Rugops

Name: Rugops ‭(‬Wrinkle face‭)‬.
Phonetic: Roo-gops.
Named By: P. C. Sereno, J. A. Wilson, & J. L. Conrad - 2004. .
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Abelisauridae.
Species: R.‭ ‬primus (type).
Type: Carnivore.
Size: Estimated about 6 meters long.
Known locations: Africa,‭ ‬Niger - Echkar Formation.
Time period: Cenomanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skull.

       Rugops,‭ ‬meaning‭ '‬wrinkle face‭', ‬is an interesting name for a carnivorous dinosaur.‭ ‬This name comes from the numerous impressions in the skull bone from large blood vessels that once ran across the bone surface leaving a wrinkled appearance.‭ ‬It is thought that these extra vessels were here to provide additional oxygenated blood to special facial display features so far not seen in any other theropod.‭ ‬These blood vessels could have also allowed for a ready supply of blood allowing Rugops to flush blood into the soft tissue of its snout for the purpose of a vivid colour display.‭ ‬Alternatively Rugops may have had some kind of armoured covering over its face.‭
       Many of the carnivorous theropod dinosaurs have been accused of being scavengers,‭ ‬but in the case of Rugops it may be an accurate assumption.‭ ‬Abelisaurids are known for their proportionately weaker bite forces,‭ ‬especially when compared to the mighty tyrannosaurids of the late cretaceous,‭ ‬but Rugops also had teeth that seem to be much weaker than its other abelisaurid brethren.‭
       A possible scenario for a scavenging lifestyle can be inferred from possible special facial features as evidenced by the presence of blood vessels.‭ ‬It could be that Rugops flushed blood into the soft tissue of its snout or sported some kind of soft tissue feature that allowed it to intimidate other carnivores from a carcass by making itself appear more threatening than it actually was.‭ ‬By acting big and scary Rugops could avoid actually having to be so.
       Rugops was the first abelisaurid dinosaur found in Africa,‭ ‬with previous members being discovered in Madagascar,‭ ‬India,‭ ‬and most importantly for this text South America.‭ ‬Madagascar was formed when it split from the Indian Sub-Continent and as such abelisaurids could not cross from Madagascar to Africa of vice versa.‭ ‬This means that the only viable origin of North African abeilisaurids was South America.‭ ‬For this reason the existence of Rugops is held up as proof that not only were South America and Africa once joined,‭ ‬land‭ ‬bridges existed between the two continents after they had split,‭ ‬allowing for new and different kinds of dinosaurs to spread across the globe into new continents.

Further reading
- New dinosaurs link southern landmasses in the mid-Cretaceous. - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 271(1546):1325-1330 - P. C. Sereno, J. A. Wilson, & J. L. Conrad - 2004.



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