Baryonyx's head Baryonyx was a large Early Cretaceous theropod. Its skull was long and narrow like a crocodile’s, with jaws lined with narrow, pointed and finely serrated teeth. Viewed from above, its snout was shaped like a long spoon. Having nostrils close to its eyes allowed it to breathe while being almost completely submerged. It had a long, straight neck with its head held low. Its muscular arms had hooked thumb-claws, each 25 centimetres (10 inches) long, on each hand. With its neck and head held low, Baryonyx walked on its long hindlegs, its stiff tail giving it balance.
Baryonyx's unusual features suggested to palaeontologists that the dinosaur may have led an aquatic lifestyle, feeding mainly on fish. It probably waded into rivers and hooked fish out of the water with its long thumb-claws—in the same way a modern grizzly bear snatches salmon today. On other occasions, it may have submerged its body in the river, eyes and nostrils just above the water's surface, ready to seize passing fish in its crocodile-like jaws.
The name Baryonyx means “heavy claw”, after its huge thumb-claws.
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