Cretaceous-era carnivorous dinosaur discovered in the Sahara Desert

(ORDO NEWS) — An Egyptian-American team of researchers has announced the discovery of a new species of large-bodied carnivorous dinosaur in the Sahara desert in Egypt.

The fossil of a still unnamed species is a theropod dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period (about 98 million years ago).

At the beginning of the 20th century, the original examples of many remarkable dinosaurs, including the colossal fish-eating Spinosaurus, were discovered in the oasis of Bahariya in the western Sahara, which were then destroyed during the Second World War.

Cretaceous era carnivorous dinosaur discovered in the Sahara Desert 2 1
Neck vertebra of an abelisaurid from the Bahariya oasis (Egypt)

Fossils have also been found in Europe and other modern continents, but paleontologists have never previously found a theropod vertebra in Bahariya.

The fossil in question is a well-preserved vertebra from the base of the neck that belongs to an abelisaurid, a kind of theropod with a bulldog face, small teeth and tiny hands, estimated to be about six meters long.

Abelisaurids were among the most diverse and widespread carnivorous dinosaurs on the southern land masses throughout the Cretaceous.

Cretaceous era carnivorous dinosaur discovered in the Sahara Desert 3
Abelisaurids lived in abundance in what is now Egypt

Along with Spinosaurus and two other giant theropods (Carcharodontosaurus and Bahariasaurus), the new species is a prime example of the large carnivorous dinosaurs that roamed what is now the Egyptian Sahara about 98 million years ago.

This fossil proves that during the mid-Cretaceous, carnivorous dinosaurs roamed almost the entire continent, from present-day Egypt to Morocco and beyond.

Considering previous finds, we can conclude that dinosaurs lived in most of North Africa, which at that time was not yet a desert.

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