Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
The earth lizzard 2019 ver by kookaburrasurvivor dd799vh-fullview
Mapusaurus art by KookaburraSurvivor
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Carcharodontosauridae
Tribe: Giganotosaurini
Genus: Mapusaurus
Coria &Selgado, 2006
Species: M. roseae
Type species
Mapusaurus roseae
Coria & Currie, 2006

Mapusaurus (Greek for "Earth lizard") is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous (late Cenomanian to early Turonian stage), about 97 to 93 million years ago, of what is now Argentina and Chile.

The type species, Mapusaurus roseae, is named for both the rose-colored rocks, in which the fossils were found and for Rose Letwin, who sponsored the expeditions which recovered these fossils.

Mapusaurus was a gigantic theropod, measuring around 12-13 meters in length and around 3.8 meters tall at the hips. It's mass is measured between 8-9 tonnes, making it one of the largest theropods that have ever existed (third largest), only surpassed by Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus (With the largest specimens being around 8 tonnes). Spinosaurus only surpasses Mapusaurus in length.


Analysis carried out by Coria and Currie definitively showed that Mapusaurus is nested within the Carcharodontosauridae family. The authors noted that the structure of the femur suggests a closer relationship with Giganotosaurus than either taxon shares with Carcharodontosaurus. They created a new monophyletic taxon based on this relationship, the subfamily Giganotosaurinae, defined as all carcharodontosaurids closer to Giganotosaurus and Mapusaurus than to Carcharodontosaurus. They tentatively included the genus Tyrannotitan and Meraxes in this new subfamily, pending publication of more detailed descriptions of the known specimens of that form.



Skeletal reconstruction of Mapusaurus by Beagliam and Lamborlobator


Huincul Formation, including Mapusaurus and other animals it lived with

The fossil remains of Mapusaurus were discovered in a bone bed containing at least seven individuals of various growth stages. Coria and Currie speculated that this may represent a long term, possibly coincidental accumulation of carcasses (some sort of predator trap) and may provide clues about Mapusaurus behavior. Other known theropod bone beds include the Allosaurus-dominated Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry of Utah, an Albertosaurus bonebed from Alberta and a Daspletosaurus bone bed from Montana.


Mapusaurus - Planet Dinosaur - Episode 5 - BBC One

Planet dinosaur

Paleontologist Rodolfo Coria, of the Museo Carmen Funes, contrary to his published article, repeated in a press-conference earlier suggestions that this congregation of fossil bones may indicate that Mapusaurus hunted in groups and worked together to take down large prey, such as the immense sauropod Argentinosaurus. If so, this would be the first substantial evidence of gregarious behavior by large theropods other than Tyrannosaurus. Although whether they might have hunted in organized packs (as wolves do) or simply attacked in a mob, is unknown. The authors interpreted the depositional environment of the Huincul Formation at the Canadon de Gato locality as a freshwater paleochannel deposit, "laid down by an ephemeral or seasonal stream in a region with arid or semi-arid climate".This bone bed is especially interesting, in light of the overall scarcity of fossilized bone within the Huincul Formation.

Specimens a fossils[]

The designated holotype for the genus and type species, M. roseae, is an isolated right nasal (MCF-PVPH-108.1, Museo Carmen Funes, Paleontología de Vertebrados, Plaza Huincul, Neuquén). Twelve paratypes have been designated, based on additional isolated skeletal elements. Taken together, the many individual elements recovered from the Mapusaurus bone bed represent most of the skeleton.

800px-Mapusaurus skulls

Reconstructed skulls of adult and juvenile

Coria and Currie diagnosed Mapusaurus as follows: "Mapusaurus n. gen. is a carcharodontosaurid theropod whose skull differs from Giganotosaurus in having thick, rugose unfused nasals that are narrower anterior to the nasal/maxilla/lacrimal junction; larger extension of the antorbital fossa onto maxilla; smaller maxillary fenestra; wider bar (interfenestral strut) between antorbital and maxillary fenestrae; lower, flatter lacrimal horn; transversely wider prefrontal in relation to lacrimal width; ventrolaterally curving laternal margin of the palpebral; shallow interdental plates; higher position of Meckelian canal; more posteriorly sloping anteroventral margin of dentary.



Mapusaurus roseae is unique in that the upper quadratojugal process of jugal splits into two prongs; small anterior mylohyoid foramen positioned above dentary contact with splenial; second and third metacarpals fused; humerus with broad distal end and little separation between condyles; brevis fossa of ilium extends deeply into excavation dorsal to ischial peduncle. It also differs from Giganotosaurus in having conical, slightly curving cervical epiphyses that taper distally; axial posterior zygapophyses joined on midline; smaller and less elaborate pre spinal lamina on midline of cervicals; remarkably sharp dorsal margin of cervical neural spines; tall, wider neural spines; curved ischiatic shaft; more slender fibula."

Other Wikis[]


In popular culture[]

  • Mapusaurus appeared on Dinosaur King.
  • Mapusaurus appeared in the documentary series Planet Dinosaur as a predator that is known to hunt in gangs and a predator to Argentinosaurus.
  • in Walking with Dinosaurs the Wonderbook, a pack of Mapusaurus led by Clint are the main villains