Giganotosaurus is the largest carnivorous dinosaur from South America. At an estimated 41 ft long, this massive dinosaur challenges even Tyrannosaurus rex for the title of largest theropod ever. Giganotosaurus occupied South America during the Late Cretaceous, 97 million years ago,
This predator is gigantic by name and gigantic by nature. It wasfirst reported by Rodolfo A. Coria and Leonardo Salgado in 1995 asthe largest predatory dinosaur of all time. This claim was based ona partial skeleton including bones from the skull, shoulder, hips,and legs, plus most of the spine. The remains were excavated fromthe Ro Limay Formation of Neuquen Province, Argentina, so it iswithout a doubt the largest theropod dinosaur from South America.However, no complete skeleton of Giganotosaurus is known, so its exact length is anestimate.
A massive jaw belonging to Giganotosaurus was described in 1998 that is eight percentlarger than the corresponding bone in the skeleton described byCoria and Salgado. This tantalizing evidence suggests a skull over6 ft long, and could mean that Giganotosaurus was even larger than Tyrannosaurus. More complete material is required to besure.
The arms of Giganotosaurus have never been found. However, since theshoulder blade is small, this suggests that the arms were smalltoo. It probably had three fingers, like closely relatedallosauroid theropods.
Its name comes from the Latin 'gigan', meaning giant; the Greek'notos', meaning Austral or southern; and the Greek 'saurus',meaning reptile. Hence, Giganotosaurus is the 'giant southern reptile'. There iscurrently only one species of Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii) named after Ruben D. Carolini who discoveredthe first skeleton in 1993.