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Cretaceous Giants

The T-Rex may be the darling of Hollywood, but there are two other dinosaurs that reign supreme when it comes to being the largest carnivores to have roamed our planet.


Wait, there were dinosaurs even bigger than the Tyrannosaurus rex roaming the earth? Oh yeah… and two that we know of - the Giganotosaurus and the Spinosaurus were also carnivores. These behemoths inhabited different parts of our planet and lived millions of years prior to the T-rex (collective sigh of relief for our herbivore friends) during the early Cretaceous period.


The Giganotosaurus - Greek for “giant southern lizard” - held domain over what is now Argentina. Measuring 43 feet and weighing up to 14 tons, the Giganotosaurus is a member of the Carcharodontosauridae or shark-toothed lizard family, and lived about 30 million years before the T-Rex. It walked upright and had a massive skull with tall, skinny sharp teeth, which were serrated on either side. Like the T-rex, it had short arms but it sported a thin, pointed tail that made it especially agile even when running at top speed. Studies suggest that it could run up to 31 mph, while the T-rex is thought to have maxed out at around 25 mph.


The Spinosaurus or “spine lizard” roamed the swamps of North Africa (modern day Egypt and Morocco) and was at least 50 feet long and weighed up to 23 tons. This dino had very long spines (almost 7 feet!) that formed a sort of sail along its spine. Recent studies suggest that the spinosaurus was the first dinosaur to be able to swim, and likely spent most of its life in the water - feeding off fish with its cone-shaped, interlocking teeth.


By comparison, the T-Rex lived in both North America and Mongolia. It could reach 40 feet in length and weigh up to 9 tons. So yeah, these dinos were quite a bit bigger, but they weren't the largest dinosaurs... by a long shot.


The title for the world's largest dinosaur is still up in the air due to difficulties in finding complete fossils, and differences in methods used to estimate size and mass. Main contenders for the title belong to the Sauropod group - a collection of four-legged herbivores with long necks and tails. The Patagotitan for example is believed to have weighed over 70 tons and can reach 120 feet in length. Based on recent analyses, the Argentinosaurus is thought to have been between 120 - 130 feet long and weighed almost 100 tons. At these measurements, our large carnivorous friends dwarf in comparison!


Learn more:

Spinosaurus: The Largest Carnivorous Dinosaur

Giganotosaurus: Facts about the "Giant Southern Lizard"

First Swimming Dinosaur was "Half-Duck, Half-Crocodile"

Titanosaurs: 8 of the World's Biggest Dinosaurs

Image by Fossil Era

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