Restoration of Giganotosaurus

Giganotosaurus ("giant southern lizard"[1]) was a theropod dinosaur from the Cretaceous of Argentina. It is one of the largest theropod dinosaurs known.


The length of the holotype specimen is estimated to be around 12 to 13 meters, and its weight is estimated at 6.5 to 13 tons.[2] This is slightly larger than the largest known Tyrannosaurus (by weight and possibly by length) and only slightly smaller than Spinosaurus. The same holotype had a skull estimated to be 1.8 meters long, the largest skull of any theropod discovered thus far. Another specimen has a fragmentary skull that is estimated to be even larger, at 1.95 meters.[3]

Giganotosaurus is often compared to Tyrannosaurus, but there are notable differences apart from size. The brain of Giganotosaurus was smaller than that of Tyrannosaurus[4], and its teeth were more adapted for slicing instead of crushing.


Giganotosaurus is classified as a carcharodontosaurid carnosaur, most closely related to Mapusaurus.[5]


Giganotosaurus skeleton
Giganotosaurus was first discovered in the Neuquén province of Argentina by Rubén Dario Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter. The discovery was officially reported in 1994[6], and later described in 1995 by Leonardo Salgado and Rodolfo Coria.[7] It was named Giganotosaurus carolinii, honoring the original discoverer.


Giganotosaurus shared its environment with several species of large sauropod, as well as many other dinosaurs and small animals.[8]


Pack huntingEdit

Several specimens of a close relative of Giganotosaurus, Mapusaurus, have been found fossilized together, which may indicate that they lived together and possibly hunted in packs. The same may be true for Giganotosaurus, and it has indeed been portrayed in several television programs hunting in packs.[9]


  1. Liddell & Scott (1980). Greek-English Lexicon, Abridged Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
  2. Therrien, F.; and Henderson, D.M. (2007). "My theropod is bigger than yours...or not: estimating body size from skull length in theropods". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27 (1): 108–115. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2007)27[108:MTIBTY]2.0.CO;2.
  3. Calvo, J.O. and Coria, R.A. (1998) "New specimen of Giganotosaurus carolinii (Coria & Salgado, 1995), supports it as the largest theropod ever found." Gaia, 15: 117–122. pdf link
  4. Coria, R.A. and Currie, P.J. (2002). "Braincase of Giganotosaurus carolinii (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 22(4): 802-811.
  5. Coria, R.A. and Currie, P.J. (2006). "A new carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina." Geodiversitas, 28(1): 71-118. pdf link
  6. R.A. Coria and L. Sagado, 1994, "A giant theropod from the middle Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina", Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 14(3, supplement):22A
  7. Coria RA & Salgado L (1995). A new giant carnivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous of Patagonia. Nature 377: 225-226
  8. Leanza, H.A.; Apesteguia, S.; Novas, F.E. & de la Fuente, M.S. (2004): Cretaceous terrestrial beds from the Neuquén Basin (Argentina) and their tetrapod assemblages. Cretaceous Research 25(1): 61-87. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2003.10.005 (HTML abstract)
  9. Associated Press (2006). Details Revealed About Huge Dinosaurs. ABC News US. [1]