Detroit Mercy professor’s work featured on cover of National Geographic

Nizar Ibrahim works in his lab.

The October issue of National Geographic features the cover story “Reimagining Dinosaurs,” which includes the monumental discovery by Detroit Mercy Assistant Professor of Biology and National Geographic Explorer Nizar Ibrahim.

Ibrahim and his team’s research showed the predatory dinosaur Spinosaurus was aquatic and used tail-propelled swimming locomotion to hunt for prey in a massive river system. It is the first time such an adaptation has been reported in a dinosaur.

“This was such a fun project, and it’s super exciting to finally hold the actual National Geographic cover in my hands,” Ibrahim said. “If you like dinosaurs, paleontology or science in general, get the October issue! It’s packed with great research, superb storytelling and breathtaking visuals.

Cover of Oct. 2020 National Geographic magazine.“The story holds a special place in my heart for a number of reasons: our recent Sahara expeditions form the ‘spine’ of the magazine story, and it features contributions by several close friends and collaborators, including Paolo Verzone, an exceptionally good photographer and Davide Bonadonna, one of the greatest paleontological illustrators in the world.

“Michael Greshko, the very talented writer of the piece, joined us on the 2019 expedition, so he really experienced the thrill of our discoveries first hand, as is evident when you read the story.”

The theme of “Reimagining Dinosaurs” is groundbreaking science is changing what we know about how dinosaurs looked. According to National Geographic, there have been an average of 40 dinosaur finds per year, making the dinosaurs that most people are familiar and grew up with factually incorrect.

National Geographic says the issue is one of the first comprehensive looks at dinosaurs as a species of animal in almost two decades, and showcases scientific research from paleontologists that may differ from what you know about how dinosaurs move, hatch, grow, look, socialize and more.

The highlights include Ibrahim’s Spinosurus discovery, that Deinonychus appears to have had blush eggs similar to those of modern birds, researchers now know that many dinosaurs had feathers of some kind that came in a variety of colors and advances in 3D technology are allowing researchers to reconstruct details of dinosaur’s anatomy.

The National Geographic story was featured on Good Morning America.

Ibrahim’s Spinosaurus discovery has been featured all over the world since it was published in Nature in April, including CNN, NPR, Popular Science, New York Times, ABC News, FOX News and SyFy.

Many of the stories, animation and photos are available online at natgeo.com/dinos.

Rendering of Spinosaurus.