Skull of Gigantosaurus
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Gigantosaurus

Giganotosaurus (Giganotosaurus, Giant southern lizard) is a dinosaur that lived about 100 to 90 million years ago during the mid Cretaceous period and is considered to be the largest known terrestrial carnivore. more...

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About 70 percent of the holotype specimen's (MUCPv-Ch1) skeleton was recovered by paleontologists, including the skull, pelvis, leg bones, and most of the backbone. An eight percent longer specimen (MUCPv-95) also has been recovered. The largest Giganotosaurus specimen is estimated to be 14.3 m (47 ft) in length and weigh up to 8,000 kg (9 tons), surpassing Tyrannosaurus rex by almost 2 m and 2,000 kg (6.5 ft and 2.2 tons). The specimen's skull alone measures 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in).

Though longer and heavier than T. rex, G. carolinii was relatively slender and had a smaller braincase in comparison. However, even though the brain of Giganotosaurus was the size of a banana, a well-developed olfactory region indicates that it may have had a good sense of smell.

Titanosaurid fossils have been recovered near the remains of Giganotosaurus, leading to speculation that these carnivores may have preyed on the giant herbivores.

G. carolinii was named for Ruben Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter who discovered the fossils in the deposits of the Rio Limay Formation of Patagonia, in 1993. The genus name "Giganotosaurus" is derived from the Greek gigas ("giant"), notos ("south wind") and sauros ("lizard"). Both names were published by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado in the journal Nature in 1995. The original fossils remain at the Carmen Funes Museum in Neuquen, Argentina, though replicas are commonly found in other places. The family of Giganotosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus is actually Carcharodontosauridae.

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