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Rugops (meaning "first wrinkle face") is a genus of theropod dinosaur which inhabited what is now Africa approximately 95 million years ago (Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous).

Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 95 Ma
Rugops skull.jpg
Restored skull
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Abelisauridae
Genus: Rugops
Sereno et al., 2004
Species: R. primus
Binomial name
Rugops primus
Sereno et al., 2004



Restoration of Rugops feeding on a sawfish
Size comparison

Though known only from a skull found in the Echkar Formation, Rugops was estimated as being 6 metres (19.7 ft) long and 750 kilograms (1,650 lb) in weight based on comparisons with its relatives.[1] Later estimates suggest a revised length of 4.4 metres (14.4 ft).[2] At the same time other authors suggest that it measures 5.3 metres (17.4 ft) long and 410 kilograms (900 lb) in weight.[3] The skull bore armour or scales, and other bones had many blood vessels, causing Paul Sereno, who led the team that discovered the fossil, to say, "It's not the kind of head designed for fighting or bone-crushing", suggesting that it may have been a scavenger. The skull also bears two rows of seven holes, each of unknown purpose, although Sereno has speculated that they may have anchored some kind of crest or horns.

Like other abelisaurs, Rugops likely had very short, or even vestigial arms. These were probably useless in fighting, and may have only been used to counterbalance the dinosaur's head.


The discovery of a Rugops skull in Niger in 2000 was a crucial breakthrough in the understanding of the evolution of theropods in that area, and demonstrates that this landmass was still united with Gondwana at that stage in history. It lived in the same locality and geological time period as Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Deltadromeus.

Skeletal diagram of the holotype and only known specimen: MNN IGU1

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Paul, G.S., 2010, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press p. 79
  2. ^ Grillo, O. N.; Delcourt, R. (2016). "Allometry and body length of abelisauroid theropods: Pycnonemosaurus nevesi is the new king". Cretaceous Research. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2016.09.001. 
  3. ^ Molina-Pérez & Larramendi 2016. Récords y curiosidades de los dinosaurios Terópodos y otros dinosauromorfos, Larousse. Barcelona, Spain p. 256

Further readingEdit

  • Sereno, P.C., J.A. Wilson, and J.L. Conrad. 2004. New dinosaurs link southern landmasses in the Mid-Cretaceous. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (Series B) published online: pages 1–6.

External linksEdit