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New carnivorous dinosaurs identified in Sahara


First published: February 14, 2008, 2:34 PM IST | Updated: February 14, 2008
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New carnivorous dinosaurs identified in Sahara
The discovery was made from the fossils found in the Sahara desert in Niger.

London: Scientists have identified two previously unknown types of carnivorous dinosaurs from fossils found in the Sahara desert in Niger.

According to the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, one of the dinosaurs probably scavenged its prey like a hyena, the other probably hunted live animals.

"They are the earliest records of both major carnivore groups that would go on to dominate Africa, South America, and India during the next 50 million years, in the Cretaceous Period," co-author Steve Brusatte from the University of
Bristol, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Named Kryptops palaios or "old hidden face", researchers believe that this creature of about 25 ft in length, may have scavenged food like a hyena.

Eocarcharia dinops, the other carnivorous dinosaur discovered, had blade-shaped teeth, more suited to attacking live prey and hunting.

These meat-eaters are thought to be contemporaries of another carnivorous dinosaur, Suchomimus, a large fish-eating theropod.

"It is clear from their anatomy that they were eating different things: Suchomimus ate fish, Kryptops ate smaller animals and Eocarcharia was the top predator of its day," said

"Just like in the African savannah today, lions, cheetahs and hyenas must eat different food to survive side by side. It is fascinating to see this in a 110-million-year-old ecosystem," Brusatte added.

Dr Paul Serano, from the University of Chicago, discovered the the fossilised remains of the two 110-million-year-old carnivorous dinosaurs from the Tenere Desert in Niger eight years ago, the report said.

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