Rugops (Wrinkle face)
P. C. Sereno, J. A. Wilson, & J. L. Conrad – 2004
Estimated 4 meters long
R. primus (type)
Africa, Niger – Echkar Formation
Late Cretaceous, 95 million years ago
Rugops is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 95 million years ago, in what is now Niger, Africa. It was named after the French word “rugueux,” which means “wrinkled,” and the Greek word “ops,” which means “face,” in reference to the wrinkled appearance of its facial bones.
Rugops is classified as a member of the Abelisauridae family, which is a group of carnivorous dinosaurs characterized by their short, deep skulls and reduced arms. Rugops was a relatively small abelisaurid, estimated to have been around 4 meters (13 feet) long and weighing around 300 kilograms (660 pounds).
The most distinctive feature of Rugops is its wrinkled face, caused by an intricate network of bony ridges and grooves on its skull. These features likely played a role in supporting strong jaw muscles and provided attachment sites for tough facial tissues, which may have helped Rugops to withstand the stresses of feeding on tough prey items.
Despite its unique facial features, not much is known about the biology or behavior of Rugops. However, based on its classification as an abelisaurid, it likely fed on small to medium-sized prey, using its powerful jaws and sharp teeth to subdue and consume its food.
The discovery of Rugops has contributed to our understanding of the diversity of theropod dinosaurs in Africa during the Late Cretaceous, and the unique adaptations that allowed them to thrive in this ancient ecosystem.