Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
An artist's illustration of a pair of Rugops primus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Abelisauridae
Genus: Rugops
Sereno et al., 2004
Species: R. primus
Binomial name
Rugops primus
Sereno et al., 2004
Rugops Primus (meaning “first wrinkle face”) is a genus of medium sized abelisaurid theropod dinosaur, which inhabited what is now Africa approximately 95 million years ago (Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous). The discovery of a Rugops skull in Niger in 2000 was a crucial breakthrough in the understanding of the evolution of theropods in that area, and demonstrates that this landmass was still united with Gondwana at that stage in history. It was contemporary of the much larger carnivores Spinosaurus, Sarcosuchus, and Carcharodontosaurus. It also has one of the shortest names of any dinosaur along with the Australian ankylosauroid Minmi.


Tk rugops skull

Rugops Skull

At 4-4.5 m (12-16 ft) long and 1.5 m (4 ft) high at the hip, Rugops was a small 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 mediaEdit

  • Rugops appears in the third episode of Monsters Resurrected Biggest Killer Dino, 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. The other one was being chased by the Spinosaurus but was killed. Then a pack of 5 Rugops took down a Paralititan before having a Spinosaurus attempt to steal the food, but the pack's numbers are so great, the theropods kill and eat the Spinosaurus after it fell on it's side & broke it's tall spines.
Pd Rugops

Planet Dinosaur Rugops

  • Rugops also appears in BBC's Planet Dinosaur, where it was shown as a scavenger, eating the remains of the dead 8 m (27 ft) sawfish Onchopristis left by a 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.

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