A Dinosaur Named Sauron

A dinosaur discovered through a fossil found in Morocco has been named Sauron, after the Lord of the Rings character. Paleontologists Andrea Cau, Fabio Dalla Vecchia, and Matteo Fabbri of Italy’s Museo Paleontologico di Montevarchi described the dinosaur as best they could. Only a small part of the skull was found, but it was enough to determine that this dinosaur did not belong to a known species.

While the rest of the dinosaur remains unknown, after reanalyzing the frontal the paleontologists decided that it was truly unique enough to merit establishing a new name. The subtly-domed dinosaur is now known as Sauroniops pachytholus–the genus name a tribute to the demonic Sauron of the Lord of the Rings series, and the species name for the thick dome on the dinosaur’s head.

The dinosaur and human skull are illustrated for scale, not to suggest the dinosaur's diet. Link -via Ed Yong

(Image credit: Andrea Cau)

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