Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus: which is the biggest?

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NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 6:04 AM



Today, I'll show you what I think about T.rex and Giganotosaurus. I've seen some people claiming that the Carcharodontosaurid is the largest, while some people claimed that T.rex is the largest. Who is right? None fo them, at least according to my opinion. Now I'll explain you my points...

#1. Giganotosaurus' remains are much more uncommon than T.rex's. We've only got 2 specimens (and some teeth, found even before than Giganotosaurus' type specimen). The first one is the type specimen, and it's similar in lenght with "Sue" (12.4 and 12.3 m for Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus respectively; that's a pretty negligible difference). Unlike the common belief, it isn't shorter than "Sue" (heightwise), because "Sue" has only got proportionally longer legs, but both of those animals are equal in height as well, both around to 3.5 meters tall. The second specimen is only a piece of jawbone, and it's estimated to belong to a specimen 6.5 % larger than the type, wich would result in a 13.2 m animal. But we don't really know how much bigger this specimen was. The proportions are always changing. Taking in accounts all tail's lenght variations, individual variability etc the best range for the two Giganotosaurus specimens is 12-13 meters. Longer than "Sue", then, but only slighty. And longer =/= heavier.

#2. The Tyrannosaurus specimen called "Sue" isn't as long as Giganotosaurus' specimens, but it's definitely more ***bersome. Its massive built allow this guy to be very heavy. Most of the modern estimates put the largest specimen at over 8 t, making it heavier than both Giganotosaurus specimens (wich are 6-8 t). So, is T.rex bigger, as bigger = heavier? Not really. "Sue" is the largest specimen, but most of the specimens are equal in size with Giganotosaurus specimens, and someone are even outweighted by Giganotosaurus. By a comparison, if someone ask you "what's the height of a man?" you would likely say 180 cm or so. But...let's meet Robert Wadlow (1918-1940), the tallest man ever:

When he died (he was only 22), he was 272 cm tall. That's pretty impressive. But I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say that a man is 272 cm tall only because Robert Wadlow was 272 cm tall. Bear in mind that Robert Wadlow was ill, so it keept growing in adult-hood because it had a high level of human growth hormone. By a comparison, in the same photo, you can see Robert's father, Harold Franklyn Wadlow. Harold Franklyn Wadlow wasn't short, as he was 1.82 m tall. But he's dwarfed by his son, who is instead an abnormal individual. Giganotosaurus' individuals and T.rex's individuals are pretty similar in size. The fact that a T.rex specimen reigns over Giganotosaurus, won't change the fact that most of the T.rex' specimens are just as big or even smaller.

In conclusion, I would say that both were about the same size, with T.rex with the largest confirmed size. But, if someone ask me "Wich is bigger, T.rex or Giganotosaurus?" I would say "They're around the same size".

42 Responses to Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus: which is the biggest?


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 7:13 AM

You've made good points. Although I see your line of thinking, I wouldn't think the last comparition very reliable. The biggest specimens of T.rex aren't giants compared to the others, but they're simply bigger. A fitter comparison would be between normal persons: some can be skinny, fat, taller, shorter... of course not all of the individuals are the same size. And I get it. A reasonable medium estimate for Tyrannosaurus would be 6.5-7 tons, based on the many, many specimens we have discovered. But as you stated, it's a totally different thing when it comes to Giganotosaurus. The skeletons we have are not complete enough to give us a better estimation like in Tyrannosaurus. I think it's just not the best thing to compare these two, exactly because of the fragmentary state of the latter's founds.

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NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 7:18 AM

Robert Wadlow is a bad example as his height was due to a bone disease. You should more likely use Angus McCaskill as example who was a normal, healthy, giant Homo sapiens.


For now, comparing T. rex and Giga is a matter of specimens to specimens but some points :

- the dentary from the second Giga is a small fragment which suggests, or does not suggest, a larger individual than the holotype. Depending of the intraspecific proportions.


- if we take into account this small dentary from Giganotosaurus, we can take into accounts the fragmentary T. rex remains which suggests individuals as large or maybe larger than Sue.


- Sue might be the biggest T. rex, but several quite complete specimens are almost as big. The holotype Carnegie specimen is estimated almost as large as Sue. Campione et al. 2014 considers Scotty to be slightly larger (heavier) than Sue.


So, using parcimony, I think the edge is still for Tyrannosaurus, for now.


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 7:31 AM

My point was that max. size isn't the only one wich must be take in account.

Larger than Sue thing isn't what I call a likely and verified thing. MOR008 isn't even larger, UMCP 137538, if scaled from Sue, is 47 feet long, but the answer is - is that a T.rex? Even if it was, when scaled from Stan, it's around as big as Sue. It looks like that C-rex's size was just guessed by Horner, and UCMP 118742 is already an adult, according to Theropod Database.

Tyrant king

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 7:31 AM

We do not have nearly enough giga specimens to assume which is bigger. And as others have previously stated, Waldo is not. Good example since he is an outlier compared to the rest of the world. While large t.rex specimens are only a bit larger.

Lord of the Spinosaurs

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 7:47 AM

I would say they were around the same size too, but I think Giganotosaurus was slightly bigger.


There is no such thing as a pure predator. A meat-eater is eit


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 7:54 AM



Yes but if you exclude the fragmentary possibly Sue-sized or larger T. rex individuals, my point is that you can exclude too the dentary from the second Gigantosaurus which is a small fragment suggesting various possible estimates.


We can found new larger individuals but we can found new larger T. rex individuals too, Tom Holtz explains it well here :


But really if we take all the optimistic possibilities as of now, Sue is slightly larger than the largest Giganotosaurus and there are several compkete T. rex individuals as heavy as the second Giganotosaurus and several T. rex specimens as large as Sue and possibly larger.


Unless we found tomorrow a 14 m Giga, T. rex seems slightly the bigger guy.




NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 7:55 AM

Lord of the Spinosaurs,


Tyrant king

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 7:58 AM

Now I say the two super predators were the sane size. Though the giga specimens are not complete at all so we can't compare it to a mostly complete t.rex.


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 7:59 AM

Fragmentary, Sue-sized or bigger T.rex are definitely more doubtful than MUPCv-95, for the motivations I stated above. MUPCv-95 may simply had a proportionally bigger jaw, but what about a proportionally smaller jaw? Assuming that its jaw was proportionally bigger is as likely as assuming that it was proportionally smaller. Given that it's fragmentary, a good rough figure would be 12-13 m.


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 8:14 AM

I have no problem with MUPCv-95 at 13 m or slightly more.

Parcimony would exclude however than this specimen was smaller-jawed.

Scotty is considered bigger than Sue by Campione et al. 2014.

Carnegie is almost as big as Sue and slightly larger than the holotype Giga.


I dont think that it is fair to ignore the several not (yet) published T. rex individuals. The without a doubt exist and exhibit for some large features.

The uncertainties in them for size estimates are just the same than for MUCPv-95. Even including the huge toebone (I dont see why it would be something else than a very large or big-footed T. rex).


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 8:20 AM

If you think that we should consider even undescribed animals, well, let's take in account Das Monster Von Minden, wich is considered to be 15 m long. Most the information about undescribed animals come from media, wich aren't reliable.


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 8:26 AM

I dont use the mediatic estimates.


All the figures for these unpublished or not totally published specimens (Celeste is cited in Peter Larson's book) come from the paleontologists words and from the actual measurements of the material.


The giant toebone is real and a published measurement is known, there's no mediatic speculation in that.


Also, I refer to other quite complete T. rex specimens other than Sue, which are larger than Giga's holotype and for some as large or larger than Sue (Scotty, perhaps MOR 008) so larger than MUCPv-95 (weight wise of course).


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 8:32 AM

MOR008 is smaller than Sue.

The famous UCMP is even more fragmentary than MUPCv-95. By a comparison, Amphicoelias is know from better remains. When you scale UCMP from Stan, it would end up not bigger than Sue.



NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 9:10 AM

Huu Amphicoelias is a long lost bone known by an old incomplete drawing.

UCMP  is an actual bone in collection researchers have access too.


If UCMP at worst suggested a Sue-sized beast it means :

-bigger than MUCPv-95

-that Sue does not represent an exceptionnal individual (Scotty is considered bigger by Campione 2014 and Carnegie is almost as large).


For MOR008 it depends if you consider the size of the skull accurate but even at a lower 1.4 m, it suggests something bigger than the Giga holotype.


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 9:18 AM

Sue-sized isn't the worst. It may have also been smaller than Sue. I see Sue as a very large specimen. We first discovered T.rex over 100 years ago, and the largest we found in a such quantity of years - Sue - must be considered very large. 

MOR008 is smaller than Sue, its skull was actually 1.39 m long. 

However, you missed my point. Only one or two T.rex exceeded Giganotosaurus size, while the other are just as big or smaller. It's likely that both the taxon reached a similar size.


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 9:38 AMKom, we have enough of the Carcharodontosaurine family to establish the giga paratype at approx. 6.5% larger then the holotype. the family G. carolinii & M. rosae are in(Giganotosaurinae) has enough collective material to establish intraspecific variation is unlikely. of the 4 M. rosae adult individuals we have, they're very close in size(11-12 m) retrospective femur lengths are very close -- mm in differences. the exception to this is the pubic shaft( forget the catalogue #) that indicates a ~13.6 m individual. so, if you take the tyrannosaurus toe bone, you have to take this pubic shaft & the giga mandible fragment. both have been officially described, so there you go.

Nature doesn't deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves.


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 9:54 AM

Smaller than Sue with a single toebone so much larger ? I know that we hve to be cautious while using small body parts as basis, but smaller than Sue with a such massive bone is just as extreme as the isometric estimates you see everywhere on the internet.

The first specimen is almost as large as Sue and is larger than Giganotosaurus holotype.

MUCPv-95 size estimate is also subject to the same problematics than the one you suggest for the fragmentary large T. rex individuals and 13 m or so is not a necessary figure either. it could be also similar in size to Giga's holotype.

So all in all, both a quite similar but Tyrannosaurus, yes due to a sampling bias, has sligth edge.

Sue does not represent an exceptionnal specimen, Scotty is very large too and Holtz said that larger T. rex may very well have existed. That's just a large T. rex as far as we can tell.

Rex Fan 684

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 9:59 AM

The two were certainly comparable. On average, I'd say they reached comparable adult weights(Giga may have been slightly longer on average). Both probably averaged around 12-13 meters long and 6-8 tons with some giants exceeding that size. I'd say T.rex was slightly heavier, but Giga was slightly longer.

"Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names." ―Alpha-98


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:14 AMwe have nothing to suggest the toe bone indicates a significantly larger animal. i think it's supposedly 17% larger then Sue's 3rs phalanx, but T. rex is an animal shown to be very variatable intraspecifically. taking such a small sample is a bad idea.

Nature doesn't deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves.

Rex Fan 684

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:19 AM

I agree with Carnosaur. It's not that it's impossible, but a more complete skeleton would certainly be nice. Only one specimen in my opinion has a good chance of being bigger than Sue and that's Celeste(even that one has some mystery around it).

"Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names." ―Alpha-98


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 10:21 AM

That's why I think UCMP is something possibly similar to Sue, not necessarily larger, nor smaller.


Scotty is possibly bigger than Sue.

Rex Fan 684

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:23 AM

Scotty was certainly a big one(at least comparable to Sue)...


"Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names." ―Alpha-98


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 10:35 AM

From Campione et al. 2014,


RSM P2523.8 is Scotty.

Compared with other large theropods body mass data :


You understand why I give a slight edge to Tyrannosaurus, even if it's more a matter of specimens compared with specimens rather than species with species.

Note that MUCPv-95 has not been used in that least, presumably because it's a very fragmentary specimen, so less reliable.



NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:38 AMscotty was put at 11.6 meters, i believe the figure is. Stan was roughly the same was Peck's rex. a few individuals are below this mark as well. MOR 008 was placed at 12m flat by the theropod database i believe.

Nature doesn't deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves.

Rex Fan 684

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:41 AM

Peter Larson told me in an email that Stan was quite large actually(at over 12 meters long), while Wikipedia says it was much smaller(10.9 meters). Stan seems hard to read(if that makes sense). The holotype was 11.9 meters long, Scotty is 12 meters long, MOR 008 was 12 meters(according to Carnosaur), and AMNH 5027/Wankel Rex are both about 11.6 meters long.

"Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names." ―Alpha-98

Rex Fan 684

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:48 AM

After looking through the specimen list for T.rex on the Theropod Database, I've concluded that they give ridiculously strange sizes. For example...


Stan is listed at 12.4 meters long and 3.7 tons

Sue is listed at 12.8 meters long and 5.654 tons

AMNH 5027 is listed at 12.4 meters long and 5.7 tons

MOR 008 is listed at 13.8 meters long and no weight is given


Here's the link...


Yeah, uh, I don't get it.

"Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names." ―Alpha-98


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:50 AMi never understood why stan was placed at “black beauty” sized. the femur length is on par with sue, same with tibula and skull measurements( within cms of each other. EDIT: that's the wrong list, rexfan. Mickey Mortimer put MOR 008 at 12m, but now i'll have to look it up cuz i'm confused

Nature doesn't deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves.

Rex Fan 684

NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:52 AM

Yeah, that makes no sense.

"Men like me don't start the wars. We just die in them. We've always died in them, and we always will. We don't expect any praise for it, no parades. No one knows our names." ―Alpha-98


NoobMember0 XPNov-15-2014 10:59 AM

Actually, ghe only point against MUPCv-95 being larger is a proportionally larger jaw. T.rex's large specimens are even less reliable, for the motivations I've already stated. 

Kom, most of the paleontologist - like Holtz - usually take in account MUPCv-95, while ignoring larger-than-Sue specimens. That slight edge you're talking about is the size of largest Tyrannosaurus, wich are 2-3; most of the specimens aren't bigger at all, so, if only 2-3 specimens of over 30 specimens are larger, the size must be about the same. 


NoobMember1 XPNov-15-2014 11:11 AM

Gigadino, yes MUCPv-95, being more do***ented, is naturally taken into account more than the fragmentary, not yet pubished Tyrannosaurus specimens.


But that's not always the case :


You see that Scotty here is stated bigger than Sue and CM9380 is bigger than Giga's holotype. 

This clearly suggests a slight edge for Tyrannosaurus.

How do you know that only 2-3 specimens on 30 specimens are larger ? Have you all the data about the 30 specimens individually ?


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