January 5, 2023

JENGUEBI, NIGER – Seas of sand form the core of the Sahara, the world’s largest desert. Our expedition caravan wound slowly between dunes, probing for terrain hard enough to get us to our end goal —windswept rock with fossils from the youngest part of the dinosaur era on Africa some 90 million years ago. Exposed as isolated patches, the target areas resemble an oceanic island chain, each patch decreasing in size until disappearing altogether under the sand seas.

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With few clouds and not a drop of rain, the rising and setting of the sun and moon are spectacular on a Saharan expedition. Photo courtesy of Paul Sereno.

Atop his Honda CGL 125, guide Abdoul Nassar scouts the desert for fossils traveling 100 miles on little over a gallon of gas. Photo courtesy of Paul Sereno.

Holding battery powered drill-breakers in plaster-covered hands, Spanish team members Alvaro Simarro and Ana Lázaro break to pose during the excavation of a dinosaur skeleton. Photo courtesy of Filippo Bertozzo.

The sabre-shaped tooth of a T-rex-sized predatory dinosaur fills the hand of discoverer Alvaro Simarro, a Spanish student studying the evolution of dinosaur teeth. Photo courtesy of Alvaro Simarro.

Tons of fossils in field jackets compete for space with water tanks aboard the team’s truck for the return trip to Agadez. Photo courtesy of Paul Sereno.

Discovering Dinosaurs Adrift in Seas of Sand Image

Nearly as perfect as the day it was covered 110 million years ago, a juvenile skull of SuperCroc is already nearly the size of expedition leader, Paul Sereno. Photo courtesy of Paul Sereno.