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The first in a series of blog posts related to my Can we replace T. rex? Should we? post, which garnered a whole lot of popularity, this one will discuss the first creature on my list of potential replacements for T. rex, namely Giganotosaurus.
The migrating herd of Argentinosaurus, a titanic, moving wall of flesh, marched towards the nesting grounds on the horizon. The beasts were unaware they were being watched. The eyes of predators stared on hungrily, drooling with a craving for food. They had been feeding on mostly smaller herbivores for months thanks to drought, but they knew every year, the Argentinosaurus came this way to lay their eggs. Among them were new mothers laying eggs for the first time. Each one was big enough to feed the pack until the next migration, but bringing down even a juvenile would be a challenge. The young male stepped forward, but the alpha turned to face him, as if to say "Not yet." The young male retreated back into the trees reluctantly. The other four pack members watched on in anticipation, waiting for one of the lumbering bohemoths to fall behind.
Their moment came - a young female had been wounded by an Ekrixinatosaurus further back and she was much slower than the rest of the herd. She stumbled and she fell down at the rear of the herd. This was the chance the pack had been waiting for. The alpha roared, and the pack of Giganotosaurus burst from the trees and charged for the wounded female. Immediately, the herd began to stampede. The female lurched to her feet, but it was too late - she could never catch up to her herd in time.
The young male charged for the front and was nearly flattened when she reared up and stomped at him. The alpha took this opportunity to claw and bite at her soft underbelly, then darted out quickly as her frobt legs came crashing down. One of the females, the young male's mate, ran for the side and flanks. The wounded Argentinosaurus bashed her aside with his tail and she flew through the air and struck a tree, then fell to the ground. She would not be getting up again. The young male was enraged and lnged yet again. She reared up and the alpha darted underneath again, but this time he wasn't fast enough to avoid a fatal kick to the back of the head. But the young male siezed the opportunity to bite one of her back legs and she toppled forward. The young male realized his mistake too late - the female toppled and crushed him. Blood sprayed eveywhere, and the new alpha ran up to the sauropod's tiny head and bit deep into her throat. The entire pack continued to bite until their weak jaws severed the head of the Argentinosaurus from her neck, and they gorged on the remains until they could eat no more.
The blood of the young male lay on the bark of the tree the female had struck, and as resin dripped down the trunk, ripped apart by thrashing claws and allowing the tree to bleed, it engulfed the blood and skin fragments, which would find their use much, much later…
In 1993, Rubén Dario Carolini, a paleontologist in southern Argentina (Patagonia) made an astounding discovery - the remains of one of the biggest carnivorous dinosaurs to have ever lived. Giganotosaurus, though not as large as the infamous Spinosaurus, was a giant and deadly carnivore, and they were the first confirmed large dinosaurs from the Cretaceous to hunt sauropods. Argentinosaurus was among the largest land-based creatures to ever walk the Earth. One of the largest carnivores, and one of the largest prey. Same time, same place. To think that a pack of Giganotosaurus wouldn't have hunted the colossal Argentinosaurus under certain circumstances is unthinkable.
No one is totally sure whether or not Gig was larger than T. rex, but they were scary. They were fast, they had larger arms than T. rex, badass horn-like structures (not as cool as the ones on Carnotaurus) and they hunted in packs. One problem - they had weak jaw muscles. T. rex was a bone crusher whilst Giganotosaurus was a flesh cutter. If you were to pit one Giganotosaurus against one T. rex, I'd say the odds are 60/40 for T. rex - one bite will end the fight, but the Giganotosaurus can still inflict some pretty extreme dents
When all is said and done, the prospect of running into a Giganotosaurus is, to put it bluntly, reeeeeaaaaally scary…
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