Posted on November 19, 2007  Comments (7)

photo of the Nigersaurus Jaw Bones

Structural Extremes in a Cretaceous Dinosaur

Nigersaurus taqueti shows extreme adaptations for a dinosaurian herbivore including a skull of extremely light construction, tooth batteries located at the distal end of the jaws, tooth replacement as fast as one per month, an expanded muzzle that faces directly toward the ground, and hollow presacral vertebral centra with more air sac space than bone by volume. A cranial endocast provides the first reasonably complete view of a sauropod brain including its small olfactory bulbs and cerebrum. Skeletal and dental evidence suggests that Nigersaurus was a ground-level herbivore that gathered and sliced relatively soft vegetation, the culmination of a low-browsing feeding strategy first established among diplodocoids during the Jurassic.

This discovery has received a good deal of coverage. Among other things it is great to see this paper is available to everyone who wants to view it because it is published by open access PLoS One. The Nigersaurus was discovered in what is now the Sahara Desert in Niger. When the Nigersaurus was roaming the area, 110 million years ago, the climate was a Mesozoic forest. The dinosaur had a few hundred teeth that were replaced almost monthly (a record). The bones of the head and neck were so minimal and light that the Read more about the Nigersaurus. As the author stated: “One of the stunning things about this animal is how fragile the skull is… Some of the bones are so thin you can shine a light through them.”

Related: Extreme Dinosaur: Nigersaurus, the Mesozoic Cow!Dinosaur from Sahara ate like a ‘Mesozoic cow’Nigersaurus: just when you thought you’d seen everything…Dino’s look is hard to swallowBizarre Dinosaur Grazed Like a Cow, Study SaysT-rex TreasureMost Dinosaurs Remain Undiscovered

7 Responses to “Nigersaurus”

  1. CuriousCat: New Triceratops Ancestor
    November 25th, 2007 @ 9:08 am

    “The dino may be an ancestor of the well-know triceratops, and at the very least, is the group’s earliest known member; researchers say the Eotriceratops lived in southern Alberta 68 million years ago…”

  2. Sorting Out Science » Blog Archive » Philosophia Naturalis #15
    November 30th, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

    […] Everything Dinosaur summarizes the paper, while A Blog Around the Clock does that – and contributes a huge list of links too! Somewhat shorter discussions come courtesy of The Panda’s Thumb, Curious Cat, and Palaeoblog. […]

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Dinosaur Remains Found with Intact Skin and Tissue
    December 3rd, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    “this hadrosaur came complete with fossilised skin, ligaments, tendons and possibly some internal organs…”

  4. CuriousCat: Dinosaur Era Feathers Found Encased in Amber
    March 12th, 2008 @ 7:50 am

    Seven dino-era feathers found perfectly preserved in amber in western France highlight a crucial stage in feather evolution, scientists report. The hundred-million-year-old plumage has features of both feather-like fibers found with some two-legged dinosaurs…

  5. Curious Cat Science Blog » Giant Duck-Billed Dinosaur Discovered in Mexico
    November 13th, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

    Yet we keep getting new discoveries announced (New Triceratops Ancestor – Nigersaurus the Mesozoic Cow!) showing, while I was surprised, the scientists knew what they were talking about…

  6. Friday Fun: Dinosaur and Kids » Curious Cat Science Blog
    April 15th, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    Just a fun video for this Friday, showing a visit by a puppet dinosaur to a Australian school…

  7. A single spot in the Sahara that provides huge amounts of nutrients to the Amazon » Curious Cat Science Blog
    August 17th, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    About 40 million tons of dust are transported annually from the Sahara to the Amazon basin. Saharan dust has been proposed to be the main mineral source that fertilizes the Amazon basin…

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