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Giganotosaurus
Fossil range: Late Cretaceous, 97 Ma
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Replica skeleton at the Australian Museum in Sydney
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Carcharodontosauridae
Subfamily: Giganotosaurinae
Genus: Giganotosaurus
Coria & Salgado, 1995
Species
  • G. carolinii Coria & Salgado, 1995 (type)

Giganotosaurus (pronounced "JYE-ga-NO-toe-SORE-us"[1]) is a genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaur that lived around 97 million years ago during the early Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period.[2] It is one of the largest known terrestrial carnivores, slightly larger than Tyrannosaurus, but smaller than Spinosaurus. Its fossils have been found in Argentina.

The name means 'giant southern lizard', derived from the Ancient Greek gigas/γίγας meaning 'giant', notos/νότος meaning 'south wind' and -saurus/-σαύρος meaning 'lizard'.[3]

Contents

Discovery and species

Size (in orange) compared with selected giant theropods

Giganotosaurus carolinii was named for Ruben Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter who, in 1993, discovered the fossils in deposits of Patagonia (southern Argentina) in what is now considered the Candeleros Formation.[2] It was published by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado in the journal Nature in 1995.[4]

The holotype specimen's (MUCPv-Ch1) skeleton was about 70% complete and included the skull, pelvis, leg bones and most of the backbone. Various estimates find that it measured somewhere between 12.2 and 12.5 m (40 and 41 ft) in length, and between 6.5 and 13.3 tons in weight.[5][6][7] A second, more fragmentary, specimen (MUCPv-95) has also been recovered. It is only known from a portion of the left dentary which is 8% larger than the equivalent bone from the holotype. This largest Giganotosaurus specimen is estimated to represent an individual with a skull length of 195 cm (6.4 ft), compared to the holotype's estimated at 1.80 m (5.9 ft) skull, making it likely that Giganotosaurus had the largest skull of any known theropod.[8] Giganotosaurus surpassed Tyrannosaurus in mass by at least half a ton (the upper size estimate for T. rex is 9.1 t).[7]

Skeleton cast, Haifa

Paleobiology

Giganotosaurus carolinii was slightly larger than Tyrannosaurus rex, but had a brain only about half as big as those of tyrannosaurids.[9] The teeth of Tyrannosaurus were longer and wider, and more variable in size. The teeth of Giganotosaurus were shorter, less variable and narrower than those of Tyrannosaurus, and were more adapted for slicing flesh.[10] A well-developed olfactory region means that it probably had a good sense of smell. Its skull, although large, had a slender build.

Titanosaur fossils have been recovered near the remains of Giganotosaurus, leading to speculation that these carnivores may have preyed on the giant herbivores. Fossils of related carcharodontosaurids grouped closely together may indicate pack hunting, a behavior that could possibly extend to Giganotosaurus itself.

Blanco and Mazzetta (2001) estimated that Giganotosaurus might have been capable of running at speeds up to 14 metres per second (31 mph).[11]

Classification

Artist's impression

Giganotosaurus, along with relatives like Tyrannotitan, Mapusaurus and Carcharodontosaurus, are members of the carnosaur family Carcharodontosauridae. Both Giganotosaurus and Mapusaurus have been placed in their own subfamily Giganotosaurinae by Coria and Currie in 2006 as more carcharodontosaurid dinosaurs are found and described, allowing interrelationships to be calculated.[5]

In popular culture

Artist's impression

The original fossils of Giganotosaurus remain at the Carmen Funes Museum in Neuquen, Argentina, but replicas are common in other places, including the Australian Museum in Sydney. Despite having been discovered relatively recently, Giganotosaurus is already gaining a name for itself in popular culture. Giganotosaurus was featured in Dino Crisis 2, but was somewhat exaggerated in size; the game's giganotosaur was said to be over 7 metres tall and 20 meters long, when the actual creature was about 4 metres tall and 13 meters long. It was capable of throwing an adult Tyrannosaurus. Giganotosaurus appears in the Chased by Dinosaurs special Land of Giants. They are seen to hunt both independently and in packs, working together to bring down an Argentinosaurus. Giganotosaurus is also featured in the IMAX movie Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia where Dr. Rodolfo Coria shows the sites of major discoveries in Argentina. It also has a robotic animal kit, from the popular Zoids series, released after the species known as Gojulas Giga. Giganotosaurs appear in the Dinotopia story The World Beneath as unexpected protagonists in the Rainy Basin. A Giganotosaurus made a brief appearance in the 2008 movie Journey to the Center of the Earth. Giganotosaurus also appeared in the third season of Primeval, where it was portrayed as being capable of running huge distances at high speeds despite its massive size and weight. It attacks a jumbo jet and kills wildlife expert Nigel Marven.

References

  1. ^ Academy of Natural Sciences: Giganotosaurus
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ Liddell & Scott (1980). Greek-English Lexicon, Abridged Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.  
  4. ^ Coria RA & Salgado L (1995). A new giant carnivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous of Patagonia. Nature 377: 225-226
  5. ^ a b 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. ^ Seebacher, F. 2001. A new method to calculate allometric length-mass relationships of dinosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 21(1): 51–60.
  7. ^ a b 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.  
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Hecht, Jeff (1998). "Contenders for the crown". Earth 7 (1): 16–17.  
  10. ^ Giganotosaurus By Sean Henahan, Access Excellence
  11. ^ Blanco, R. Ernesto; Mazzetta, Gerardo V. (2001). "A new approach to evaluate the cursorial ability of the giant theropod Giganotosaurus carolinii". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 46 (2): 193–202. http://www.app.pan.pl/article/item/app46-193.html.  

External links

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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Taxonavigation

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Superordo: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Taxon: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Infraordo: Tetanurae
Taxon: Avetheropoda
Taxon: Carnosauria
Superfamilia: Allosauroidea
Taxon: Carcharodontosauria
Familia: Carcharodontosauridae
Genus: Giganotosaurus
Species: G. carolinii

Name

Giganotosaurus Coria et Salgado,1995

Vernacular Name

日本語: ギガノトサウルス
中文: 南方巨獸龍

Simple English

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Giganotosaurus
Fossil range: mid-Cretaceous
File:Giganotosaurus AustMus
Replica of Giganotosaurus at the Australian Museum in Sydney.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Carcharodontosauridae
Genus: Giganotosaurus
Coria & Salgado, 1995
Species

G. carolinii Coria & Salgado, 1995 (type)

Giganotosaurus is one of the biggest carnivorous dinosaurs yet discovered. It had a length of 41-44ft. The Giganotosaurus weighed about 8 tons and stood 13 ft tall at the hips. It walked on two legs and had a brain the shape and size of a banana. It had enormous jaws with 6-inch long teeth in a 6-foot (1.8 m) long skull. Giganotosaurus was a theropod from the mid-Cretaceous, living about 100-95 million years ago.

It is a dinosaur that means "giant southern lizard". Its fossil was found in Argentina in 1994. 70 percent of the skeleton has been found. Near the Giganotosaurus, fossils were found of 100-foot-long plant eaters. It is thought that these were victims of the Giganotosaurus.

Giganotosaurus was probably supported as one of the the largest carnivorous dinosaur of all time it weighed nearly 8.2 tons and was nearly 18 feet [6.5m ] feet high. Recent discoveries of Giganotosaurus show lengths of 41-44 ft. . It may have preyed on the largest sauropods such as Argentinosaurus as it did in packs in the walking with dinosaurs special, chased by dinosaurs, land of giants, and dinosaurs giants of patagonia. Scientists are looking for more giganotosaurus fossils and maybe they will find some.


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