Rugops, meaning “wrinkle face”, was a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period (95 million years ago). It inhabited what is now Africa. The skull of the Rugops was found in Niger in 2000 and was a critical breakthrough in the understanding of theropods in that area.
Rugops was 24 to 30 feet in length and stood about 8 feet high at the hip. It was a large carnivore, but based on the skull having had armor or scale plating, Dr. Paul Sereno, who led the team that discovered the fossil, believed Rugops didn’t have the type of head “designed for fighting or bone-crushing”, and suggested it may have been a scavenger.
The skull also bears two rows of seven holes each. Although the purposes of the holes are unknown, Sereno has speculated that they may have anchored some type of crest or horns.
Rugops is believed to have had very short arms. Another feature that would render the dinosaur useless for fighting. The arms may have only been used for balance, perhaps counterbalancing the dinosaur’s head.
The type species is R. primus. It is believed to be an abelisaurid, or closely related. It is also related to Majungasaurus.