Cool Facts About Giganotosaurus

10 Cool Facts About Giganotosaurus


An up-and-comer in the elite club of huge, terrifying, meat-eating dinosaurs, Giganotosaurus has lately been attracting almost as much press as Tyrannosaurus rex and Spinosaurus. On the following article, youll discover 10 fascinating Facts About Giganotosaurus and why, pound for pound, the Giant Southern Lizard may have been even more fearsome than its better-known relatives.

The Name Giganotosaurus Has Nothing to Do with Gigantic

A Giganotosaurus getting its teeth cleaned (Sergey Krasovskiy).

A Giganotosaurus getting its teeth cleaned (Sergey Krasovskiy).Giganotosaurus (pronounced GEE-gah-NO-toe-SORE-us) is Greek for giant southern lizard, not gigantic lizard, as its often mistranslated (and mispronounced, as gigantosaurus). This common error can be attributed to the numerous prehistoric animals that do, in fact, partake of the giganto roottwo of the most notable examples being the giant feathered dinosaur Gigantoraptor and the giant prehistoric snake Gigantophis. 

Giganotosaurus Was Bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex

Giganotosaurus  vs t-rex
Giganotosaurus carolinii vs Tyrannosaurus rex by Greg Paul

Giganotosaurus carolinii vs Tyrannosaurus rex by Greg PaulPart of what has made Giganotosaurus so famous, so quickly, is the fact that it slightly outweighed Tyrannosaurus rex: full-grown adults may have tipped the scales at about 10 tons, compared to a little over nine tons for a female T. rex (which outweighed the male of the species). Even still, Giganotosaurus wasnt the biggest meat-eating dinosaur of all time; that honor, pending further fossil discoveries, belongs to the truly humongous Spinosaurus of Cretaceous Africa.

Giganotosaurus May Have Preyed on Argentinosaurus

Argentinosaurus chased by Giganotosaurus by WillDynamo55

Argentinosaurus chased by Giganotosaurus by WillDynamo55Direct proof is lacking, but the discovery of the bones of the giant titanosaur dinosaur Argentinosaurus in the proximity of those of Giganotosaurus hints at a predator-prey relationship. Since its hard to imagine a lone Giganotosaurus taking down a 50-ton Argentinosaurus adult, this may be a hint that this late Cretaceous meat-eater hunted in packs.

Giganotosaurus Was the Largest Meat-Eating Dinosaur of South America


Although it wasnt the largest theropod of the Mesozoic Era  that honor, as stated previously, belongs to the African SpinosaurusGiganotosaurus takes the crown as the largest meat-eating dinosaur of Cretaceous South America. (Fittingly enough, its presumed prey Argentinosaurus holds the title of largest South American titanosaur.)  South America, by the way, is where the very first dinosaurs evolved way back during the middle Triassic period, about 230 million years ago.

Giganotosaurus Preceded T. Rex by 30 Million Years

The Giganotosaurus lived during the the early Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 97 million years ago. The T. Rex lived during the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 67 to 66 million years ago

Giganotosaurus prowled the plains and woodlands of South America about 95 million years ago, a whopping 30 million years before its more famous relative, Tyrannosaurus rex, reared its head in North America. Oddly enough, though, it was a near-contemporary of the biggest known meat-eating dinosaur, Spinosaurus. Why were the meat-eating dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous period comparatively petite compared to their middle Cretaceous forebears?

No one knows, but it may have had something to do with climate or the relative availability of prey.

Giganotosaurus             Tyrannosaurus        

PeriodEarly Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period (97 million years ago)Upper Cretaceous Period (67 to 65.5 million years ago)
Length12 15 m (40-46 feet)12-15 m ( 40-50 feet)
MovementBiped; walked on two large, powerful back legs; fairly agile; could travel up to 31 mph.Bipedal, walked upright; powerful tail allowed it to move quickly; could run up to 45 mph.
DietCarnivorous; preyed on herbivore dinosaursCarnivorous; preyed on herbivorous dinosaurs, other T. Rex, scavenge
EtymologyThe name Giganotosaurus means giant southern lizard from Greek gigas (帠巹帠帢) meaning giant, notos (彖怷) meaning southern and -sauros (-帢怷) meaning lizard.The name Tyrannosaurus means tyrant lizard, from Greek tyrannos (帢彖彖怷) meaning tyrant, and sauros (帢彃羊怷) meaning lizard.
LocationSouth AmericaWestern North America, present Mongolia
SpecimensJuly 1993 discovery first skeleton 70% complete.Partial skeleton found in 1902. More than 30 partial Tyrannosaurus specimens have been found since. Over 30 specimens exist.
Height7 m (23 feet)4-7 m (15-23 feet)
First discovered19931874
IntroductionGiganotosaurus (giant southern lizard) is a genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaur.Tyrannosaurus ( tyrant lizard) is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur.
SpeciesG. caroliniiT. Rex
HeadLarger than most adult humans; relatively small brain; long skull; back of the skull had a steep forward incline.Massive, thick skull; mouth full of serrated teeth .
TeethSharp, 8-inch teeth; short, narrow with serrated edgesSerrated, conical, continually replaced
Arms2 short, powerful arms with sharp claws on the end of its three-fingered hands.2 puny arms, couldnt reach its mouth, two-fingered hands.
TailThin, pointed tailPowerful, pointed tail

Giganotosaurus Was Speedier Than T. rex

Giganotosaurus by Alain Beneteau
Giganotosaurus by Alain Beneteau

There has been a lot of debate lately about how fast Tyrannosaurus rex could run; some experts insist this supposedly fearsome dinosaur could only attain a top speed of a relatively pokey 10 miles per hour. But based on a detailed analysis of its skeletal structure, it seems that it was a bit fleeter, perhaps capable of sprints of 20mph or more when chasing down prey, at least for short periods of time.

(Bear in mind that Giganotosaurus wasnt technically a tyrannosaur, but a type of theropod known as a carcharodontosaur.)

Giganotosaurus Had an Unusually Small Brain for its Size

Giganotosaurus skull

Giganotosaurus skull It may have been bigger and faster than Tyrannosaurus rex, but oddly enough, they seems to have been a relative dimwit by middle Cretaceous standards, with a brain only about half the size of its more famous cousin, relative to its body weight. Adding insult to injury, to judge by its long, narrow skull, their tiny brain appears to have been the approximate shape and weight of a banana (which had yet to evolve 100 million years ago).

Giganotosaurus Was Discovered by an Amateur Fossil Hunter

Replica skeleton at the Australian Museum in Sydney

Not all dinosaur discoveries can be credited to trained professionals. Giganotosaurus was unearthed in the Patagonian region of Argentina, in 1993, by an amateur fossil hunter named Ruben Dario Carolini. The paleontologists who examined the type specimen acknowledged Carolinis contribution by naming the new dinosaur Giganotosaurus carolinii.

To Date, No One Has Identified a Complete Giganotosaurus Skeleton

Giganotosaurus fossil replica

As is the case with many dinosaurs, Giganotosaurus was  “diagnosed” based on incomplete fossil remains, in this case a set of bones representing a single adult specimen. The skeleton discovered by Ruben Carolini in 1993 is about 70 percent complete, including the skull, hips, and most of the back and leg bones. To date, researchers have identified mere fragments of this dinosaur’s skull, belonging to a second individual–which is still enough to peg this dinosaur as a carcharodontosaur 

As is the case with many dinosaurs, it was  diagnosed based on incomplete fossil remains, in this case a set of bones representing a single adult specimen. The skeleton discovered by Ruben Carolini in 1993 is about 70 percent complete, including the skull, hips, and most of the back and leg bones. To date, researchers have identified mere fragments of this dinosaurs skull, belonging to a second individualwhich is still enough to peg this dinosaur as a carcharodontosaur.

Giganotosaurus Was Closely Related to Carcharodontosaurus

Tyrannotitan, a close relative of Giganotosaurus (Wikimedia Commons)

Theres something about giant predatory dinosaurs that inspires paleontologists to come up with cool-sounding names. Carcharodontosaurus (great white shark lizard) and Tyrannotitan (giant tyrant) were both close cousins of Giganotosaurus, though the first lived in northern Africa rather than South America. (The exception to this terrifying-name rule is the plain-vanilla-sounding Mapusaurus, aka the earth lizard, another plus-sized of its relative.)

Those are some Facts About Giganotosaurus, but you canfind more oin here about Giganotosaurus.

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