No Such Dinosaur As Gigantosaurus
This week, team members at Everything Dinosaur are in the middle of their dinosaur themed workshops planned for the first half of the Spring Term. About fifteen workshops have been undertaken since Christmas and there are another fifteen or so to go before the half-term break.
Dinosaur Themed Workshops
On Friday, a member of the Everything Dinosaur teaching team will be visiting a school to work with two classes of Year 2 children who have been learning about dinosaurs. The inspirational text is “Gigantosaurus” written by Jonny Duddle. The class teacher has been using this fictional text to inspire English work by using imaginative descriptions to create characters and setting descriptions. In addition, the Lower Key Stage children will be exploring rhyme through poetry.
However, there has not been a dinosaur named “Gigantosaurus”.
Children Being Inspired by a Dinosaur Book
A Carefully Crafted Scheme of Work
The choice of dinosaur themed text is part of a carefully crafted scheme of work that explores a range of fiction and non-fiction texts over the course of the term topic. Non-fiction texts are being used to help challenge the children to write non-chronological reports.
For those readers unfamiliar with the book “Gigantosaurus”, it is a simple tale based on the story of the boy who cried wolf. All young dinosaurs are warned about the scary “Gigantosaurus”. Young Bonehead volunteers to be the lookout whenever the group of dinosaur friends go into the jungle to play. He alerts his friends on numerous occasions but “Gigantosaurus” is nowhere to be seen, this is the story of the “boy who cried wolf”. Bonehead’s friends refuse to believe his warnings when the dinosaur called “Gigantosaurus” finally turns up.
Giganotosaurus carolinii or Gigantspinosaurus sichuanensis
Inspirational this fiction text might be, but most young palaeontologists will tell you that the closest real dinosaur name is Giganotosaurus (giant southern lizard), a meat-eating dinosaur and one of the largest terrestrial carnivores known to science.
A Model of the Giant Meat-eating Dinosaur Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii)
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
The Giganotosaurus model (above) is made by Safari Ltd. It is one of several theropod dinosaur in the Wild Safari Prehistoric World range.
To view this range of prehistoric animal figures: Wild Safari Prehistoric Animal Models.
Ironically, Giganotosaurus (pronounced jy-ga-no-toe-sore-us), is a favourite amongst children, especially boys. Being bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex makes Giganotosaurus carolinii very popular indeed. It is not the only dinosaur with a similar sounding name. There is stegosaur from China known as Gigantspinosaurus (G. sichuanensis). The genus name means “giant spined lizard” and one glance at the illustration of this plant-eating dinosaur (below) will tell you why.
“Giant Spined Lizard”
An Illustration of Gigantspinosaurus (G. sichuanensis)
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
The illustration (above) shows Gigantspinosaurus. A Gigantspinosaurus is found in the CollectA Prehistoric Life range.
To view this model range: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Figures.
Dinosaur Themed Workshops – Providing Extension Activities
As part of a series of extension activities planned for the children after our dinosaur workshop in the school, we have prepared a dinosaur “hokey cokey” song for the children, it will help them explore rhyme through a familiar song. We will also be telling them all about Giganotosaurus.
Visit the award-winning Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.
In fact, there was a Gigantosaurus. In the 1910s. A huge sauropod from German East Africa was advertised as such until it became clear that the name was already occupied
We are aware of a genus of Sauropod which was named Gigantosaurus (G. megalonyx) in the late 1860’s by the British palaeontologist called H. G. Seeley. The name has been associated with various assorted dinosaur fossils, including some indeterminate vertebrae, fragments of limb bones and dermal armour discovered in Cambridgeshire (England), but the genus remains what is termed “nomen dubium”, it’s a dinosaur name that is not really recognised. The African material once assigned to the Gigantosaurus genus has been reassigned. One of the problems with the genus was that some of the bones reflect diplodocid morphology whilst others probably represent Titanosauriformes, dating the material has also proved problematical with some of the fossils probably several million years older than other elements originally assigned to this genus. Intriguingly, a few years ago a large upper right arm bone (humerus) and some other Sauropod fossils were found in Kimmeridge Bay (Dorset), these are awaiting scientific description, it has been suggested that these fossils could lead to a resurrection of the name but we will have to wait and see. Really appreciate your comments, thanks for your input.
My five year old son and I found your post while researching the differences between a gigantosaurus and a giganotosaurus.
We are now feeling downcast.
Could you use your expertise and evidence to alter the Wikipedia article to reflect the fact that gigantosaurus is not an accepted dinosaur?
Also Joseph Castro is adding credence to the legitimacy of gigantosaurus over on livescience.com in his article, which warns against confusing giganotosaurus with the lesser known sauropod gigantosaurus.
Many thanks, would-be gigantosaurus enthusiasts Emma and Nathaniel.
The Gigantosaurus was found to actually be a mix of different Sauropods so in reality it was a work of fiction.
two years later my son and I are in the exact situation as Emma Tweddell
Popular among boys? C’mon.. not what I want to be reading with my kids
The line in full reads “Ironically, Giganotosaurus (pronounced jy-ga-no-toe-sore-us), is a favourite amongst children, especially boys.” Our teaching team have worked with thousands of children and we have endeavoured to encourage them all irrespective of gender. We note that certain prehistoric animals tend to trend with young children dependent on what is being read/studied as part of the curriculum term topic. The children in this class were reading a book entitled “Gigantosaurus” by Jonny Duddle, it is a work of fiction and it was being used by the teacher to help inspire the class to create characters and develop their own story-writing skills. From a scientific perspective, the name “Gigantosaurus” is not a valid name (nomen dubium status).