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Re: The Cretaceous Middle East

>>uppose that a river/lake-living dinosaur evolved in the Late
Cretaceous of Africa (it might have been a hippo or crocodile or otter or
capybara or even river-dolphin analog). This survived the Chicxulub impact
somewhere in NE Africa and evolved/diversified modestly in the Paleogene,
but never spread widely since it could (would) not move long distances
overland between river systems.<<

That's a pretty plausible explination (heck, I want to go to Yemen, now and
check these hippo-dinosaurs out), but it may be too restrictive.  That scenario
only works if the dinosaur stays aquatic, so very little evolutionary tinkering
is possible.  Also, the best candidate for such survival is a small hadrosaur,
and everyone knows that predators are cooler.