…and what about Carcharodontosaurus?

Unsurprisingly, this proved to be a rather popular post. But what about other theropods – could they have chowed down on humans effectively? Here’s a couple of photos of the skull of Carcharodontosaurus (well, a cast) in Toyko. While, this much read post does a fair job of comparing the skulls of a tyrannosaur and carcharodontosaur, I was there only talking about the lateral view, and below you can see a head-on anterior shot that shows a very different picture. The skull as a whole and the mouth as a result is really rather narrow. This is a rather smaller specimen than the rex I showed the other day, but the proportional difference in gape laterally should be quite clear.

That of course means that it would have much greater trouble in clearing the head-shoulders of a human when attempting full-body consumption. While clearly things like Mapusaurus were rather bigger, based on this I’d be surprised if even the biggest ones had a space at the back of the mouth that is comparable to T. rex. In short, if you need your hominids swallowed without processing in your upcoming sci-fi piece then stick to a giant tyrannosaurine.

10 Responses to “…and what about Carcharodontosaurus?”


  1. 1 Brian Choo 29/08/2011 at 2:01 pm

    Freaky how the skull is just sitting at the feet of that tyrannosaurid – as if hes about to kick the Carch’s head in some sorta macabre short distance pass.

  2. 2 Zhen 29/08/2011 at 4:40 pm

    Oh thank you so much for this picture.

    Remember the post you made the other day about whether you should help or leave it alone? I once had to argue with these people that carcharodontosaurs don’t have as wide a skull as a tyrannosaur. These people simply refused to accept that fact and stick with what they want to believe in. This post perfectly demonstrates exactly the what I mean. Both people’s refusal to accept facts and the width of a carcharodontosaur’s skull width.

  3. 3 Zhen 29/08/2011 at 4:41 pm

    Wow, that final sentence was incredibly redundant. I wish they had to option to edit comments we’ve posted. Oh well, you guys get what I mean though.

  4. 4 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. 30/08/2011 at 1:40 am

    In class, I show side by side of the Carcharodontosaurus skull (or Acrocanthosaurus) and Tyrannosaurus: this gets the point across…

  5. 5 Paul W. 03/09/2011 at 5:14 pm

    I wouldn’t care if it had to take a couple of extra bites, either way, I’d still be dead.

    Sheeesh…!

  6. 6 Eriorguez 07/09/2011 at 6:46 pm

    Most non-mammal vertebrates have an habit of gulping down whatever they catch, even if it is not quite smaller than the mouth. If a pelican, with also a quite narrow mouth (but a developed pouch, that’s it), can swallow a pigeon or a gannet chick, I’m quite sure a giant Allosauroid or Megalosauroid could swallow most hominids with relative ease, although I could see them killing the prey and breaking its articulations with rough movements to ease swallowing. But pinning a small prey to the ground, then taking bites out of it, is more of a mammalian thing, as far as I know.

    • 7 David Hone 07/09/2011 at 7:39 pm

      “But pinning a small prey to the ground, then taking bites out of it, is more of a mammalian thing, as far as I know.”

      But that is *exactly* how predatory birds feed, and there’s good reason to think dinosaurs did pick at larger prey at lest based on bite marks etc.

      • 8 Albertonykus 08/09/2011 at 8:38 am

        To prey too large to be swallowed, at least: http://mansurovs.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Hawk-Eating-Mouse.gif Owls do the same thing.

      • 9 anonymous 03/10/2013 at 6:19 pm

        And Allosauroids actually seem to have a decent number of tools and other indications consistent with such a feeding style:
        Snively et al., 2013 showed that Allosaurus would have fed with ripping motions resembling a falcon. If I recall correctly the metatarsals of many specimens show stress fractures evenly distributed over the bones, indicating they are not from running but rather prey restraint. And the arms of many Allosaurs have large, strong talons for hanging onto something.


  1. 1 Spinosaurus, el dinosaurio que se alimentaba de peces Trackback on 29/09/2012 at 3:18 pm

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