Carcharodontosaurus is a genus of carnivorous carcharodontosaurid dinosaurs that existed between 100 and 93 million years ago, during the late Albian to early Cenomanian stages of the mid-CretaceousPeriod. It is currently known to include two species, C.saharicus andC.iguidensis, which were among the larger theropods, as large as or slightly bigger than Tyrannosaurus and possibly slightly larger than Giganotosaurus, but not quite as large as Spinosaurus.
The genus Carcharodontosaurus is named after the shark genus Carcharodon (itself named from the Greek meaning "jagged" or "sharp" and οδοντο (odonto) meaning "teeth")), and σαυρος (sauros), meaning "lizard".Carcharodontosaurus includes some of the longest and heaviest known carnivorous dinosaurs, with various scientists proposing length estimates for the species C. saharicus ranging between 12 and 13 m (39 and 43 ft) and weight estimates between 6 and 15metric tons.
Carcharodontosaurus were carnivores, with enormous jaws and long, serrated teeth up to eight inches long. Paleontologists once thought thatCarcharodontosaurus had the longest skulls of any of the theropoddinosaurs. However, the premaxilla and quadrate bones were missing from the original African skull, which led to misinterpretation of its actual size by researchers. A more modest length of 1.6 meters (5.2 ft) has now been proposed for C. saharicus, and the skull of C. iguidensis is reported to have been about the same size. Currently, the largest known theropod skull belongs to another huge carcharodontosaurid dinosaur, the closely related Giganotosaurus (with skull length estimates up to 1.95 m) (6.3 ft). Gregory S. Paul estimates Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis at 10 m (33 ft) and 4 t (4.4 short tons).