Paleontologists have announced the discovery of a meat-eating dinosaur—as big as a Tyrannosaurus rex—that roamed North Africa 95 million years ago. In a paper published October 27 in Cretaceous Research, its discoverers have dubbed it Sauroniops pachytholus as an homage to the “Lord of the Rings” villain Sauron, National Geographic reports.
Why that particular villain? It all has to do with a fossilized eye socket.
“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,” the paper’s lead author Andrea Cau, of the Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini in Bologna, Italy, told National Geographic.
Wondering how scientists can identify a new species with nothing but an eye socket to work with? It just so happens that Saurionops had a prominent dome above its eye, a feature that distinguishes this dino from similar species.
Eye can see why now.