Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous with Nizar Ibrahim

February 9, 2022 at 7:30 pm
June Swaner Gates Concert Hall


Spinosaurus was nearly lost to science before Nizar Ibrahim, a remarkable young palaeontologist, discovered this prehistoric giant. With amazing video recreating the lost world of the Cretaceous-era Sehara, Ibrahim tells the story of Spinosaurus’ discovery, loss, and rediscovery, and explain — other than its size — makes this ancient monster unique. 

German/Moroccan paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim, a postdoctoral scholar in vertebrate anatomy and paleontology at the University of Chicago, scours the deserts of North Africa for clues to life in the Cretaceous period, when the area was a large river system teeming with a profusion of diverse life. In addition to unearthing many huge dinosaur bones, he has discovered fossil footprints and a new species of flying reptile with an 18-foot wingspan that lived 95 million years ago. 

Ibrahim’s remarkable story and the findings of an international team of scientists were published in the journal Science and as a cover story for National Geographic magazine. What has been unveiled appears to be the first truly semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus 

In 2014, Ibrahim was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and in 2015, he was named a TED fellow, the first paleontologist in the history of the program. His upcoming paper describing the ecosystem of what is now Morocco’s Sahara Desert in the mid-Cretaceous period promises to be a milestone, providing the most detailed account of the diversity, paleoecology, and geologic context of fossil vertebrates from North Africa. 

Feature image Spinosaurus River Giants by Davide Bonadonna.

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Website      TED Ed Video   Twitter     Instagram     #NatGeoLive

This program is made possible in part by:

The Denver PostPorter Adventist Hospital Centura HealthNational Endowment for the Arts