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Massive carnivorous dinosaur discovered

Massive carnivorous dinosaur discovered

Massive carnivorous dinosaur discovered
December 11, 2007

A massive carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Niger has been described as a new species, according to research published in current issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, as the species is known, is one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs ever found, measuring 13-14 meters long, with a 1.75 meter-skull and teeth the size of bananas.

The specimen was found in Niger in 1997 on an expedition led by Paul Sereno from the University of Chicago, though earlier remains were uncovered in North Africa early in the 20th century.

The toothed jawbone of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, a species closely related to Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis.

Mockup of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, racing a London bus.

“The first remains of Carcharodontosaurus were found in the 1920s, but they only consisted of two teeth which have since been lost,” said Steve Brusatte, a masters of science student at the University of Bristol. “Other bits of Carcharodontosaurus were found in Egypt and described in the 1930s, but these were destroyed when Munich was bombed in 1944. Since then a skull of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus turned up in the Moroccan Sahara, and was described a decade ago. So as you can see, evidence for this dinosaur is very rare.”

The discovery of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis adds to the number of bipedal, carnivorous dinosaurs known to be living in Africa some 95 million years ago, including Spinosaurus — up to 18 meter long — and Abelisaurid theropods — standing up to nine meters high.

CITATION: A new species of Carcharodontosaurus (dinosauria: theropoda) from the Cenomanian of Niger and a revision of the genus. By Stephen L. Brusatte and Paul C. Sereno. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(4), December 2007.

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