|Named By:||Andrea Cau, Marco Dalla Vecchia and Matteo Fabbri in 2012|
|Time Period:||Late Cretaceous, 100 Ma|
|Location:||Morocco - Kem Kem Beds|
|Size:||Preserved portion of the holotype skull 20 centimetres long|
|Fossil(s):||Partial skull fragment from just above the eye socket|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Theropoda | Carcharodontosauridae ||
Sauroniops is a genus of predatory basal carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian stage) of Morocco.
In the early twenty-first century a collector donated a dinosaur skull bone to the Italian Museo Paleontologico di Montevarchi. He had acquired the specimen from a Moroccan fossil dealer, who again had bought the piece from local fossil hunters near Taouz. Its exact provenance is therefore uncertain. Later research showed that it presented a new species that was in 2012 reported and described by Andrea Cau, Marco Dalla Vecchia and Matteo Fabbri.
The same year, 2012, the specimen was by the same authors formally named in a subsequent publication as the type species Sauroniops pachytholus. The generic name has the intended meaning of "Eye of Sauron", a demonic entity from the Lord of the Rings fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, combining its name with a Classical Greek ops, ops, "eye". Like in the novels the corporeal presence of Sauron had largely been limited to a single searching eye, Sauroniops is only known from a single bone above the eye socket. The specific name is derived from Greek pakhus, pachys, "thick", and tholos, tholos, "round building with conical roof", in reference to the thick vaulted skull roof.
The holotype, specimen MPM 2594, had probably been recovered from the Kem Kem Beds dating from the Cenomanian. It consists of a left frontal bone.