Baryonyx (Heavy Claw) is a large, carnivorous dinosaur discovered in clay pits just south of Dorking, England. It is known from a single specimen, and apparently ate fish because remains of its last meal were discovered fossilised in its ribcage. It lived in the Barremian period of Early Cretaceous, around 125 million years ago.
Baryonyx was about 8.5–9 feet tall,9.5m long and weighed in the region of 1,700–2700 kg. However, analysis of the bones suggests that the most complete specimen was not yet fully grown, so Baryonyx may have grown even larger.
Baryonyx had a large claw on the thumb of each hand, which measured about 25 centimetres (9.8 in) in a straight line from tip to base. Its long neck was not as strongly S-curved as in many other theropods. The skull was set at an acute angle, not the 90° angle common in similar dinosaurs. The long jaws were distinctly crocodilian and had 96 teeth, about twice as many as Tyrannosaurus . 64 of the teeth were placed in the lower jaw (mandible), and 32 large ones in the upper (maxilla). The teeth had slight keels on their leading and posterior sides, with fine serrations (7 per 1 millimetre (0.039 in)). There was a knob-like protuberance on the nasal bones. The upper jaw had a sharp angle near the snout, a feature seen in crocodiles that helps to prevent prey from escaping. A similar feature is also seen in shrikes.During the early Cretaceous, Wealden Lake covered the majority of what is now northern Europe. Alluvial plains and deltas spread from the uplands surrounding the area where London now stands and eventually ran into this great lake. Baryonyx was discovered in these former deltas. In January 1983, an amateur fossil hunter named William Walker came across an enormous claw sticking out of the side of a clay pit - Smokejacks Pit at Wallis Wood, Ockley near Dorking in Surrey (United Kingdom). He received some help in retrieving the claw and several other fossil bones from the site. Subsequently he contacted the Natural History Museum in London about his find. The skeleton was fortunately found to be in a relatively intact state and was excavated by a team led by Alan J. Charig and Angela C. Milner of the Natural History Museum. They published their description of the type species, B. walkeri, in 1986, and named it after Walker. The skeleton can now be seen mounted at the Natural History Museum in London. About 70% of the skeleton was recovered including the skull, enabling paleontologists to make numerous deductions about Baryonyx from just this first specimen. Some years after the initial discovery in England, a partial skull of Baryonyx was found in the Sala de los Infantes deposit of Burgos Province, Spain. Some of the famous and abundant dinosaur fossil tracks of La Rioja, near Burgos, have been identified as tracks of Baryonyx or another theropod genus very similar to it. Two more claws have been found in the Niger Republic in West Africa, and another in 1996 on the Isle of Wight. In December 1997, a store of old fossils in the Isle of Wight Museum yielded a forearm of a Baryonyx. These remains had apparently been unearthed decades earlier on the southwest coast of the island, and had sat unclassified in a box in Carisbrooke Castle since that time. Jaw fragments and teeth from Portugal, originally thought to belong to Suchosaurus girardi, were later identified as Baryonyx walkeri by paleontologist Eric Buffetaut.
In The Media
Rudy, the main antagonist in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, is an albino Baryonyx.
Baryonyx makes a cameo appearance in the first episode of Planet Dinosaur, showing on how spinosaurids may have eaten other prey rather than fish, as showing part of a juvenile Iguanodon inside the ribcage of Baryonyx.
Baryonyx is mentioned in Jurassic Park 3 as the survivors of the plane crash (caused by a Spinosaurus) try to figure out what type of dinosaur that chased them was. Baryonyx was also meant to appear in the film until Baryonyx officially first appears in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Baryonyx makes a brief cameo in the third episode of Monsters Resurrected, considered a close relative of Spinosaurus.
Baryonyx also appears in Dino Stampede.