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Spinosaurus vs. Tyrannosaurus: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 4, 2023
"Spinosaurus, a semi-aquatic dinosaur with a sail-like spine, lived in Cretaceous Africa. Tyrannosaurus, a bipedal carnivore with massive jaws, roamed late Cretaceous North America."

Key Differences

"Spinosaurus," a dinosaur known for its distinctive spinal sail, likely ate fish, indicating a semi-aquatic lifestyle. In contrast, "Tyrannosaurus," recognizable by its massive skull and sharp teeth, was likely an apex land predator.
"Spinosaurus" is believed to have walked on all fours due to its long forelimbs, unlike the "Tyrannosaurus," which was distinctly bipedal and balanced by a heavy tail.
The physical habitat of the "Spinosaurus" included riverbanks of prehistoric North Africa, facilitating its fish-based diet. "Tyrannosaurus," however, thrived in various environments across western North America, hunting large herbivorous dinosaurs.
"Spinosaurus" possessed a series of elongated neural spines, forming a sail-like structure on its back, perhaps for thermoregulation or display. "Tyrannosaurus" lacked such a feature, but had one of the largest bite forces among all terrestrial animals.
Fossil records suggest the "Spinosaurus" was among the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs, potentially longer and heavier than the "Tyrannosaurus," which was, however, more robustly built and had a broader skull.

Comparison Chart


Semi-aquatic, near water
Terrestrial, various environments

Physical Characteristic

Sail-like spine, quadrupedal
Massive skull, bipedal


Mainly fish
Large dinosaurs, scavenging


Cretaceous Africa
Late Cretaceous North America

Function of Unique Feature

Powerful bite force

Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Definitions


Semi-aquatic dinosaur
The Spinosaurus was adept at swimming, hunting for fish in ancient rivers.


North American dinosaur
The Tyrannosaurus is a well-known dinosaur from western North America.


Distinctive sail-backed
The Spinosaurus is easily identified by the unique sail on its back.


Apex predator
The Tyrannosaurus was an apex predator at the top of the food chain.


Cretaceous period
The Spinosaurus lived during the Cretaceous period, around 95 million years ago.


Bipedal carnivore
The Tyrannosaurus walked on two legs, making it a bipedal creature.


Large carnivore
As a carnivore, Spinosaurus was one of the largest predatory dinosaurs.


Giant skull
The massive skull of the Tyrannosaurus housed some of the largest teeth of any known land predator.


African dinosaur
Fossils of Spinosaurus have been predominantly found in what is now North Africa.


Late Cretaceous
Tyrannosaurus rex lived in the Late Cretaceous period, around 68 to 66 million years ago.


A very large carnivorous theropod dinosaur of the genus Spinosaurus of the Cretaceous Period, characterized by a long narrow snout and long spines on the back that may have formed a sail-like structure.


Any of various tyrannosaurid dinosaurs of the genus Tyrannosaurus, having a large head and teeth and short forelimbs, and including T. rex and possibly some other species. Also called tyrannosaur.


A large, extinct, carnivorous dinosaur of genus Spinosaurus, with a long snout like that of a crocodile and with a sail on its back. It is considered to be the largest Theropod dinosaur.


See T. rex.


A large carnivorous dinosaur, of the genus Tyrannosaurus, found in North America during the late Cretaceous period.


Large carnivorous bipedal dinosaur having enormous teeth with knifelike serrations; may have been a scavenger rather than an active predator; later Cretaceous period in North America


What did Spinosaurus eat?

Likely fish and other aquatic prey.

Was Tyrannosaurus a scavenger?

There's debate, but it likely scavenged and hunted.

How big was Tyrannosaurus's brain?

Large for a dinosaur, suggesting it was relatively intelligent.

Did Tyrannosaurus have feathers?

Some evidence suggests it had feather-like structures, at least as juveniles.

Was Spinosaurus bigger than Tyrannosaurus?

In length, likely, but not necessarily in mass.

Could Spinosaurus swim?

Yes, it's believed to have been semi-aquatic.

How strong was a Tyrannosaurus's bite?

Extremely strong, among the most powerful in the animal kingdom.

How tall was the sail on Spinosaurus?

Estimates suggest about 5.4 to 5.9 feet tall.

How fast could Tyrannosaurus run?

Estimates vary, with upper limits around 25 mph.

Did Spinosaurus walk on two legs?

Recent evidence suggests it was primarily quadrupedal.

Did Spinosaurus have enemies?

It likely faced threats from other large predators and environmental factors.

Where have Spinosaurus fossils been found?

Primarily in North Africa.

Were Tyrannosaurus and Spinosaurus contemporaries?

No, they lived in different times and regions.

How long was Spinosaurus?

Possibly up to 59 feet, though estimates vary.

How strong were Tyrannosaurus's arms?

They were small but may have been quite strong.

Could Spinosaurus regulate its body temperature?

The sail may have helped with thermoregulation.

How did Tyrannosaurus reproduce?

It laid eggs, like other dinosaurs.

What colors were Tyrannosaurus?

Unknown, as soft tissues preserving color are rarely fossilized.

Could Tyrannosaurus see well?

Yes, it likely had excellent vision.

Was Spinosaurus the largest carnivorous dinosaur?

It's among the largest known, but exact rankings are debated.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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