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Chew-ly Chompionship 2020 - Contest of the Ultimate Predators

16 Chew-ly Chompionship Competitors 


This 2020 Chew-ly Chompionship tournament guide ranks 16 predatory dinosaurs for their likelihood of being crowned “The Chomp”.   


Competitors were evaluated via academic literature on presumed maximum length and weight, bite force, arm and leg strength, tooth and claw functionality, and speed.  The data was entered into a database for final tabulation.  For dinosaurs with huge published ranges (ex. 5 - 23 tons), or not enough bones to make a guess, a final decision was made by the Fossil Crates team based upon personal examination of the specimens where possible, conversations with specialists,  phylogenetic affiliations, and whimsy.  Whimsy?  Yes!  We added a “WOW” factor that considered how cool the name sounded to us, amount of skeletal material known, interesting facts, and the like.  After all, this is an exercise in fancy as much as it is based on facts, for there is no way we can truly know the longest or heaviest, nor can we tell how they truly behaved in the wild.  Which is why dinosaurs are so much fun!  They are like sports teams because, at some point, you become FANatical and root for your favorite regardless of the stats!


We hope you have as much fun reading about the competitors, filling out your bracket, and cheering (or lamenting) the outcomes as much as we did doing it!  Please email us at Brian@fossilcrates.com, or post on our Facebook or Instagram pages your thoughts, the community would love to hear what you think we got “right”, what was fun, and where we should re-search for our next Chompionship! 


Scientific note

Very few of these predators overlapped with one another and, when they did, like modern big predators today, likely pursued different prey.  Conflicts between them in real life would have been rare indeed.  Thus the need for tournaments like this!

 

To fill out your bracket click here!

 

The Competitors 

  

 #16

Pycnonemosaurus nevesi - “Neves’ Dense Woods Lizard”

 

 

 

(pronounced "Pick-know-knee-moe")

Family: Abelisauridae

From: Brazil, South America

Lived: 70 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Kellner and Campos 2002

 

Fight Day stats

30' 4" long (9.2 m)

Weighed in at 3.5 tons (7,297 lbs, 3,310 kg)

 

Bio
Pycnonemosaurus is the smallest competitor in the tournament.  Known from poorly preserved bones in the tail, hip, and leg, what was discovered was enough to identify the animal as the largest of the abelisaurids, meat-eating dinosaurs known for having arms even smaller than tyrannosaurids (how is that even possible???), bulldog-like skulls loaded with small teeth powered by a weak (for this tournament) bite, large legs, and an exceptionally rigid spine from the base of the neck through the front third of the tail.  The legs and tail combination suggest Pycnonemosaurus had explosive speed, more like a “mouth on a missile”.  For the tournament, Pycnonemosaurus is presumed to have had osteoderms (a kind of bony armor) in its skin.  It will take a powerful bite to cause this predator severe damage.

 

 #15

Bahariasaurus ingens - “Great Northern Oasis Lizard”

 

Image of Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach - public domain due to age

 

Family: Unknown

From: Egypt, Africa

Lived: 95 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Stromer 1934

 

Fight Day stats

33’ 7" long (33.6 m)

Weighed in at 4 tons (8,472 lbs, 3,843 kg)

 

Bio

Bahariasaurus is a true wildcard in this tournament as no one knows what kind of meat-eater it was and, thus, how truly powerful its bite, teeth, arms, and claws were.  Named in 1934 (the picture is of its describer) the original bones were destroyed in World War II, leaving only photos and illustrations of this dinosaur.  However, the nicely preserved femur allows some confidence in predicting length and weight.  Since 1956, it has been interpreted as being related to the Carcharodontosauridae, Ceratosauridae, Megalosauridae, “Megaraptoran”, and Tyrannosauridae among others.  We can’t wait to see what family affiliation, and thus what strategy, Bahariasaurus employs!

 

 

 #14

Allosaurus fragilis “Fragile Different Lizard”

Image by Gustavo Monroy 

Family: Allosauridae

From: United States, North America

Lived: 145 m.y.a., in the Late Jurassic

Named: Marsh 1877 

 

Fight Day stats

39' 11" long (12.2 m)

Weighed in 3 tons (6,948 lbs, 3,152 kg)

 

Bio

This is no run-of-the-mill Allosaurus, nope this one used to go by the name Epanterias.  The bones were so large it took over 100 years to realize it was a giant Allosaurus and not a unique dinosaur!.  It had roughly 52 teeth ranging from 2” to 4” long.  Huge, sharp talons adorned each of its 3 fingers, which were attached to long, strong arms.  Once prey was grabbed, Allosaurus would bite down then violently thrust its powerful neck backward, neatly snipping chunks of flesh from the hapless victim.  Allosaurus possessed the widest-opening mouth of any meat-eating dinosaur, able to open to a jaw-dropping 92°!  Such a massively gaping maw has been speculated to be an adaptation to using its skull like a hatchet.  With an animal firmly grasped with strong arms, it could open its mouth and, with its powerful neck, hammer away akin to meat-tenderizer!  It rounded out its arsenal with a long tail acting as a counter-balance and steering mechanism. It had good speed thanks to hits long legs.  How the speedy, wide-mouthed, comparatively light Allosaurus will do in this tournament of heavyweights remains to be seen, but with speed and snake-like striking capability, it may yet become the next Chompion!

 

 

 #13

Mapusaurus roseae - “Rose’s Earth Lizard”   

Family: Carcharodontosauridae

From: Argentina, South America

Lived: 96 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Coria and Currie 2006

 

Fight Day stats

37’ 1" long (11.3 m)

Weighed in at 4 tons (8,533 lbs, 3871 kg)

 

Bio

Mapusaurus is known from a bonebed with at least 9 individuals.  Bonebeds are not common and meat-eating bonebeds containing only one type of predator are extremely rare.  This one contained only Mapusaurus bones representing various sized individuals, from juvenile to at least one individual that met, or exceeded, the size of Giganotosaurus!  Being a carcharodontosaurid means Mapusaurus had a long, low skull full of 2”, highly serrated, teeth, powerful hands with 4” claws, and strong legs.  Though ranked only #13, Mapusaurus definitely has the tools to beat a higher-ranked opponent!

 

 #12

Carcharodontosaurus saharicus - “Jagged Toothed Lizard from Sahara”

Photo by Gyik Toma (Tommy)

 

Family: Carcharodontsauridae

From: Egypt, Africa

Lived: 95 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Deperet and Savornin 1925

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 5" long (12 m)

Weighed in at 4 tons (8,298 lbs, 3764 kg)

 

Bio

The serrations on the teeth of Carcharodontosaurus resemble those of a Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias), thus its name.  Its 5’ skull had a mouthful of flattened, blade-like teeth able to shear off massive amounts of flesh while leaving a bloody wound, just like the Great White Shark does today.  Combine the skull with a long, powerful body and one has the potential of a Chompion!   

 

#11

Siats meekerorum - “Meerker’s Man-eating Monster” 

 

 

Family: Neovenatoridae

From: United States, North America

Lived: 95 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Zanno and Makovicky 2013

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 0" long (11.9 m)

Weighed in at 4 tons (8,004 lbs, 3630 kg)

 

Bio

Siats (pronounced ‘see-atch’) was named after “a predatory, man-eating monster from legends of the Ute native tribe of Utah”.  Though we have no skull material of this giant predator, based on the bones that were excavated we know it would have had no problem swallowing a person in two bites (of course people and theropods never lived together so this couldn’t have happened!).  A partially preserved fibula (leg bone) was used to extrapolate the size of the femur, the bone most often used to determine the size of meat-eating dinosaurs.  The speculative femoral measurements put Siats on par with Chilantaisaurus and Saurophaganax, and slightly smaller than an adult Acrocanthosaurus, which for a neovenator-type dinosaur is huge!  Even more impressive, the backbones indicate the dinosaur was still growing!  

 

#10

Zhuchengtyrannus magnus - “Great Zhucheng Tyrant”

 

 

Family: Tyrannosauridae

From: China, Asia

Lived: 74 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Hone, Wang, Sullivan, Zhao, Chen, Li, Ji, and Xu 2011

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 9" long (12.1 m)

Weighed in at 5 tons (10,678 lbs, 4844 kg)

 

Bio

Zhuchengtyrannus is known from exactly two bones.  However, if you want to be considered a top predator the bones you’d want to be known for, the dentary (lower jaw) and maxilla (upper jaw), are exactly what was discovered for this gigantic tyrannosaurid!  The size of these elements slots it just smaller than a normal-sized Tyrannosaurus and slightly larger than the largest Tarbosaurus, which happen to be its closest cousins.  Being cousins with those two means a monstrously powerful bite, bone-crushing teeth, gigantic legs with huge kicking and propulsive power, a long tail to help steer said leg power, and small, two-fingered arms.  How this fragmentarily known dinosaur will fair in the tourney is anyone’s guess!

 

#9

Torvosaurus tanneri - “Tanner’s Savage Lizard”

 Torvosaurus tanneri dinosaur digital painting in side view

Family: Megalosauridae

From: United States, North America

Lived: 150 m.y.a., in the Late Jurassic

Named: Galton and Jensen 1979

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 11" long (39.9 m)

Weighed in at 5 tons (10,872 lbs, 4,931 kg)

 

Bio

Torvosaurus was truly a savage lizard.  The competitor in this competition comes in at the long end of speculated lengths but, after seeing some unpublished Morrison Formation materials, I think the length is justified.  Its 4’ skull is loaded with 4” teeth and it had a massively powerful bite.  Powerful arms ended in 5” claws, allowing this bruising predator to choose between outright wild attack or “slash, bite, wait”.  How will Torvosaurus do against some of the toughest dinosaurs the world has ever known?  We’ll soon find out!

 

#8

Tarbosaurus bataar - “Hero Alarming Lizard”

 

Family: Tyrannosauridae

From: Mongolia, Asia

Lived: 70 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: Maleev 1955

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 2" long (11.9 m)

Weighed in at 5 tons (10,312 pounds, 4,677 kg)

 

Bio

Tarbosaurus’ closest relative is Tyrannosaurus and some paleontologists even consider Tarbosaurus to simply be a different species of T. rex.  But don’t tell that to Tarbosaurus!  With over 50 teeth nearly 4” long, a considerably stiffened jaw thanks to unique skeletal modifications, massive bite strength, and keen hearing and smell, this apex predator could hold its own against anything!  Its arms were somehow even smaller than that of T. rex!  Powerful legs and a long tail made it highly mobile for such a large predator. 

 

#7

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis - “High-spined Lizard from Atoka”

 

 

.
Photo by Sergey Galyonkin

 

Family: Carcharodontosauridae

From: United States, North America

Lived: 100 m.y.a., in the Early Cretaceous

Named: Stovall and Langston 1950

 

Fight Day Stats

38’ 3" long (11.6 m)

Weighed in at 7 tons (14,289 lbs, 6,481  kg)

 

Bio

Acrocanthosaurus had one of the best “back sails” this side of Spinosaurus (thus its name of "high-spined lizard").  What the sail was used for is unknown, we prefer to think it provided extra muscle attachment, making it even more powerful!  The skull is over 4’ long and has nearly 70 teeth, however, it wasn’t built for “bone-crushing” power but rather for “rip a chunk of flesh and hold on”.  Its arms were powerful enough to grasp and hold prey, in fact, they fold inwards seemingly for this purpose!  As the State Dinosaur of Oklahoma Acrocanthosaurus has a special grudge against Saurophaganax, the State Fossil of Oklahoma.

 

#6

Saurophaganax maximus - “Greatest King of the Reptile-Eaters”

 

Family Allosauridae

From: United States, North America

Lived: 145 m.y.a., in the Late Jurassic

Named: Chure 1995

 

Fight Day Stats

40’ 0" long (12.2 m)

Weighed in at 5 tons (10,326 pounds, 4,684 kg)

 

Bio

Saurophaganax, with one of the most fearsome names in the tournament, is the State Fossil of Oklahoma.  It has a complicated backstory, having been dug up by farmhands employed by the Works Power Act during the Great Depression, many of the bones were damaged and no quarry maps were made.  Despite collection challenges, the surviving bones indicate a massive Jurassic predator.  The roughly 4’ femur and over 1.5’ long humerus suggest an animal whose massive legs could chase down prey that would be slashed and smashed by powerful arms with massive claws.  No skull has been found but the existing skeletal remains indicate a close affinity to Allosaurus, which means this animal had a mouth full of sharp teeth!

 

 #5

Giganotosaurus carolinii - “Carolini’s Giant Southern Lizard”

By Jonathan Chen

 

Family Carcharodontosauridae

From: Argentina, South America

Lived: 97 m.y.a, in the Late Cretaceous

Named: 1995 by Coria and Salgado

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 4" long (11.99 m)

Weighed in at 6 tons (12,428 pounds, 5,637 kg)

 

Bio

Giganotosaurus is the self-proclaimed Chompion based on a 1997 paper by the paleontologists that first named it.  Such boldness isn’t without merit, the skull is estimated to have been 5’ 9”, making it longer than that of the current Chomp, T. rex.  With a 4’ 5” femur, huge skull, and powerful arms with 3 sharp claws on each hand Giganotosaurus certainly looks the part of a Chomp!  Some may be surprised at the low seeding (#5), however, after having personally looked at the material in 1998 (and someday my blog will share the tales of that adventure!) I opted to go with a more svelte 6 tons despite proposed ranges of 4-20 tons.  With such a low seed Giganotosaurus enters the tourney with a chip on its shoulder!

 

#4

Chilantaisaurus tashuikouensis“Chilanti Lizard from Tashuikou”

From Hu, 1964

 

Family: Neovenatoridae

From: China, Asia

Lived: 92 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: 1964 by Hu

 

Fight Day Stats

40’ 8" long (12.4 m)

Weighed in at 6 tons (12,170 pounds, 5,520 kg)

 

Bio

Chilantaisaurus needs a better publicist!  It isn’t particularly well known within paleontological circles so it is understandable if you haven’t heard of it, despite it being named 56 years ago and possessing some amazing features.  With femora slightly over 4’ long, powerful arms nearly double the length of T. rex, and 10” curved hand claws this animal packs size and strength!  The skull is unknown but a serrated tooth attributed to this animal was roughly 2” long.  The legs, arms, powerful shoulders, and huge claws mean Chilantaisaurus is gunning to be the Chompion!

  

#3

 Tyrannotitan chubutensis, “Tyrant Titan from Chubut”

Photo from Tecnópolis Argentina

 

Family: Carcharodontosauridae

From: Argentina, South America

Lived: 115 m.y.a., in the Early Cretaceous

Named: 2005 by Novas, Valais, Vickers-Rich, and Rich

 

Fight Day Stats

39’ 6" long (12 m)

Weighed in at 7 tons (14,322 pounds, 6,496 kg)

 

Bio

Tyrannotitan’s name alone indicates it is looking to be the Chomp!  It is one of the earliest giant carcharodontids and lacks pneumaticity (lightening) of the skeleton in the hips and tail, meaning this animal packed on the pounds in comparison to its younger relatives.  The tall tailbones indicate a massive, powerful tail.  Combining the heavy tail with a 4.6’ long femur and ~60 “teeth with teeth” (its shark-like teeth had denticles on their edges giving it extra slicing power), Tyrannotitan brings power and speed to the tournament.

 

#2

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, “Spined Lizard from Egypt”

Image by Gustavo Monroy 

Family: Spinosauridae

From: Egypt, Africa

Lived: 95 m.y.a., in the Late Cretaceous

Named: 1915 by Stromer

 

Fight Day Stats

49’ 11" Long (15.2 m)

Weighed in at 7 tons (14,890 pounds, 6,754 kg)

 

Bio

Spinosaurus proves you can’t keep a good dinosaur down!  Named in 1915 for the 6’ tall spine on its back, it's only known bones were destroyed in World War II.  Paleontologists found additional material at the turn of the century and recently found even more, demonstrating not only was Spinosaurus the longest meat-eating dinosaur, but it also was aquatic, a first among dinosaurs!  With a near 6’ long skull loaded with spearing teeth, this pesky piscivorous pugilist possesses powerful scythe-like slashing hand claws.  Can its immense length, long snout, and wicked claws make it the 2020 Chompion?

 

#1

Tyrannosaurus rex, “King Tyrant Lizard”

Image by Gustavo Monroy 

 

Family: Tyrannosauridae

From: United States, North America

Lived: 65 m.y.a. in the Late Cretaceous

Named: 1905 by Osborn

 

Fight Day Stats

40’ 10" long (12.5 m)

Weighed in at 8 tons (16,892 pounds, 7,662 kg)

 

Bio

The proverbial King of the Dinosaurs, T. rex held the Chompion title for 100 years without dispute, from its naming in 1905 until Giganotosaurus was discovered and proposed as a challenger to the throne in 1995.  With 115 years of history, the largest predatory dinosaur teeth (dual serrations on each tooth no less!) and the strongest bite of any land animal, ferocious power in its legs (4’ 3” femur), solid speed and good maneuverability for such a giant animal, “The Chomp” is rightfully the number one seed in the tournament. 

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