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There it is, the biggest land predator ever in South America: Giganotosaurus.
— Allen Johnson, about Giganotosaurus
in Land of Giants

Giganotosaurus (name meaning "Giant Southern Lizard") is a genus of giant, predatory carcharodontosaurid dinosaur that originated during the Early Cretaceous period in what is now South America. It was one of the largest terrestrial carnivores known, measuring 14 meters long, standing over 5 meters tall, and weighed 6–7 tons. Only Tyrannosaurus rex is larger, at a maximum of 15 meters long and 7.5 tons.

Allosaurus and other Allosaurids were close relatives of Giganotosaurus whereas the African predatory dinosaur Carcharadontosaurus was a distant cousin.

FactsEdit

Era & DiscoveryEdit

Giganotosaurus lived in South America during the Early to Middle Cretaceous period from 127–95 million years ago. It was the top predator of its time and hunted just about anything in its environment, from as small as Iguanodon to as large as Argentinosaurus. In 1993, the amateur fossil hunter Rubén D. Carolini discovered the tibia of a theropod dinosaur while driving a dune buggy in the badlands near Villa El Chocón, in the Neuquén province of Patagonia, Argentina.

In 1995, the specimen was preliminarily described in Nature by Coria and Salgado, who made it the holotype of the new genus and species: Giganotosaurus carolinii (parts of the skeleton were still encased in plaster at this time). Ever since then, many Giganotosaurus fossils have been found in parts of South America where Argentina is today.

Physical AttributesEdit

Although almost as large as Tyrannosaurus rex but slightly larger then Spinosaurus, Giganotosaurus was the biggest and alpha predator of its time and region. These were massive carnivorous dinosaurs, as they stood 16–18 feet (5–5.5 m) tall, measured 43–46 feet (13–14 m) in length, and weighed up to roughly 6–7 tons (12,000–14,000 lbs.) in weight, making Giganotosaurus one of the largest predatory dinosaurs that ever walked planet Earth, second after T. rex itself.

In addition, Giganotosaurus looked very similar to the Jurassic predator Allosaurus, despite the fact that Giganotosaurus was even larger and stronger. Giganotosaurus was depicted as being mostly brown with a white underbelly and its crest was dark green. Its legs had black spots running down the femur and white stripes along the tibia. It had a large body which ended in a long tail. It had a short neck with a large head. Its jaws were lined with long, serrated teeth designed to slice flesh. On the top of its head, above its eyes, was a small head crest. It had two relatively long arms with three digits per hand, each ending in a long, sharp curved claw. It also had a pair of long legs.

Behavior & TraitsEdit

Like many predators, Giganotosaurus was apparently pack hunter, living and hunting in numbers of five or six individuals. However, Giganotosaurus was also a solitary hunter. At least some were known to stray from the pack and go off hunting on their own for prey individually. On their own, they would be able to hunt some of the smaller animals in its ecosystem such as an Iguanodon and other small animals. A single Giganotosaurus would have a lot of trouble taking down a fully grown Argentinosaurus by itself.

Hunting in a pack enabled Giganotosaurus to tackle with larger prey, even ones as big as dinosaurs like Argentinosaurus, which were the biggest herbivores in Giganotosaurus's environment. Once they brought down and fed on an Argentinosaurus, even if it was a young Argentinosaurus, the Giganotosaurus pack wouldn't need to feed again for at least a few months.

These big dinosaur predators, they waited for the herbivores, just like crocodiles waiting at river crossings in Africa. Generally, upon finding or seeing prey, Giganotosaurus would head to the prey, catch it in its jaws and immediately devour it.

Journal EntryEdit

Giganotosaurus, "Giant Southern Lizard" or "Giga" for short, is one of the largest and apex carnivorous dinosaurs that ever walked the Earth, roaming the plans of South America during the Early Cretaceous Era. Reaching a length of more than 43 ft. long, growing to stand around 18 ft. tall, and weighing more than 6300 kilograms, the only one larger than it was Tyrannosaurus rex.

With their large leg mussels, Giganotosaurus were also relatively fastest dinosaurs, despite their large size and heavy-weight. Their bite was almost on par with T. rex, but fighting with other apex predators alone, even when its one of their own, could still lead to a lethal outcome. Giganotosaurus was similar in appearance to Allosaurus, with three-fingered claw hands and crests over their eyes, however, they were far larger than the Jurassic carnivores.

When they are alone, Giganotosaurus often attack using bite and run tactics, biting then retreating. But when pack hunting, one Giganotosaurus would act as a distraction while the others dashed in to take chunks out of their prey. Like any large theropod, ambushing with sneak attacks is a solid strategy for them as well. Giganotosaurus was so large it could bring down even the large sauropod dinosaurs.

— Allen, in his Journal, about Giganotosaurus

GalleryEdit