STL Science Center

STL Science Center

13 July 2011

Discovering a Giant

Giganotosaurus was found in the following sequence of events:

Giganotosaurus carolinii was named for Ruben Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter who, in 1993, discovered the fossils in deposits of Patagonia (southern Argentina) in what is now considered the Candeleros Formation. The initial description was published by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado in the journal Nature in 1995.
The holotype specimen's (MUCPv-Ch1) skeleton was about 70% complete and included the skull, pelvis, leg bones and most of the backbone. Various estimates find that it measured somewhere between 12.2 and 13 m (40 and 43 ft) in length, and between 6.5 and 13.3 tons in weight. A second, more fragmentary, specimen (MUCPv-95) has also been recovered. It is only known from a portion of the left dentary which is 8% larger than the equivalent bone from the holotype.
Giganotosaurus' discoverer, being an amateur, is not very well reported on around the internet. The scientists, though, Coria and Salgado, do pop up from time to time. The group that was involved in digging up the animal, including Carolini, Salgado, and Coria, did pose for a picture that we have here:
L to R: Unknown, Salgado, Corilini, Coria

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