|1st Species||Baryonyx walkeri|
|Time Range||130-125 mya|
|Location||United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal|
|Name Meaning||Heavy claw|
|Physical Dimensions||8.6 meters long|
Baryonyx is a spinosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. It was named in 1986 by Alan J. Charig and Angela C. Milner. It was a unique dinosaur, as it was one of the first known dinosaurs to have adapted to a piscivorous diet.
Baryonyx was a strange theropod; like all other theropods, it had a semi-bulky body, moderately long legs, and a long tail. However, it also had a few unique traits, such as webbed feet, moderately long arms with 3, long-clawed fingers on each hand, a moderately long neck, and a long head with large, notched jaws and small, conical teeth. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.
Baryonyx was a predator, preying on sharks, gars, rays, small crocodylomorphs, small ornithischians, and smaller theropods. Its conical teeth were used for getting a hold of struggling prey while its large claws were used for ripping them apart, and a notch in its upper jaw would have helped in capturing them as well.
Unlike well-known carnivorous theropods like Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus, Baryonyx was not built for a lifestyle of chasing down and tackling large prey, as its head was too thin, its jaws were too shallow, and its teeth did not have notable serrations; instead, it relied on the water for food, swimming around in the shallow lakes and rivers in search of prey (similarly to a crocodile) before grabbing them with its notched, toothy jaws and either swallowing them head first or using its large, curved claws to slice them into smaller, more digestible chunks of flesh (depending on how big the prey was). This was confirmed by the discovery of stomach contents in one Baryonyx specimen, which showed that its last meal had been a lepisosteiform fish; however, another specimen had preserved the bones of a young Iguanodon in its stomach, which adds on to the fact that piscivorous animals' diets are far from static. Another thing to note about Baryonyx is that its jaws were capable of withstanding lots of mechanical stress (even more so than its relative Spinosaurus), which allowed it to get a hold of the most spastic fish without breaking its own snout in the process. As well as this, while the theropod was hunting, pressure sensors on the tip of its sensitive snout would have been used to detect the movements of aquatic prey even when it wasn't able to see them, allowing it to locate them much more easily; other prehistoric reptiles which had a sensitive snout just for that function include the large plesiosaur Pliosaurus as well as fellow spinosaurid Spinosaurus, and other reptiles which just had a sensitive snout in general included the Early Cretaceous carcharodontosaur Neovenator (which lived alongside Baryonyx) and the Late Cretaceous tyrannosaur Daspletosaurus.
In popular cultureEdit
Baryonyx was first introduced to the public in the 2009 adventure movie Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, where it serves as the main antagonist of the movie; it should be noted that this particular Baryonyx was oversized to be bigger than even a Tyrannosaurus, and acted almost exactly like the Spinosaurus from the 2001 sci-fi movie Jurassic Park III. Since then, it has seen a respectable rise in popularity, and has appeared in many games about dinosaurs. Since its portrayal in Ice Age, Baryonyx's biggest public appearance was in the 2018 science fiction movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, where it was shown lurking in the sewers of the abandoned park, and attacking anyone who encroached on its whereabouts; however, its portrayal in the film has been decried by many people for its unsightly design, as well as the fact that it could take a drop of searing hot lava to the face and continue going after its foes.