Nigersaurus stayed under the radar for quite a while. The first known fossils belonging to this animal were recovered during the 1950s by French paleontologists in the Nigerian Sahara. Unfortunately, most of these bones were isolated or fragmentary.
Scientists working at the time didn't even bother to give the sauropod a name.
Things got more interesting in 1997. That's when a member of Sereno's field team noticed some Nigersaurus skull bones. Over the course of two expeditions, enough material was found to reconstruct about 80 percent of the beast's skeleton.
And what a skeleton it was! The newfound fossils gave us our first look at the dino's complicated dental batteries and vacuum cleaner mouth. Sereno named the species Nigersaurus taqueti — as an homage to paleontologist Philippe Taquet — in 1999.
Scientists probably would've found more Nigersaurus remains a whole lot sooner if it hadn't been for this animal's fragile bone structure. To quote a 2007 Sereno-led study, this critter had a "featherweight skull." Several bones in Nigersaurus' head were under 0.08 inches (or 2 millimeters) thick.
The oddities didn't stop there.
Like today's birds, many prehistoric dinosaurs had hollow bones containing air sacs. Nigersaurus vertebrae took this to an extreme. Measured by volume, some of its backbones actually contained more air than ... well, than bone.
Wafer-thin fossils aren't the easiest things to preserve and study. But dag nabit, someone's gotta do it!