Colossal, fast, and extremely deadly, the Giganotosaurus was once considered the largest land carnivore to have ever lived. These extinct theropods were the apex predators of their food chain, feeding on adolescent sauropods.

Key facts

Giganotosaurus pronunciationGIG-AN-OH-TOE-SORE-US
What does Giganotosaurus mean?Giant Southern Lizard
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuCarnivorous
Length12.5 meters (41 feet)
Height5 meters (16.4 feet)
Weight8000kg (about 18.000 lbs)
Life expectancy30 years
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speed50 km/h (31 mph)
When they livedLate Cretaceous era 112-90 million years ago
Where they have been found?Argentina

When & Where

In 1993, amateur fossil collector Rubén D. Carolini discovered the lower leg bone of a theropod in southern Argentina. Experts, who quickly attended the scene, described it as belonging to the holotype specimen of a new genus, Giganotosaurus. This finding sent shockwaves around the scientific community since it was one of the first carnivorous dinosaurs discovered that could have been bigger than Tyrannosaurus.

Size & Weight

Much debate surrounds the size of the Giganotosaurus due to the lack of extensive remains. They are believed to have been 5 to 5.5 meters long and have weighed approximately 8 tons. Length estimates for the Giganotosaurus have varied between 12 and 13, with their skulls being between 1.53 and 1.80 meters long. They also had an abnormally strong neck and a robust axis bone.

Mobility & Diet

Similar to other known theropods, the Giganotosaurus was exclusively carnivorous. Their jaws had evolved to have increased mass and length, enabling faster and more impactful bites. They were homeothermic, meaning they maintained a stable body temperature. The Giganotosaurus is also believed to have been exceptionally quick, and able to reach speeds of up to 50 km/h.

Interesting Points

  • The holotype specimen found was named Giganotosaurus Carolinii, honoring the discoverer Rubén D. Carolini.
  • The Giganotosaurus lived approximately 100 million years ago in present-day Argentina.
  • They were carnivorous, developing keen senses of smell and sight to suit their deadly nature.
  • They were, for a time, the largest terrestrial carnivore ever discovered, though their size is still debated due to the limited fragments available.