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Nigersaurus, meaning "Niger reptile" in reference to its discovery location, is a Sauropod in the Rebbachisauridae family from the middle Cretaceous period. At 9 meters long, and weighing around four tonnes (around the weight of an elephant), this dinosaur was one of the smallest Sauropods. Due to its short neck, that it would have struggled to lift, Nigersaurus likely browsed low-lying plants, rather than taller trees.Nigersaurus may have had a lot of air spaces in its bones, lowering the density of its skeleton. This adaptation could have reduced the energy required to move, an important quality for dinosaurs that inhabit tropical areas. This dinosaur is primarily known for its unusually wide and straight mouth, lined with more than 500 teeth.
The first possible remains of Nigersaurus were described in a 1976 paper by French paleontologist Philippe Taquet, following an expedition to the Republic of Niger around five years earlier. It was not until 1999, however, that Nigersaurus was named by the American paleontologist Paul Sereno, the leader of an expeditions that recovered more material. The specific name taqueti pays homage to TaquetThe original skull is one of the first dinosaur specimens to be examined with a CT scan. These scans revealed that each cutting tooth in the skull had up to nine teeth stacked behind it, ready to replace any teeth that were worn out.
Nigersaurus lived around riverbanks, and likely fed on plants that needed lots of water to grow. It is possible that Nigersaurus was one of the more common dinosaurs in its habitat, based on the frequency at which fossils are discovered. Nigersaurus would have shared its habitat with Suchomimus, a carnivore that preyed on fish, in addition to other megaherbivore dinosaurs, and Sarcosuchus, colloquially known as 'SuperCroc'.