Scientists Uncover Killer Dinosaurs in Africa

eocarcharia dinopsA head-butting dinosaur dating back 110 million years has been identified by palaeontologists as the grandfather of some of the biggest predators to stalk the Earth.

Fossil remains of Eocarcharia dinops, uncovered in Niger on the outskirts of the Ténéré desert, part of the Sahara, represent the first of a lineage of monstrous predators living on the supercontinent of Gondwana.

The previously unknown dinosaur would have been about 25ft (7.5m) to 30ft long with dagger-like teeth to bite chunks out of its prey. Steve Brusatte, of the University of Bristol, who studied the remains, said that the immensely hard bony brows were probably used in mating contests in the manner of animals with antlers and horns.

kryptops palaios
Eocarcharia dinops, whose name means “fierce-eyed dawn shark”, would have been the top predator of the day in Gondwana. Its chief prey is thought to have been the long-necked plant-eater Nigersaurus.

Researchers also unearthed a second, previously unknown, species of dinosaur that shared the same environment. Kryptops palaios was a similar size to Eocarcharia but had smaller teeth. It is thought to have been primarily a scavenger, much like hyenas of today.

Source: Times Online