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Re: the biggest predators

No flames necessary, but I wouldn't use the term "silly" to describe such speculations. Educated guesses might be more appropriate.
But as far as I can tell the contenders for biggest theropod predators are (1) carcharodontines (the present favorites I would guess), and (2) some possible contenders among tyrannosaurs and spinosaurs (neither of which is in the present Carnosauria sensu stricto).
Whether this Jurassic German theropod monster fits into one of these two categories, I don't know, but would be interested to learn more about it.
From: Josh Smith <smithjb@sas.upenn.edu>
Reply-To: smithjb@sas.upenn.edu
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: the biggest predators
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 12:17:56 -0500

Ken Kinman wrote:

> It should also be mentioned that Spinosaurus is not in Carnosauria any
> more either, and although perhaps in contention for "longest" of these
> predators, even some tyrannosaurs probably beat it in overall "bigness".
> So the main contenders seem to be the three Carcharodontine allosaurids
> (the Argentina form being unnamed), and the German "Monster von Minden"
> which I don't know anything about. Is this German theropod thought to be an
> allosaurid, like those other three huge huge predators?
> --------Ken

It should be further mentioned that the now lost specimen of _Spinosaurus
aegyptiacus_ that Stromer's team found in 1911 (which, by the way, is still the
only good concrete evidence we ever had of this animal, Algerian material and
stuff on Ebay or not....) was a sub-adult, and if you read the proportions in
Stromer, 1915, this critter was absolutely as large as _T. rex_. _Spinosaurus_
is certainly a contender for one of the big ones, at least in length I guess.
However, this should probably also be put out there...though it will
probably invite flaming. Let's try to keep in mind that all of this talk about
"biggest theropod" is really pretty silly given the sample sizes we are dealing
with here. Look at size variation in _Homo_. We are sitting here with one
moderately well described specimen of _Carcharodontosaurus_ and some bits of
_Spinosaurus_, less than 30 tyrannosaurs, a couple of specimens of
_Giganotosaurus_, and we are speculating about the size variation within these
"populations..." Go to Berkeley and take a look at some of the bits and pieces
of cf. _T. rex_ stuff that they have there... _Allosaurus_ and _Coelophysis_
are the only theropods that we have even close to enough specimens to start
making these sorts of size estimates for. And as far as I know the detailed
work on those taxa that would be necessary to make such an estimate anything
close to reality has yet to be done.

uhg...must get some coffee...

Josh Smith
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
(215) 898-0964 (FAX)

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