Say hello to Sauroniops pachytholus. The name means ‘eye of Sauron’ in Greek, and it’s a newly announced species of dinosaur that was identified from a single fossil fragment of part of its upper skull found in the Kem Kem region of south-east Morocco in 2007.
As big as a Tyrannosaurus rex, the beast stalked North Africa around 95 million years ago, according to a study published recently in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.
That fossil included only part the upper skull—including the eye socket, study leader Andrea Cau, of the Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini in Bologna, Italy, said by email. “The idea of a predator that is physically known only as its fierce eye reminded me of Sauron, in particular as depicted in Peter Jackson’s movies,” Cau explained.
Thanks to Ringer Caradoc for the heads-up on the news.