Name: Giganotosaurus carolinii
Name Meaning: Carolinii’s Giant Southern Lizard
First Described: 1995
Described By: Coria & Salgado
Classification: Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Carnosauria, Allosauroidea, Allosauria, Carcharodontosauria, Carcharodontosauridae, Giganotosaurini
Giganotosaurus is a rather famous, huge predatory dinosaur from the Candeleros Formation in Argentina. It lived in the Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, about 100 to 97 million years ago. It was 12 to 13 meters long and 4 meters high, and could have been even bigger than this. It was originally famous for being a theropod bigger than T. rex, however since this has become less of a special thing. Still, don’t underestimate this predator, since it was huge. However its relative lack of specimens (unlike T. rex) make understanding its growth patterns quite hard.
It had a very large skull, about 1.6 meters long. It was slender and elongate (so nothing like the skull of T. rex,) and with wrinkled patches on the snout tip and above the eye. The back of the skull is inclined so that the jaw joints far behind the attachment point of the neck. It had a larger brain than its close cousin Carcharodontosaurus, indicating it might have had somewhat better cognitive abilities than its cousin (assuming brain-to-body ratio is a good estimate of such things, which is of course up for debate.) It had short and thick shoulder blades, and the largest specimen known probably weighed between 6.5 and 13.8 tonnes.
Once again, feathered until proven otherwise. It lived near remains of titanosaurs Andesaurus and Limaysaurus, making it possible that Giganotosaurus hunted such large sauropods. It also lived near its cousin Mapusaurus, which has been found to hunt in packs (possibly), making it possible that Giganotosaurus did so as well (as depicted in the documentary Chased by Dinosaurus.) It has been estimated to have a top sprinting speed of 50 km/h, and wouldn’t have been able to balance well at speeds above that. However, given the size of this animal, 50 km/h is nothing to sneeze at.
It had a biting force three times less than that of T. rex, and instead was built for slicing prey, which would have allowed it to slash against soft tissue and the animal would wait for blood loss or infection to kill off the prey. It was probably one of the top predators in its ecosystem, preying not only on titanosaurs but also iguanodonts and other ornithischians, and competing against the abelisaurid Ekrixinatosaurus. It also lived alongside the dromaeosaurid Buitreraptor, the alvarezsauird Alnashetri, and the coelurosaurian Bicentenaria.
Shout out goes to philharmagically!