Something different: Spinosaurus and Science!

I decided to squeeze a tiny project in while working on a bigger one, because of this. Apparently, Spinosaurus aegypticus of Jurassic Park fame looked entirely different to what we thought. And was not in the T. rex neck snapping business at all.

What follows it a lot of science stuff. Because I like science, I like dinosaurs, and I like dinosaur science enough, I spontaneously published an eBook in it. Like 12-years-in-the-making spontaneous. Here’s why:

Spinosaurids are a group of dinosaurs that include Spinosaurus as well as one of England’s most iconic dinosaurs, Baryonyx. They are a very unusual group of theropod dinosaurs apparently specialized in eating fish, sporting crocodile-like skulls and a large claw on each of their thumbs. The use of that claw has been a constant topic of debate among paleontologists, though it is most often depicted as a tool for catching fish the way grizzlies do.

I’ve been predicting more evidence to show up for spinosaurids to be aquatic for more than a decade now and indeed, such evidence has arisen in the meantime, Ibrahim’s (et al.) work just being another stepping stone in that pathway towards accepting the fact that spinosaurids were at the very least amphibious, if not fully aquatic.

And here’s the important part about this and why I decided to publish now: Since about 2000 I’ve been thinking the best use for its claw is not predation, but locomotion. The claw is almost useless for catching fish imho, what with spinosaurid arms still being very short despite being longer and stronger than those of other giant theropods. I think the claw was used to pull the dinosaurs through the water by anchoring it in the ground of rivers and lakes and then pulling on this anchor to move the entire animal forward. This gave spinosaurids a unique method of underwater locomotion, one hard to detect by potential prey because of how little movement is involved.

When the new Spinosaurus research was published I felt it the right point to push out this publication that had been brewing in the background for the last twelve years. I’ve made the point every now and then on mailing lists and boards, but not being a paleontologist I felt I did not have the means to research this topic sufficiently to be published in a peer-reviewed magazine. Nevertheless, I wanted to get the idea out, for actual paleontologist to here about it and maybe check its validity with their access to actual material and their additional knowledge of animal anatomy. So I did this.

Something I did with this that is rarely done in papers published online is that I numbered the paragraphs to make it easier to quote this ebook. It’s another thing I have wanted to establish for a long time now and I while go into greater detail about my ideas for publishing scientific ebooks a a later point.

As for now, I did this and made my english language platform the most inconsistent to be found anywhere in the indie publishing scene. Because screw you, marketing gurus.
However, this book has me as Thomas R. Diehl whereas my fiction books will always have my name as Thomas Diehl. So there you go, an easy way to distinguish between my fiction and non-fiction publications (I do the same for my German books).

You may note the cover is very different to Introduction. That is, again, done to mark it as an entirely different thing from my fiction. You will not find this kind of cover on my fiction ever. The other way round, you will also never find a cover looking anything like my fiction in my science. The cover image shows the claw of Baryonyx, photographed by Thesupermat at Wikimedia

So far it is only published on inktera, a shop I never even heard of before. Big A is taking its time today, it seems. Links on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and Apple to follow later on my books page:
iBooks
inktera/Page Foundry
Kobo
Scribd