This ground-shaking carnivore was first named in 1927 on the basis of two isolated teeth found in Algeria. It was given the name ‘Megalosaurus saharicus’ after the Sahara Desert where it was discovered. In 1931, better fossil material was described from Egypt, including part of the skull, leg bones, and several back bones. It was given a new tongue-twisting name in reference to the shape of the teeth, which are blade-like and resemble those of the great white shark, Carcharodon. Hence, Carcharodontosaurus saharicus means ‘great white shark reptile from the Sahara’.
Sadly, the rare Carcharodontosaurus fossils were entirely destroyed during the Second World War, when a bomb hit the museum in Munich, Germany, where the Egyptian fossils were kept. Decades later, in 1995, an impressive new skull was discovered in Morocco. With the Algerian teeth now lost and the Egyptian skeleton a victim of war, this Moroccan skull became the new basis for this spectacular dinosaur.
Carcharodontosaurus fossils are known from Late Cretaceous deposits across Northern Africa. It shared its coastal plain and river delta environments with several other large predatory dinosaurs, including Spinosaurus and Deltadromeus. It is still a mystery how so many different large predators could have lived alongside each other in an environment with limited prey resources. Maybe Charcharodontosaurus hunted very large prey such as the giant sauropod Paralititan, while the other carnivores occupied other ecological niches and hunted smaller prey, or fish in the case of Spinosaurus.
A second species of Carcharodontosaurus was named in 2007; Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis . This species, from Niger, differs from C. saharicus in several details of the skull. It extended the known geographical range of Carcharodontosaurus further south, and proved that Carcharodontosaurus is more diverse than previously supposed.
- Recommended Age: 3+
- Size in cm: 22.75 L x 10.25 H
- Size in inches: 8.96 L x 4.04 H
- UPC: 095866000554