"Irritating one"
8 m (26 ft)
2.2-3.3 tons
100,000,000 B.C.
Ceará, Brazil
Irritator challengeri
There is a thriving trade for fake or
"repaired" fossils in every country with rich fossil deposits from China to Brazil. The Santana Formation in eastern Brazil has yielded the fossils of numerous pterosaurs from the mid-Cretaceous, many of them with strange-shaped skulls. A supposed skull of one of these flying reptiles was unearthed by local villagers and fixed to make the skull look longer. Scientists eventually discovered this fraud and to express their annoyance at it named the skull's owner Irritator. Irritator was a comparatively small spinosaur with a bony crest along its snout extending over its eyes. While we do not yet know if it had a sail on its back, scientists believe it was more closely related to the high-spined Spinosaurus than the lower-spined Suchomimus and Baryonyx due its similar teeth. The presence of spinosaur remains in a fossil bed littered with those of pterosaurs suggests that Irritator and its relatives fed on them, in addition to fish and dinosaurs. The discovery of a pterosaur with a spinosaur tooth embedded in it supports this conjecture.