updated 11/14/2012 4:20:53 PM ET 2012-11-14T21:20:53

Earlier this year a team of palaeontologists came into the possession of what appeared to be a 95 million-year-old skull cap from a previously unknown dinosaur. Further analysis showed that the bone likely belonged to a carcharodontosaurid -- an offshoot of the familiar Allosaurus. Given its unique domed skull, the researchers concluded that it was in fact a newly discovered species, one they've decided to name after the demonic Sauron from the Lord of the Rings series.

NEWS: Dinosaurs Looking for Love Grew Alluring Feathers

It's full name is Sauroniops pachytholus, a massive bipedal carcharodontosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period. The paleontologists, Andrea Cau, Fabio Dalla Vecchia, and Matteo Fabbri, felt that the single fragment provided enough evidence to warrant the classification of an entirely new species, and their work describing the new dinosaur has since been published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.


WATCH VIDEO: From a tiny, tough guy T. rex to a mummified duck-billed dino, take a look at these stories and more in these dinosaur videos.

Interestingly, the discovery now adds credence to the hypothesis that a fourth large theropod existed in the Cenomanian of Morocco together with Carcharodontosaurus, Deltadromeus, and Spinosaurus (yes, all four of them at the same time — must have been a nice place to visit).

Unfortunately, however, the limited bone fragment reveals achingly little about Sauron. That said, the researchers speculate that it was more than 30 feet in length, and that it was probably just as large as the Carcharodontosaurus. The palaeontologists are obviously hoping to find more fossils to be absolutely sure.

There's also the prominent bump on its head. Brian Switek from Smithsonian  offers some theories as to its function :

NEWS: Vegetarian Dinosaurs Were Champion Chompers

For now we can only speculate -- and hope that more fossils will eventually be discovered.

Check out the studies here and here.

via io9

© 2012 Discovery Channel

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments