Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 95 Ma
Sereno et al., 2004
Sereno et al., 2004
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. Later estimates suggest a revised length of 4.4 metres (14.4 ft). At the same time other authors suggest that it measures 5.3 metres (17.4 ft) long and 410 kilograms (900 lb) in weight. 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.
- Paul, G.S., 2010, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press p. 79
- 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.
- Molina-Pérez & Larramendi 2016. Récords y curiosidades de los dinosaurios Terópodos y otros dinosauromorfos, Larousse. Barcelona, Spain p. 256
- 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.