This predator is gigantic by name and gigantic by nature. It was first reported by Rodolfo A. Coria and Leonardo Salgado in 1995 as the largest predatory dinosaur of all time. This claim was based on a partial skeleton including bones from the skull, shoulder, hips, and legs, plus most of the spine. The remains were excavated from the Río Limay Formation of Neuquén Province, Argentina, so it is without a doubt the largest theropod dinosaur from South America. However, no complete skeleton of Giganotosaurus is known, so its exact length is an estimate.
A massive jaw belonging to Giganotosaurus was described in 1998 that is eight percent larger than the corresponding bone in the skeleton described by Coria and Salgado. This tantalizing evidence suggests a skull over 6 ft long, and could mean that Giganotosaurus was even larger than Tyrannosaurus. More complete material is required to be sure.
The arms of Giganotosaurus have never been found. However, since the shoulder blade is small, this suggests that the arms were small too. It probably had three fingers, like closely related allosauroid 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 is currently only one species of Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii) named after Rubén D. Carolini who discovered the first skeleton in 1993.