Teeth the size of bananas?!


In 1997 Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno led a fossil-hunting expedition to Niger. Almost a decade later, one of Sereno's former students, Steve Brusatte, SB'06, now a graduate student at Bristol University, discovered that among the fossils found by Sereno's team was a new species: Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis. As carnivorous dinosaurs go, it is one of the largest to be found. According to a Bristol University press release, the predator "had a skull about 1.75 metres long, and its teeth were the size of bananas." The species was one of three known "mega carnivores" inhabiting Africa 95 million years ago, along with Spinosaurus and Abelisaurid.

For the December 2007 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, published today, Sereno and Brusatte cowrote a paper about the discovery: "A new species of Carcharodontosaurus (dinosauria: theropoda) from the Cenomanian of Niger and a revision of the genus."


Photo: Steve Brusatte digs for fossils in Wyoming, at a site where scientists have found the bones of Allosaurus—a close relative of Carcharodontosaurus, Brusatte's newly identified species.

Photo courtesy University of Bristol

December 12, 2007