|1st Species||Giganotosaurus carolinii|
|Time Range||99.6-97 mya|
|Name Meaning||Giant southern reptile|
|Physical Dimensions||12.5 meters long|
Giganotosaurus is a carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Argentina. It was named in 1995 by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado. It was one of the largest theropods, and is often times mentioned as a giant carnivore bigger than the famous Tyrannosaurus.
Giganotosaurus was a giant theropod with a semi-bulky body, a long tail, short arms with 3 fingers on each hand, a large head with a mouth containing lots of big teeth, and a pair of horn-like crests atop its head. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.
Giganotosaurus was a predator, preying on iguanodonts, mid-sized sauropods, small pterosaurs, and dromaeosaurs. Its teeth had knife-like serrations from back to back, and were used to slice off pieces of flesh from the bodies of large prey.
Like most other allosauroids, Giganotosaurus was an apex predator that focused on hunting large-bodied prey, often times using its serrated, knife-like teeth as efficient weapons. In order to hunt, it would would rush up to a large ornithopod or mid-sized sauropods, bite a large chunk of flesh off its body with its jaws, and let the herbivore attempt to run away, as blood loss would weaken its target and allow it to finish it off with another deadly bite. Due to its leg proportions, it wasn't the fastest runner; however, this would not have affected its prey preferences, as it was able to keep up with many of its prey items. Being a large theropod, Giganotosaurus was assumed to be a solitary hunter at first; however, a large bonebed containing multiple remains of Mapusaurus (another carcharodontosaurid very closely related to it) had brought the possibility of a gang-hunting behavior.
In popular cultureEdit
Giganotosaurus was introduced to the public in the 1995 book Dinotopia: The World Beneath (which was released in the same year that it was discovered), where a trapped juvenile individual gets freed by the main character, his friend, and his Protoceratops guide; later, the father finds out about this, and as a token of gratitude, he protects the trio from the marauding Tyrannosaurus that stalk the cavern and allows them to enter the ancient ruins. Since then, it has seen a decent boost in popularity, having been featured in major pieces of media such as The Land Before Time, Chased by Dinosaurs, and Primeval, where it is depicted in a more brutish light; it is also commonly hyped up as a gigantic predator considerably bigger than the Tyrannosaurus, which is often used as a way to elicit respect and fear from the audience.