Predatory Dinosaurs from the Sahara and Late Cretaceous Faunal Differentiation

Science. 1996 May 17;272(5264):986-91. doi: 10.1126/science.272.5264.986.


Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) fossils discovered in the Kem Kem region of Morocco include large predatory dinosaurs that inhabited Africa as it drifted into geographic isolation. One, represented by a skull approximately 1.6 meters in length, is an advanced allosauroid referable to the African genus Carcharodontosaurus. Another, represented by a partial skeleton with slender proportions, is a new basal coelurosaur closely resembling the Egyptian genus Bahariasaurus. Comparisons with Cretaceous theropods from other continents reveal a previously unrecognized global radiation of carcharodontosaurid predators. Substantial geographic differentiation of dinosaurian faunas in response to continental drift appears to have arisen abruptly at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous.