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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
|An artist's illustration of a pair of Rugops primus|
Sereno et al., 2004
| †Rugops primus|
Sereno et al., 2004
DescriptionAt 7–9 m (23–30 ft) long and 2.5 m (8 ft) high at the hip, Rugops was a medium to large sized carnivore. The skull bore armour or scales, and other bones had many blood vessels, causing Dr. Paul Sereno, who led the team that discovered the fossil, to say, “It’s not the kind of head designed for fighting or bone-crushing”, suggesting that it may have been mostly a scavenger. The skull also bears two rows of seven holes each, of unknown purpose, although Sereno has speculated that they may have anchored some kind of crest or horns. Like other abelisaurs, Rugops probably had very short arms. These were probably useless in fighting. They may have only been balance tools, items to counterbalance the dinosaur’s head. The type species is R. primus (meaning “first wrinkle-face”). Rugops is believed to be an abelisaurid, related to other abelisaurids like Majungasaurus and Carnotaurus. Rugops would have been similar to an oversized jackal in that it would have scavenged a lot of kills and only made a few of its own because of its weak skull structure and average size.
In the media
Rugops appears in the third episode of Monsters Resurrected, attacking a juvenile Paralititan but inaccurately shown it being lifted by the jaws of Spinosaurus. In real life, a 30 ft long Rugops was far too large for Spinosaurus to lift with its 5.5 ft (1.7 meter) long jaws.
Rugops also appears in BBC's Planet Dinosaur, shown as a scavenger, eating the dead 8 m (20 ft) sawfish onchopristis left by Spinosaurus.
Rugops DNA was used in order to help make the Indominus rex in Jurassic World by adding neck armour to it.
This dinosaur was one of the supporting characters (identified in 2016) in Ricardo Delgado's Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians mini-series.