Carcharodontosaurus or “shark lizard” is a genus of carnivorous dinosaur from the Mid-Cretaceous Period (late Albian to early Cenomanian stage) around 100 to 93 million years ago. It gets its name, “˜shark lizard’, from the shark genus Carcharodon, which comes from the Greek word karcharo, meaning “jagged”. The Greek words odonto, meaning “teeth” and saurus, meaning “lizard” make up the rest of its name.
Carcharodontosaurus was discovered by Charles DepÃ©ret and J. Savornin in Algeria in 1927. It was originally referred to as Megalosaurus, as were many early discoveries of theropods. Its name was changed in 1931 by Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach to its current status today. He named it based on its teeth structure, which were similar to that of the Carcharodon shark genus. Fossils were also collected in Egypt in the Baharija Formation, that dated to slightly later than the Cenomanian stage. These fossils were destroyed during World War II. Cranial fragments were discovered in the Kem Kem Formation of Morocco in 1995, and a second species found in the Echkar Formation of Niger in 1997. This second species was named C. iguidensis in December 2007.
Carcharodontosaurus is one of the longest and heaviest known carnivorous dinosaurs. It is estimated to have been between 39 and 44 feet long and weighed upwards of 17 tons. It was a carnivore that had an enormous jaw with long, serrated teeth up to 8 inches long each. The skull is 5.2 feet long and was once thought to be the longest skull of any theropod, until the recent discovery of the Giganotosaurus, which had a skull length of up to 6.3 feet. Its brain was similar in size to modern reptiles, but small compared to other theropods and birds. The brain impression and inner ear anatomy is similar to modern crocodiles.