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Dinosaur remains found in Morocco

DISCOVERY: An artist’s impression of the uncovered dinosaur

ONE OF the last dinosaurs living in Africa before their extinction 66 million years ago has been discovered in a phosphate mine in northern Morocco.

The scientist who made the discovery likened it to winning the lottery as the new species – Chenanisaurus barbaricus – is so rare.

The dinosaur is a smaller African contemporary of the North American T. rex.

While the tyrannosaurs dominated in North America and Asia, the abelisaurs were the top predators at the end of the Cretaceous period in Africa, South America, India and Europe.

Longrich told the New Scientist: “This find was unusual because it’s a dinosaur from marine rocks. It is a bit like hunting for fossil whales and finding a fossil lion.

“It’s an incredibly rare find – almost like winning the lottery. But the phosphate mines are so rich, it’s like buying a million lottery tickets, so we actually have a chance to find rare dinosaurs like this one.”

The teeth from the fossil were worn as if from biting into bone, suggesting that, like T. rex, Chenanisaurus was a predator.

Last year, Nick Longrich, from the University of Bath, studied a rare fragment of a jawbone (later determined to be that of a abelisaurs) that was discovered in a mine in the north African country. However, unlike the partially-feathered T. rex, Chenanisaurus had only scales, its brain was smaller and its face was shorter and deeper.

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