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Giganotosaurus is an extinct genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaurs that lived around 99.6 to 97 million years ago (30 million years before Tyrannosaurus rex roamed North America). They were almost equal or a bit bigger in size compared to Carcharodontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus; but not as large as Spinosaurus.


Scientific classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Clade Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Clade Carnosauria
Family Carcharodontosauridae
Subfamily Carcharodontosaurinae
Tribe Giganotosaurini
Genus Giganotosaurus
Type species Giganotosaurus carolinii

Quick Fact sheet

Name Meaning Giant southern lizard
Pronunciation Gee-gah-note-oh-sore-us.
Geological Time Period Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous Era
Size Length – 40 to 46 ft (12.2 to 13 meters)
Height – 23 ft (7 meters)
Skull length 6.4 ft
Weight 15000 to 17000 lbs
Range/Location Argentina
Diet Carnivore
Birth Type Eggs
Running speed 31.3 mp/h (50.4 km/h)
Locomotion Bipedal

Anatomy/Physical Appearance

It had a massive body with a slender and elongated skull. Its brain was much small compared to its head. They had huge jaws with long, flat, serrated teeth. They had three-fingered clawed forelimbs. The mid-dorsal vertebrae had high spines. It had a pointed tail that helped it to balance its large body, especially while running or taking a turn.

Behavior and Adaptation

Paleontologists believe that they were the apex predator in their ecosystem. They probably roamed and hunted in packs. Their prey included Andesaurus and Limaysaurus. It is believed that they also attacked Argentinosaurus. They probably had no enemies in their natural environment, but abelisaurid theropod Ekrixinatosaurus could be its competitor. They shared their habitat with Andesaurus, Limaysaurus, Nopcsaspondylus, Iguanodont and ornithischian. Other small species that Giganotosaurus shared its environment with are Alnashetri, Bicentenaria, Buitreraptor, Pterosaurs and primitive snake Najash.

Discovery and Species

On 25th July, 1993, amateur fossil hunter Rubén Dario Carolini found the most complete specimen in Patagonia, which is now considered as the Candeleros Formation. It was described a year later. In September, 1995, Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado released the detailed description in the journal Nature. The holotype specimen was around 70% complete. It had parts of the skull, lower jaw, arms, pelvis and most of the backbone. Another sample comprising of a fragment of a lower jaw was found by Jorge Calvo in 1988.


The name Giganotosaurus has derived from Greek words “gigas” meaning ‘giant,’ “notos” meaning ‘southern’ and “sauros” meaning ‘lizard.’ The name of the type species Giganotosaurus carolinii honors Rubén Dario Carolini.

Interesting Facts

  • In 2005, François Therrien argued that Giganotosaurus’ bite force was three times less than T-rex.
  • The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, in 2007, suggested this carcharodontosaurid dinosaur genus could weigh up to 15 tons (i.e. 13.8 metric tons).
  • Replicas of Giganotosaurus can be seen in several museums across the world, but the original fossil remains are kept at the Carmen Funes Museum in Neuquen, Argentina.
  • Giganotosaurus has been depicted in documentary films and movies, including BBC series Chased By Dinosaurs, Primeval (referred to as G-rex) and 2015 film Jurassic World. It also appeared in PlayStation video game Dino Crisis 2.

Published on September 29th 2015 by under Reptiles.
Article was last reviewed on 16th September 2019.

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