GIANTS THAT ONCE LIVED ON EARTH
Giganotosaurus (meaning “giant southern lizard/giant reptile of the South “), is a genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaurs that lived in what is now Argentina during the early Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous Period, approximately some 99.6 to 97 million years ago. It included some of the largest known terrestrial carnivores.
The bones of a GIANT new dinosaur, Giganotosaurus carolinii, were excavated in Argentina. The find was made by Rubén Dario Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter who, on 25 July 1993, discovered a skeleton in deposits of Patagonia (southern Argentina) in what is now considered the Candeleros Formation. The discovery was scientifically reported in 1994. The initial description was published by two Palaeontologists, Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado. They began the work of excavating, piecing together, and studying the bones. They waited until they had completed a full examination before announcing their findings in the September 1995 issue of the journal Nature. More than 70% of the skeleton has been unearthed so far and a clear idea of the full skeleton was gained from the artist’s impression. It is believed to be one of the largest carnivorous dinosau ever found. With a body length of 12.5m (42ft) and an estimated weight of between 6 and 8 tons, it is believed to have been even bigger than the Tyrannosaurus rex. Like T-Rex, the Giganotosaurus is classified in the Theropoda– a suborder of the Saurichia (Lizard-hipped) group of dinosaurs that were characterized by short forelimbs and an S-shaped neck. It existed an estimated 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, and appears to be quite closely related to a theropod (beast feet) that lived 50 million years previously, Allosaurus.
Giganotosaurus shares many of the physical characteristics of Allosaurus. It’s skull measuring 1.53m long, is more than twice as big as the skull of Allosaurus (75cm), while the entire length of the skeleton (12.5m) is one meter longer than “Sue”, the largest Tyrannosaurus found, and, have been at least 1,800kg (4,000pounds) heavier. It is believed to have long heavy tail, thic stocky neck, powerful jaws, scaly foot with first toe turned backwards, short forelimbs and strong thighs to support and power the gigantic body, scaly skin(possibly striped for camouflage) and, sharp teeth upto 20cm(8inch) long. Both Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus existed during Cretaceous period, which spanned the time between 65 and 144 million years ago and saw the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, proceding Tyrannosaurus by 30 million years. Giganotosaurus is thought to have evolved independently. The fact that this meat-eater had enormous dimensions suggests that it was equiped to tackle large plant-eating dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus.
Another Theropod rivaling the great size of T-Rex is the Moroccan-found Carcharodontosaurus sasaricus (“shark-toothed reptile from the Sahara”). In May, 1996, the discovery of a 1.65m (5.4ft) skull was announced by scientists from the University of Chicago. The dinosaur is estimated at being 13.7m (45ft) long, 3.65m (12ft) high, and weighing 8.3 tons. The skull reveals razor-sharp teeth that would have enabled this formidable dinosaur to slash and slice its prey with the greatest of ease.
Giganotosaurus has appeared several times in film, literature, and other media. It appears in the BBC series Chased By Dinosaurs, appearing in the episode “Land of Giants“, in which Nigel Marven travels to cretaceous Patagonia to witness their hunt of an Argentinosaurus herd. Giganotosaurus also appears in episode 3.4 of the series Primeval, where it is referred to as G-Rex by Connor Temple. Giganotosaurus serves as a template in creating the hybrid dinosaur Indominus rex in the 2015 film Jurassic World. Giganotosaurus appears partway through the PlayStation video game Dino Crisis 2 as a second antagonist, killing the one-eyed Tyrannosaurus that had previously stalked playable protagonists Dylan Morton and Regina throughout the game.