Science: New Dino "Links Major Landmasses"

Society | June 4, 2004, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

A cache of dinosaurs discovered in Niger may challenge our understanding of continental formation, US scientists claim.

One of the dinosaurs - Rugops - was a wrinkle-faced carnivore, which lived about 95 million years ago. Rugops had relations in South America, indicating Africa became a separate continent later than thought, some researchers believe.

Working in an area of the Sahara no bigger than a football pitch, Professor Paul Sereno and his team, from the University of Chicago, dug up more dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous Period than the total found in Africa before.

Sereno unveiled models of some of the dinosaurs his team found on its expedition to Niger four years ago. The most significant of these was the skull of Rugops primus, a peculiar-looking meat-eating dinosaur. Rugops, whose name means "first wrinkle face", was about nine metres long with sharp teeth and a snout probably adapted for scavenging carrion.

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