex is the winner here with around 8000 lbs of bite force per square inch which is double a modern day crocodile.
The spinosaurus as well as having a mouth that looks a little like a Nile Crocodile actually had a similar bite force of about 4200 lbs per square inch. Which is very powerful but not compared to the T-Rex as we highlighted above.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Speed and Movement
Although movies have in the past inaccurately described the T-Rex as moving up to 30 miles an hour, this is very unlikely. The weight of the Tyrannosaurus Rex moving at this speed would have caused problems, even bone shattering problems, with legs even as large as it possessed.
More likely the T-Rex would have had a top speed of about 12 miles an hour and would have worn out its prey after an ambush rather than rely on speed.
Spinosaurus is thought to be somewhat similar on land, especially after it is now thought to be more aquatic than land based. Top speed it may have been able to run at around 15 miles an hour, but swim at around 9 km per hour which for a large dinosaur is pretty fast!
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Body Structure
Both dinosaurs were theropods and would walk on two legs, although the Spinosaurus would have been probably likely to walk on its four limbs as well. However despite plenty of similarities there is no mistaking one for the other.
Spinosaurus had a huge up to 1.6 metre long sail on its back which T Rex didn’t and it is now thought to be much more slender than first thought. T-Rex was much bulkier, and although shorter in length than the Spinosaurus is thought to be heavier.
Their heads, skulls and jaws were also very different, and specialized, with Spinosaurus having a long thinner ( relatively) set of jaws when compared to a T Rex. As we mentioned above the Spinosaurus had longer and more functional arms as well.
T-Rex Vs. Spinosaurus: What they ate
While both dinosaurs were Apex predators ( top of the food chain) They would have had a different choice of prey. Spinosaurus being an aquatic dinosaur would have fished, either in or next to the water where it would use its pointy teeth to spear fish and possibly ambush other dinosaurs next to the water.
Tyrannosaurus preyed on larger herbivore dinosaurs ( like triceratops) and needed to inflict heavy wounds quickly with its huge bite and jaws. it would have likely ambushed these dinosaurs from cover, or injure them and follow them till they collapsed where they could be finished off more safely.
Tyrannosaurs Vs. Spinosaurus: Fossils
One of the largest differences between Tyrannosaurus and Spinosaurus is the accessibility of fossil evidence. Despite being one of the largest, if not the largest, predatory dinosaurs on Earth Spinosaurus is known from limited remains.
These reaminas were found in Egypt in 1912 and 1934. However, of the 6 partial species found some were destroyed in the Second World war. It is from these partial remains that we know and estimate most of the measurements for Spinosaurus.
However T-Rex is known from much more complete specimens, including almost full skeletons of up to 85% complete. There are other almost complete specimens discovered as well so estimates for this dinosaurs size are much more accurate, or at the very least provable.
Did T Rex and Spinosaurus ever fight?
Outside of the Jurassic Park World ( specifically Jurassic Park 3) these two dinosaurs fighting ability would never have been put to the test. Despite people often thinking all dinosaurs were alive at the same time and in the same area they actually spanned both about 180 million years and across all the continents at the time.
Dinosaurs were actually alive when there were fossils of dinosaurs, and to make it clear Dinosaurs like T Rex are actually closer to an Iphone than they were to dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus!
Spinosaurus, although not as long as the Stegosaurus, was about 30 to 40 million years before the tyrannosaurus Rex and lived in what is now Morocco. While T Rex live in North America (with some relatives in Asia) about 66 million years ago.
In fact a T Rex ancestor was actually pretty small when Spinosaurus walked the earth, with dinosaurs like Moros Intrepidus being alive then not the T Rex as we know it.
So T Rex Vs Spinosaurus is a fight that never happened. However there were other large predators that did compete with Spinosaurus like carcharodontosaurus (second longest dinosaur name by the way!) which lived at around the same time and in the same area!
We have a huge selection or articles to answer the common and some less common questions about the Tyrannosaurus Rex here on the site and to make it easier to access we have them in the table below.
The movies are why most people think the T-Rex would fall to the Spinosaurus in a fight. The only way this would happen is if the Spinosaurus rushed out of the water in a surprise attack or if they got a lucky shot in with their arms that were usable weapons.
But still, in all reality, the T-rex would not even find the Spinosaurus to be much of a challenge. The only problem the T-Rex would encounter is that the Spinosaurus would try to run into the water, which is not where the T-Rex likes to be.
The Rex can wade through shallow water and probably could even keep up with the Spino, but in its natural environment, the water was not something that the Rex would ever have to contend with.
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.