Visitors Cast their Votes in Battle of the Giant Killers (T. rex versus Spinosaurus)
Visitors to the Liverpool World Museum have been able to participate in a unique study conducted by members of the Everything Dinosaur team, aimed at deciding whether T. rex or Spinosaurus was the most dangerous, large, meat-eating dinosaur of the Late Cretaceous.
Everything Dinosaur staff have been conducting a series of weekend presentations, all part of the exciting dinosaur themed activities currently taking place at the museum to coincide with the “Age of the Dinosaur” exhibition which is just one of the many dinosaur themed attractions at this city centre location.
Meet a Baby Iguanodon at the Liverpool World Museum
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
In one of the presentations, entitled “Battle of the Giant Killers”, audiences are asked to vote on who would win in a fight between a Spinosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex. With lots of young dinosaur fans and their mums and dads sitting down to watch the recent BBC television series “Planet Dinosaur”, Spinosaurus has once again risen to prominence. Spinosaurus appears in the first episode of this series – “Lost World” and it is described as the biggest ever land predator, but could it win a fight with a T. rex? In a re-run of the Jurassic Park III encounter, Everything Dinosaur’s experts presented the fossil evidence relating to Spinosaurus (Spinosaurus aegyptiacus and nomen dubium S. maroccansus) and compared/contrasted the fossil material with what has been discovered about “the King of the Tyrant Lizards”.
Battle of the Killer Giants!
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
The team members provided a “tale of the tape” so visitors could weigh up the contenders and vote on who might win an imaginary fight between these large theropods separated by some thirty million years of evolution (and a few thousand miles to boot). The audience at each show, which took place in the museum’s Treasure House theatre, was then asked to cast their vote based on this information and for the rest of the show the actual fossil evidence was explored with the help of lots of keen volunteers and budding young palaeontologists.
Stromer’s story and the Egyptian discoveries, lost fossils, Moroccan finds, the Kem Kem Formation – all these areas and more were discussed in the fifty minute show. There were even a couple of tigers thrown in for good measure.
After all the teeth, claws, fossil bones, brain endocasts etc. had been thoroughly explored, each theatre audience was asked to vote again to see if they had altered their view based on an understanding of the actual fossil evidence.
A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:
“Such a confrontation between these two dinosaurs, never happened, however, these two different theropods give us the opportunity to introduce some important scientific concepts to members of the public. There is no doubt that the big predators capture the public’s imagination and if we can use the likes of T. rex and Spinosaurus to inform and educate then this has to be a good thing.”
The Result of the Initial Vote
Graph credit: Everything Dinosaur
The initial vote was very much in favour of “Spine Lizard” coming out on top in an encounter between these super heavyweights. Sixty-one percent of the audience attending the Everything Dinosaur shows thought that Spinosaurus would win. This is not entirely surprising given this particular dinosaurs high profile at the moment after the popular BBC television series.
However, once the fossil data was explored the view of the audience changed dramatically. By the end of each presentation, with all the available evidence presented; the vote swung dramatically in favour of the “King of the Tyrant Lizards”. Interestingly, the second vote cumulatively, and after rounding was a mirror image of the first vote.
The Result of the Second Vote – After the Evidence
Graph Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Whether it was the T. rex jaws, the differences in the teeth, or perhaps the evidence to suggest that Spinosaurs were specialised fish eaters, it seems that there was a big swing towards the T. rex. This might be explained by the paucity of the Spinosaurus fossil record compared to the tyrannosaurs, certainly, the loss of the Egyptian material (holotype) prevents firm conclusions being drawn regarding the spinosaurs in North Africa. This will probably change as more fossils are discovered.
For further information on Liverpool World Museum’s dinosaur themed events and activities, visit the Museum’s website.
However, for the time being it looks like based on the fossil evidence as presented by Everything Dinosaur, T. rex holds sway. Now all we need to do is to introduce the likes of Saurophaganax, Carcharodontosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus and Mapusaurus into the fray. Perhaps another time…