Imagine a creature so massive that it’s considered one of the largest theropods to have ever existed yet so agile that it could reach speeds up to 20 m/h. That animal is the Carcharodontosaurus. The carnivorous dinosaur is one of the longest and heaviest dinosaurs ever discovered, even larger than the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Key Facts

Carcharodontosaurus pronunciationKar-KAR-o-don-toe-sore-us
What does Carcharodontosaurus mean?Shark lizard
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuCarnivorous
Length13.0 meters (42.6 feet)
Height3.5 meters (11.5 feet)
Weight6-8.5 tons (about 17000 lbs)
Life expectancy35 years
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speed32 km/h (20 mph)
When they livedLate Cretaceous era 98-94 million years ago
Where they have been found?North Africa

When & Where

The discovery of Carcharodontosaurus dates back to 1924 when two teeth were found in western Algeria. This newfound species was initially attributed to a new taxon, Megalosaurus saharicus, and later to an already existing subgenus, Dryptosaurus. A decade later, paleontologist Ernst Stromer described partial remains in the form of skulls and teeth excavated in Central Egypt. Stromer noticed the similarities between his fragments and those found in Algeria, and concluded that this new species required its own genus, Carcharodontosaurus.

Size & Weight

The Carcharodontosaurus was monstrous in size. The largest species could reach lengths of 13 meters, and a height of 3.5 meters. As mentioned above, the discerning feature of the Carcharodontosaurus was its immense jaw size and long, indented teeth. Skulls up to 1.6 meters long have been attributed to the Carcharodontosaurus.

Mobility & Diet

The Carcharodontosaurus is one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs ever discovered. Despite their size, they were extremely quick, reaching speeds up to 20 miles per hour. It was a theropod, which means it had three-toed limbs. They were exclusively carnivorous and their serrated teeth had evolved to suit their diet, reaching lengths of 20 centimeters.

Interesting Points

  • The name Carcharodontosaurus comes from the shark genus, Carcharodon, itself meaning “Sharp Toothed”.
  • They preyed upon large herbivorous, or plant-eating, sauropods.
  • The Carcharodontosaurus survived for nearly 40 million years. 
  • Like most theropods, they were exclusively carnivorous.
  • The truly distinguishing feature of the Carcharodontosaurus was their abnormally large jaws and long, serrated teeth.