Carcharodontosaurus, named for the great white shark, Carcharodon, was a giant predator that lived in the Cenomanian age, which was the first part of the Late Cretaceous. Remains have been found in North Africa as well as Egypt to Niger.
Genera and Species
Classification: Theropoda, Carnosauria, Carcharodontosauridae
Species: C. saharicus, C. iguidensis.
Senior synonyms: Megalosaurus saharicus, M. africanus and Dryptosaurus saharicus
Carcharodontosaurus had a huge skull (5 ft. long) with very sharp, straight teeth that were like huge knives and serrated in a similar manner to the great white sharks. These teeth could slice through the flesh of prey like sharp blades. If the rest of the body was to the same scale as the skull, this animal, together with Giganotosaurus from South America, could have been even larger than Tyrannosaurus, but heavier and slower, with only half the brain size. The back vertebrae were high, giving the back a slight ridge. The arms were short in proportion to the body with large claws that could have been used to hold prey.
Length 14 m (45 ft). Weight 7 - 8 tons.
Carcharodontosaurus preyed on sauropods, ornithiscians and spinosaurids. The specialized teeth were key to the hunting strategy, as they would create a massive open wound. It was this wound that would effectively incapacitate the prey, as blood loss would be so great that shock would quickly set in. This would cause the prey to become lethargic and disorientated allowing Carcharodontosaurus to easily close in and finish it off.
History of Discovery
Carcharodontosaurus was discovered by Deperet and Savornin in 1925 and by Stromer in 1931. This animal was not particularly well known until the discovery of new remains in 1996 by Sereno. It is known from a skull, associated skeleton parts and isolated teeth.
It was found in North Africa in Coastal mangroves and along rivers where it shared its habitat with the even more gigantic but less powerful Spinosaurus and in Niger with the smaller Rugops primus and a large terrestrial crocodilian Kaprosuchus.
Paul, G. (2010). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (pp. 2513). Princeton, New Jersey: University Press Princeton
Worth, G. (1999). The Dinosaur Encyclopaedia (pp. 590). Scarborough, Western Australia: HyperWorks Reference Software.