Carcharodontosaurus reconstruction


Dinosaur; Theropod; Allosauroid; Carcharodontosaurid; Carcharodontosaurus


  • C. saharicus
  • C. iguidensis

Name Means

Jagged-toothed lizard




  • 5.5-7 metric tons


  • 4 metres


  • 12.8-14 metres


100-93 mya




Carnivorous; hunter and scavenger

Carcharodontosaurus, meaning Jagged-toothed lizard, was an enormous theropod dinosaur native to Africa 100 - 93 million years ago during the late Aptian to early Cemonian periods of the Cretaceous. Despite being poorly known, Carcharodontosaurus is likely the third-largest species of theropod dinosaur, larger than Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus, but smaller than Oxalaia and Spinosaurus. Two species of Carcharodontosaurus are currently known. C. saharicus is the type species, while C. iguidensis is larger.


Carcharodontosaurus fossils were first found by Charles Depéret and J. Savornin in the Continental intercalaire of Algeria (dating to the Albian stage) in 1927. Originally called Megalosaurus saharicus (many theropods were once erroneously referred to as Megalosaurus), its name was changed in 1931 by Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach to that used today. Stromer named Carcharodontosaurus "for its mainly Carcharodon-like teeth", which were "not recurved, almost bilaterally symmetrical but with convex edges."


Little is known about Carcharodontosaurus and Carcharodontosaurids in general. The Holotype of Carcharodontosaurus, discovered in 1912 by Stromer along with Spinosaurus. After describing Spinosaurus, he described another large Theropod which he dubbed 'Spinosaurus B'. It was not until the 1930's when more fragmentary remains, albeit sub-adult, was it realised this 'Spinosaurus B' was actually very different from Spinosaurus, and so Stromer re-named it (and Megalosaurus saharicus in the process) Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, meaning "Saharan jagged-toothed reptile".

Carch Tooth

A C. saharicus tooth.

Then in the late 1990's, Paul Sereno, in an expedition that yielded Suchomimus and new Sarcosuchus fossils, found some new large Carcharodontosaurid jaw fragments. These were formally described in 2007 and were dubbed Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis. C. saharicus is estimated to be between 12 and 12.8m long. Although a study in 2007 claimed it was 13.2m. If C. iguidensis were in the same proportiones as C.saharicus who had a 1.6m skull, a C.iguidensis who has a 1.75m skull would be around 13.1 to 14m long and 6 to 7t in weight.

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