Welcome to Terrific Tetanurae! This post is part 3 of a series on the Giganotosaurini.
For part 1, click here.
For part 2, click here.
It’s 118 million years ago in the Cretaceous of Argentina. A silent predator waits to kill its prey. The predator is Tyrannotitan chubutensis, the oldest known member of the Giganotosaurini. The prey is a lone sauropod. With a sudden strike, the theropod brings down the animal and starts its meal.
Tyrannotitan is rather poorly documented, the first description of the animal a brief 4 pages. It has been found that Tyrannotitan is the most basal of Giganotosaurini, and also the second largest. This killer is estimated to have been around 41 feet long from snout to tail. The fossils of this beast were found in 2005 by Fernando Novas, Silvina de Valais, Pat Vickers-Rich and Tom Rich in Chubut Province, Argentina. The fossils belong to the Cerro Barcino Formation, which has also yielded the remains of the sauropod Chubutisaurus and the ceratosaurid Genyodectes.
The presence of giganotosaurine carcharodontosaurids 118 million years ago greatly increases the time span in which the group lived on this planet. Unbeknownst to Tyrannotitan, future giganotosaurines, like Mapusaurus roseae, would come to dominate their ecosystems as top predators. Tyrannotitan was ahead of its time, its descendants becoming the last great lineage of the allosauroid dinosaurs.
1. Novas, F. E.; S. de Valais; P. Vickers-Rich; T. Rich .2005. “A large Cretaceous theropod from Patagonia, Argentina, and the evolution of carcharodontosaurids”. Naturwissenschaften 92 (5): 226–230.
2. Novas, Fernando E. .2013. “Evolution of the carnivorous dinosaurs during the Cretaceous: The evidence from Patagonia”. Cretaceous Research 45: 174–215.
3. Rey L. V.; Holtz, Jr T. R . .2007. Dinosaurs: the most complete, up-to-date encyclopedia for dinosaur lovers of all ages . United States of America: Random House.
4. Weishampel, David B; et al. .2004. “Dinosaur distribution (Early Cretaceous, South America).” In: Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 563-570.
5. Rauhut, O.W.M. .2004. “Provenance and anatomy of Genyodectes serus, a large-toothed ceratosaur ( Dinosauria: Theropoda) from Patagonia”. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 24(4):894-902.