Monday, September 27, 2010

Carcharodontosaurus ("shark-toothed reptile") was a gigantic carnivorous allosaurid dinosaur that lived approximately 98 to 93 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. It rival Tyrannosaurus rex in size, growing to a predictable length of 45 feet (13.5 meters) and weighing up to eight tons.

Paleontologists once thought that Carcharodontosaurus had the longest skull of any of the theropod dinosaurs. However, the premaxilla and quadrate bones were missing from the original African skull, which led to misinterpretation of its actual size by researchers. A more self-effacing length of five feet, four inches (1.6 meters) has now been proposed. Thus, the honor of the largest theropod skull now belongs to another huge allosaurid dinosaur, Carcharodontosaurus's close relative Giganotosaurus.

Carcharodontosaurus fossils were first established by Charles Deperet and J. Savornin in North Africa in 1927.

Originally called Megalosaurus saharicus, its name was changed in 1931 by Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach to that used today.These first fossils of Carcharodontosaurus were shattered during World War II. However, cranial material from a Carcharodontosaurus was once more discovered in North Africa in 1996 by paleontologist Paul Sereno.

Carcharodontosaurus was a carnivore, with huge jaws and long, serrated teeth up to eight inches long. It may have hunted in packs like other Allosaurs, but no fossil proof of this exists. It may have been a scavenger as well as an active predator.

Carcharodontosaurus had long, muscular legs and fossilized track ways indicate that it could run about 20 miles per hour, although there is some controversy as to whether it actually did. At eight tons, a forward fall would have been poisonous to Carcharodontosaurus, due to the inability of its small arms to brace the animal when it landed.

According to its Encephalization Quotient (brain to body weight ratio), Carcharodontosaurus may have been comparatively intelligent. Ongoing discoveries and investigate by scientists will certainly shed further light on the physiology, behavior, and ecological circumstances and interactions of Carcharodontosaurus.

Read more interesting topic about dinosaur fossils.


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