In a new study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the research team has discovered a new genus belonging to the family Carcharodontosaurus, a group of medium to large carnivorous dinosaurs that dominated the food chain.
The new dinosaur, named Ulogpigosaurus uzbekstanensis, was discovered in the Lower Cretaceous Besikti Formation in the Kyzylkum Desert in Uzbekistan and thus lived about 90 million years ago.
The new dinosaur is the first definitive Carcharodontosaurus discovered in the Upper Cretaceous period of Central Asia.
“We describe this new genus and species, based on a single isolated fossil of a large upper jaw,” explains the study’s first author, Associate Professor Kohei Tanaka.
He adds: “Among theropod dinosaurs, the size of the upper jaw can be used to estimate the size of the animal, because it correlates with the length of the femur, which is a well-established indicator of body size. Approximately meters, more than the length of a full-grown African elephant.
This size vastly exceeds that of any other known predator from the Bisekti formation, including the described small Timurlingia tyrannosaurs of the same formation, so it is likely that the newly named dinosaur may have topped the food chain in its late Cretaceous ecosystem.
The nomenclature and the great importance of the discovery
The name of the dinosaur is completely royal; Ulugbegsaurus is named after Ulug Beg, a 15th century mathematician and astronomer and sultan of the Timurid Empire in Central Asia, while the type was named after the country where the fossil was discovered, “Uzbekistan”.
Senior author, Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi at the Hokkaido University Museum, explains: “The discovery of Olugepigsaurus uzbekstanensis fills an important gap in the fossil record, revealing the spread of Carcharodontosaurus across the continent from Europe to East Asia, as one of the most recent survivors of Carcharodontosaurus in the ancient continent (Lurasia).”
“The coexistence of this large predator with the smaller dinosaur also reveals important limitations on the transition of the position of the main predator in the late Cretaceous period,” he adds.
The new king
For his part, the Egyptian paleontologist, director and founder of the Mansoura University Center for Vertebrate Fossils, Dr. Hisham Salam, comments on the new discovery, noting its importance, as the new dinosaur is from the family Carcharodontosaurus, a family spread in the upper Cretaceous period.
Salam added to “Sky News Arabia”, “Dinosaur fossils from the family of Carcharodontosaurus are found in Morocco and Egypt,” pointing out that the sample in Egypt was discovered in 1912, by German scientist Ernst Strömer.
As for the importance of the new discovery, he says that it lies in the registration of a new type of dinosaur, “Olugbegsaurus uzbekstanensis”, which has not been previously recorded, in addition to that it was the most predatory in the food chain, and stronger than its peers who lived in this region.
According to the Egyptian paleontologist, the discovery of the new dinosaur “Olugbegsaurus” removed the dinosaur “Terex” from the top of the food chain, and ascended to the royal throne; Where the dinosaur “Terex” was known for a long time as the king of dinosaurs, and it descends from the family of “tyrannosauroids”.
Salam says that among the amazing facts that the study reveals for the first time, the dinosaur “Ologpigsaurus” and the dinosaur “Terex” lived together in the same region and time, and that “Ologpigsaurus” outperformed “Terex” in rank.
It is noteworthy that the family Carcharodontosaurus from which “Olugbegosaurus” descended disappeared from the ancient continent that included Central Asia, and this disappearance is believed to be linked to the emergence of dinosaurs as apex predators.
This transition has remained incomprehensible due to the scarcity of fossils associated with this species, but it seems that the recent discovery provides new and valuable information that helps scientists understand this mystery.