Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Mark Witton's illustration of Giganotosaurus carolinii
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryote
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Carcharodontosauridae
Tribe: Giganotosaurini
Genus: Giganotosaurus
Coria &Selgado, 1995
Species: G. carolinii
Type species
Giganotosaurus carolinii
Coria & Selgado, 1995

Giganotosaurus (meaning "giant southern lizard") is an extinct genus of carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaurs that lived in the Cenomanian of Late Cretaceous Argentina 99.6 - 97 mya.[1][2]

The holotype was discovered in the Candeleros Formation of Patagonia in 1993, and is about 70% complete. The animal was named Giganotosaurus carolinii in 1995; the genus name translates as "giant southern lizard" and the specific name honors the discoverer, Rubén D. Carolini.

A dentary bone, a tooth and some tracks, discovered before the holotype, were later assigned to this animal. The genus attracted much interest and became part of a scientific debate about the maximum sizes of theropod dinosaurs.[3]


The Giganotosaurus means "the giant southern lizard", as the Megalosaurus was the "giant lizard". It appeared superficially similar to other Carcharodontosaurs such as Carcharodontosaurus and Mapusaurus.[4]


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.


An up to date Giganotosaurus skeletal reconstruction by Dan Folkes

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 8.5 tonnes in weight, 3.5 - 4 meters tall at the hips, and 12.7 meters (41.6 feet) in length. A second specimen (MMCh-PV-95), was estimated at 2-6.6% larger.[5]

This larger Giganotosaurus specimen was estimated to represent an individual 12 - 13.5 meters long that was about 4 meter tall at the hips and weighed about 9-10.5 tonnes. Due to the unknown extent of individual variation, estimates of cranial fragments like these are rather unreliable and should be taken with caution. 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.[6][7][8]


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. In 1996 Sereno and colleagues found Giganotosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Acrocanthosaurus to be closely related within the superfamily Allosauroidea, and grouped them in the family Carcharodontosauridae.[9]

Features shared between these genera include the lacrimal and postorbital bones forming a broad "shelf" over the orbit, and the squared front end of the lower jaw.[10][11]


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. Giganotosaurus lived in Argentina alongside giant sauropods such as Limaysaurus and Andesaurus. Its closest relatives, Tyrannotitan and Mapusaurus, were from the same continent and was also closely related to Carcharodontosaurus in Africa.[12][13][14][15]

It was a distant relative 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 30km/h. It had over 76 8-inch (20 centimeters), blade-like teeth that were built for slashing and bleeding out prey.[16][17][18]

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 bleeding wounds; the point of the mandibula was reinforced to this purpose with a "chin" and broadened to handle smaller prey.[19]

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.[20][21]

Fossils of the related carcharodontosaurid Mapusaurus grouped closely together may indicate pack hunting, a behavior that could possibly extend to Giganotosaurus itself.[22]


Comparison of Tyrannosaurus rex and Giganotosaurus featuring silhouettes by Dan Folkes

In a study from 2021, A. J. Rowe and Snively estimated a bite force of 24,977 Newtons (~2.5 metric tons) for Giganotosaurus.

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.[23]

Notable Specimens[]

Giganotosaurus skullreconstruction

MUCPv-Ch1 (holotype) skull compared to MMCh-PV-95 skull (by Dan Folkes)

  • MUCPv-Ch1 is the holotype of Giganotosaurus, discovered in 1995, known from a partial skull, cervical, dorsal, sacral, and caudal vertebrae, ribs, hip bones, left and right femurs, left tibia nd fibula, and scapulae. Estimated at 12 - 12.7 m long.
  • MMCh-PV-95 is a large Giganotosaurus specimen, estimated to be 12 - 13.5 m long. Known from a dentary.

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.
  • 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. Giganotosaurus is shorter and leaner than Mama Scarface but is possibly longer in terms of length.
  • Giganotosaurus appears in Prehistoric Monsters Revealed.
  • In the Transformers franchise, one of the forms of a Predacon named Magmatron is a purple Giganotosaurus.
  • The Land Before Time Giganotosaurus

    Giganotosaurus in Universal's The Land Before Time.

    Giganotosaurus appears in The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island as the film's main antagonist. It is portrayed as having plates on its back and resembles the skeletal diagrams of Giganotosaurus. It is referred to as a "Plated Sharptooth".
  • 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.

Other Wikis[]




  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/377224a0
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724634.1994.10011592
  3. https://www.thecodontia.com/blog/i-was-wrong-about-giganotosaurus-not-clickbait
  4. https://www.thecodontia.com/theropods
  5. https://www.skeletaldrawing.com/home/mass-estimates-north-vs-south-redux772013
  6. https://www.npr.org/2015/06/14/414286692/bankrolling-a-dinosaur-dig-and-unearthing-a-giant-the-giganotosaurus
  7. http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/tmp/papers/Mazzetta-et-al_04_SA-dino-body-size.pdf
  8. https://dinoweb.ucoz.ru/_fr/4/A_new_method_to.pdf
  9. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1996Sci...272..971C/abstract
  10. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1671/0272-4634%282002%29022%5B0802%3ATBOGCD%5D2.0.CO%3B2
  11. https://anatomypubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ar.24602?af=R
  12. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3979427?origin=crossref
  13. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2307/4018414
  14. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1671/0272-4634%282007%2927%5B108%3AMTIBTY%5D2.0.CO%3B2
  15. https://www.investigacionyciencia.es/revistas/investigacion-y-ciencia/termes-prehistricos-atrapados-en-mbar-215/dinosaurios-carnvoros-de-sudamrica-6530
  16. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/battle-of-the-giant-theropods-37868070/
  17. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40662857_New_specimen_of_Giganotosaurus_carolinii_Coria_Salgado_1995_supports_it_as_the_largest_theropod_ever_found
  18. https://www.pure.ed.ac.uk/ws/files/8232966/PDF_BrusatteSereno2008AllosauroidPhylogeny.pdf
  19. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14772019.2011.630927
  20. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2005NW.....92..226N/abstract
  21. https://web.archive.org/web/20160930130941/http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0417_060417_large_dino.html
  22. https://www.app.pan.pl/article/item/app46-193.html
  23. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0157793