110 mln-yr-old dinosaur duo ate like hyenas and sharks

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Washington, Feb 14 : The analysis of fossils of two new 110 million-year-old dinosaurs unearthed in the Sahara Desert has revealed that the duo's eating patterns were similar to that of hyenas and sharks.

Named Kryptops and Eocarcharia, these dinosaurs were discovered in 2000 on an expedition led by University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno.

These dinosaurs were unusual meat-eaters and prowled southern continents during the Cretaceous Period.

One of the dinosaurs - the short-snouted Kryptops palaios, meaning "old hidden face," was so named for the horny covering that appears to have covered nearly all of its face. About 25 feet in length, Kryptops was a voracious meat-eater.

"A fast, two-legged hyena gnawing and pulling apart a carcass is how we might best imagine Kryptops' dining habits," said paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the University of Bristol.

Like later members of its group (called abelisaurids) in South America and India, Kryptops had short, armored jaws with small teeth that would have been better at gobbling guts and gnawing on carcasses than snapping at live prey.

It's contemporary, Eocarcharia dinops, meaning "fierce-eyed dawn shark," was so named for its blade-shaped teeth and prominent bony eyebrow. Its brow was swollen into a massive band of bone, giving it a menacing glare.

Unlike Kryptops, its teeth were designed for disabling live prey and severing body parts. Eocarcharia and its kin gave rise to the largest predators on southern continents, matching or exceeding Tyrannosaurus in size.

The two dinosaurs preyed upon the ground-grubbing, long-necked plant-eater Nigersaurus and lived alongside the enormous extinct crocodilian nicknamed "SuperCroc".

ANI
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