Essay by Christian Hinesley (Teacher: Perry Fishbaugh)
Dinosaurs; we all know what they are, but do we ever stop to think about their amazing features? The Acrocanthosaurus was just one of these amazing creatures that roamed the earth ages ago.
What was this strange beast like? Where and when was it discovered? These questions shall be answered.
The 1950s, an age of beautiful cars, of modernization, and of dinosaur discoveries. In the early 50s, two paleontologists by the names of J. Willis Stoval, and Wann Langston, found a set of bones in Oklahoma. After removing them to a museum, they realized they had discovered a new kind of dinosaur. The Acrocanthosaurus had been found.
Over the next few decades or so, more bones were found. Many were pulled out of the earth in Oklahoma, including the most complete fossil in 1990. It contained the only complete forelimb and skull of all the fossils found.
Various other bones were found in places such as Texas and Wyoming, where a pelvis, jawbone, and femur were found. Some teeth from the upper jaws were found in Arizona and Maryland. Other bones have been found throughout the United States. Thanks to these fossil discoveries, we now know what the Acrocanthosaurus looks like.
Acrocanthosaurus is the third-largest theropod, meat-eating dinosaur, we know of in existence. Growing up to 38 feet from head to tail and weighing 5 to 7 tons, these dinosaurs were larger than an Indian elephant. The skull alone was over four feet long.
On the skull, in front of the eye cavities, were some extraordinarily large holes. The purpose for these is thought to be weight reduction, which makes sense when you have a head longer than a yardstick. The jaws were quite formidable, with 19 monstrous teeth per side.
The most distinct characteristic of the Ancrocanthosaurus was its large neural spines. Located on the vertebrae of its neck, back, and tail, they formed a thick ridge of spines. Although the purpose for these is not known, suggestions include that they were for temperature control or used to attract a mate.
The large tail was used as a counterbalance for the massive head, so the center of gravity was over the dinosaur’s hips. Like other carnivorous theropods, their short, stubby forelimbs hung from their chest and were of no use for walking. In fact, their use has widely been debated for some time.
These beasts truly were an amazing creation. Because we do not know much about them, it is easy to speculate on quite a few things. While it is obvious they were created by a very intelligent and creative designer, the fiction surrounding their behavior is almost as numerous as the facts.
Because of the rather small size of their feet compared to other theropods, scientists think the habitat of the Acrocanthosaurus would have been quite dry, otherwise, it would be difficult for them to walk on wet spongy ground very well. We have no way of knowing where they actually lived, although fossils have been found in dry places.
Its diet is thought to have consisted of plant-eating dinosaurs that would have been around the same size as the Acrothosaurus or a little smaller. Some scientists state that this theropod was not a fast runner due to the size of its femurs, which are quite large compared to other bones.
Unfortunately, these things can only be speculated on due to the fact that we have no way of finding out these details from living specimens. This of course has only scratched the surface when it comes to the speculation about the Acrocanthosaurus.
The Acrocanthosaurus truly is a marvel. When we stop to think about all the amazing dinosaurs that have been found, the animals that live today, and the everyday things we take for granted, it is easy to see our wondrous Creator behind it all. We truly were created by a vastly intelligent and creative Designer.
Thoughtco: 10 Facts About Acrocanthosaurus
Christian Hinesley lives in the Bridger mountains near Bozeman MT. He enjoys watchmaking, photography, and being outside in God’s wonderful creation.