Two New Abelisaurid Dinosaurs Uncovered in Morocco

Moroccan Abelisaurids

Approximately 66 million years ago, two dapper dinosaur species decided to strut their stuff. Picture this: short, bulldog snouts and arms so short, T. rex would probably lend them a sympathetic pat on the back.

These trendsetters belonged to the Abelisauridae family, the carnivorous counterparts to the tyrannosaurs up north. One, a modest 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length, left its fashionable foot bone near the town of Sidi Daoui. The other, a more imposing 5 meters (15 feet) in length, left behind a shin bone worthy of a runway in Sidi Chennane.

Now, the plot twist—these dinos were living it up in marine beds, surrounded by plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and sharks. Quite the exclusive aquatic party, right? University of Bath paleontologist Nick Longrich sums it up perfectly, "Not exactly a place you'd expect to find a lot of dinosaurs. But we're finding them. Fashionably late, of course."

The fossils hint at a Moroccan mixer where up to three abelisaurid species mingled around 66 million years ago. Who knew North Africa was the dinosaur social hub before the end-Cretaceous mass extinction decided to rain on their parade?

Dr. Longrich gives us the lowdown, "The end of the Cretaceous in western North America... less diverse. But that's just one small part of the world. Can't judge the dinosaur party everywhere based on Wyoming and Montana, right?"

He continues, "It grew colder, maybe the dino diversity took a nosedive at higher latitudes. But down in Morocco, they kept the diversity flag flying. Dinosaurs remained diverse and successful until the end. Take that, T. rex!"

Professor Nour-Eddine Jalil, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum, adds a stylish bow to the findings, "When T. rex was the megapredator up north, abelisaurs owned the food chain in North Africa. Dino remains tell us biodiversity was throwing a pre-Cretaceous-Paleogene bash, not winding down."

So, there you have it, a dino-soiree in Morocco where short arms and snouts mingled with marine royalty, making the end of the Cretaceous look like the finale of a dazzling fashion show. Walk the dino-walk, talk the dino-talk, and leave your fossilized footprints in the sands of time. Cue applause! 👏

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