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Giganotosaurus

Giganotosaurus

(jig-a-NOH-toh-sore-us)

Name means: Giant Southern Reptile

 

Species: carolinii

Range: Early Cretaceous (Albian ,100-104 MYA) from Argentina

Size estimate: 40-45 ft length, 7-8 tons

Discovery: Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado, 1995

Classification: dinosauria, saurischia, therapoda, allosauroidea, carcharodontosauridae

 

This giant carnivore became famous by apparently outweighing Tyrannosaurus rex. Initial size estimates claimed Giganotosaurus was the largest known terrestrial carnivore. More recent evidence shows that most species of big dinosaur carnivores could reach lengths of 40-45 foot and weighed as much as 7-8 tons. Spinosaurus breaks that pattern, but its semi-aquatic lifestyle let it grow bigger. Water helped carry its weight, but even then it may have grown only slightly bigger than the normal maximum for giant theropods. So in reality Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus covered the same size range.

 

Giganotosaurus may have preyed upon some of the largest animals ever to live on land. However, its jaws lacked the bone-cracking power of a Tyrannosaur’s. Instead its jaws excelled at making long, slashing bites. It could not hope to overpower gigantic prey with brute force, so it used its slashing jaws to inflict wounds when opportunities arose. Then it could back off and wait until the prey succumbed to its injuries. It would have had no problem dispatching smaller animals as well.

 

The sculptures in this area represent various species from South America, mostly Argentina. There is no evidence that any of them lived at the same time, however. Giganotosaurus shared its habitat with the giant Andesaurus, a medium-sized sauropod called Limaysaurus, and a small carnivore with a long snout named Buitreraptor. Future exploration of the area could turn up even more new dinosaur species.