Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
|An artist's illustration of Giganotosaurus carolinii|
Coria &Selgado, 1995
Coria & Selgado, 1995
- Not to be confused with Gigantosaurus.
Giganotosaurus carolinii (meaning "giant southern lizard") is one of the largest theropods, even larger than Tyrannosaurus rex and Carcharodontosaurus. The only theropod is bigger than it was the Spinosaurus, which lived in North Africa. Giganotosaurus lived in South America and was thought to be capable of taking down the largest sauropod in its home area, such as the Andesaurus, when it hunted in a pack. This suggested that the Giganotosaurus likely interacted with other individuals in a type of social behavior. Similar to the Mapusaurus, a possible relative.
The Giganotosaurus means "the giant southern lizard", as the Megalosaurus was the "giant lizard". It had similar appearances to that of the theropods, like its cousin species Carcharodontosaurus, excluding the appearances of Spinosaurus and Suchomimus. Its 14-15 meter length undoubtedly gave it probably the largest predator in its area.
Giganotosaurus carolinii was named after Ruben Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter, who discovered the fossils in the deposits of the Rio Limay Formation of Patagonia, southern Argentina, in 1993. It was published by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Selgado in the journal Nature in 1995.
The holotype specimen's (MUCPv-Ch1) skeleton was about 70% complete and included the skull, pelvis, leg bones, and most of the backbone. It is estimated at about 6.8 tonnes (7.5 tons) in weight, 3.48 meters (11.4 feet) tall at the hips, and 12.4 meters (41 feet) in length. A second specimen (MUCPv-95), was estimated at 6,5–8% larger. This larger Giganotosaurus specimen was estimated to represent an individual 13.2 meters (43 feet) long that was about 3.7 meters (12.1 feet) tall at the hips and weighed about 8.2 tonnes (9 tons). Some experts think could grow even larger, believing that it could be able to reach 14.6 meters long and weigh almost 15.5 tonnes. Giganotosaurus had the longest skull for a theropod dinosaur, with the holotype's skull estimated at 1.54 meters, and the paratype skull estimated at 1.64 meters, though it could reach 1.89 meters. The most complete skeleton was housed at the Royal Ontario Museum until March 17, 2013. The Specimen (MUCPv-Ch1) is 70 percent complete and is only missing its arms and feet.
- Holotype specimen (MUCPv-Ch1): 12.4 meters (41 feet) long, 3.48 meters (11.4 feet) tall, 6.8 tonnes (7.5 tons)
- Second specimen (MUCPv-95): 13.2 meters (43 feet) long, 3.7 meters (12.1 feet) tall, 8.2 tonnes (9 tons)
- Possible largest adult: 14 - 14.6 meters (45.9 - 47.9 feet) long, 4.5 meters (14.7 feet) tall, 8.5 - 9.3 tonnes (9.3 - 10.2 tons)
Coria and Salgado originally found Giganotosaurus to group more closely with the theropod clade Tetanurae than to more basal (Or "primitive") theropods such as ceratosaurs, due to shared features (synapomorphies) in the legs, skull, and pelvis.
Giganotosaurus lived in Argentina alongside giant Sauropods like Limaysaurus, Andesaurus, and Argentinosaurus It's closest relatives were from the same continent, Tyrannotitan and Mapusaurus, and was also closely related to Carcharodontosaurus in Africa. It was the descendant of Allosaurus from the Jurassic period. It had a massive skull, a long tail for extra balance to help support its massive head, fairly long and strong arms with three clawed fingers, and powerful back legs with three sharp talons on their toes. Most people speculate, considering the length and musculature of its legs, that Giganotosaurus could run even 50.4 kilometers/h, much faster than Olympic Sprinters and most of all Theropods including Rex. It had over 60 8-inches (19 centimeters), blade-like teeth that could very easily pierce and rip through its unfortunate victims' flesh.
In 2005 Francois Terrier e.a. estimated that the bite force of Giganotosaurus was three times less than that of Tyrannosaurus and that the lower jaws were optimized for inflicting slicing wounds; the point of the mandibula was reinforced to this purpose with a "chin" and broadened to handle smaller prey.
The killing method of Giganotosaurus is killing by slicing through flesh and letting its prey bleed to death. An extremely brutal and unethical, but effective method.
Titanosaur fossils, belonging to Andesaurus and Limaysaurus, have been recovered near the remains of Giganotosaurus, leading to speculation that these carnivores may have preyed on the giant herbivores. Fossils of the related carcharodontosaurid Mapusaurus grouped closely together may indicate pack hunting, a behavior that could possibly extend to Giganotosaurus itself.
The original fossils of Giganotosaurus remain at the Carmen Funes Museum in Neuquen, Argentina, but replicas are common in other places, including the Australian Museum in Sydney.
Giganotosaurus was discovered in the Candeleros Formation, which was deposited during the Early Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous, approximately 98-97 million years ago.
In the Media
Despite having been discovered relatively recently, Giganotosaurus is already gaining a name for itself in popular culture.
- Giganotosaurus appears in the Walking with Dinosaurs special Land of Giants They are seen to hunt both independently and in packs, working together to bring down an Argentinosaurus.
- Giganotosaurus is also featured in the IMAX movie Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia where Dr. Rodolfo Coria shows the sites of major discoveries in Argentina.
- A Giganotosaurus also made an appearance in an episode of the ITV drama Primeval where it rampages at an airport.
- Giganotosaurus is a recurring dinosaur in Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures.
- The genetic material of Gigantosaurus in Jurassic World was in possession of InGen by the year 2014 and was used in the creation of the genetic hybrid Indominus rex.
- Giganotosaurus also appears in Jurassic World: Evolution.
- It also appeared in Dino Crisis 2 at an exaggerated size and inaccurately shown to throw an adult Tyrannosaurus.
- Giganotosaurus was featured in some concept art for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. However, Colin Trevorrow confirmed there were no plans for it to be added into the final cut.
- Giganotosaurus makes an appearance in Turok, where it only appears in the Death Valley, although its actual species was not identified in the game. Although it is similar to Mama Scarface (a Tyrannosaurus in the game) in regards to behavior and sounds, it has noticeable differences, such as it does not have any scars on its face and has three-fingered arms like its real counterpart. The Giganotosaurus in the game. Giganotosaurus is shorter and leaner than Mama Scarface but is possibly longer in terms of length.
- Giganotosaurus appears in Prehistoric Monsters Revealed.
- One of the forms of the Predacon named Magmatron is a purple Giganotosaurus.
- Giganotosaurus appears in The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island as the film's main antagonist. It is inaccurately portrayed as having plates on its back. It is referred to as a "Plated Sharptooth".
- Giganotosaurus appeared in the 2008 movie Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- Giganotosaurus appeared in the Japanese animated film You Are Umasou, but only in a flashback scene.
- Giganotosaurus is featured as an apex tier carnivore of the bleeder branch in The Isle
- Giganotosaurus was featured in Jurassic World: The Game. However, it is inaccurately shown with pronated wrists and has two fingers on each hand whereas, in real life, it has three fingers on each hand, with pronated wrists iconic to the Jurassic Park creatures.
- This dinosaur is depicted in ARK: Survival Evolved, and is one of the most difficult creatures to tame in. It is not portrayed with accuracy in this game, being the largest therapod, while fossils show Spinosaurus to be larger than Giganotosaurus.
- Giganotosaurus appeared as a skeleton in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
- The titular character of Gigantosaurus is a large Giganotosaurus.
- The Giganotosaurus is scheduled to make a good appearance in the new movie, Jurassic World: Dominion.
- Giganotosaurus made an appearance in the ROBLOX game called "Dinosaur Simulator".
- Giganotosaurus is in the arcade game version of Dinosaur King.
- Giganotosaurus appears in the ROBLOX game called Prior Extinction.