Posted by: tylereddy | June 7, 2013

Dinosaur of the Week: Giganotosaurus

We rumbled down the road towards El Chocon, still cautious in the first moments of driving in Argentina, but excited to leave the city in the rear-view. The city had opened up to an expansive desert of scrubby brush dotted with roadside shrines and the occasional dinosaur billboard. Yes we were headed in the right direction. Destination: Museo Ernesto Bachmann, the home of Giganotosaurus.

We crested a hill and the dessert opened up into a sprawling valley with a giant lake which we had stolen occasional glimpses of from a distance. The town of El Chocon was still hidden but a few large dinosaur sculptures peaked out from the hillsides enticing us to explore further. Giant footprints painted on the pavement led us over the bumpy streets right to the doors of Museo Ernesto Bachmann. Park right in front? Yes we will. Being fall in Argentina there are few turistas out and about, especially in a place as remote as this. We had the place to ourselves, just two excited kids, great dinosaurs and a camera, it was setting up to be a perfect introduction to our first giant carnivore in Patagonia.

Ummm the camera? Do you have the camera? No you have it. No I don’t, you do. It’s okay we’ve got the phone camera. It’s broken and needs restart after every photo. Ummm… Oh. Anyway, so it was us and a non-willing camera.

The star attraction of the display is Giganotosaurus, South America’s slightly larger version of T-rex.   The type specimen (the first of its kind) is displayed in a field simulation complete with a broken down dune buggy and field tools. The display had an elevated walkway that allowed you to circle the specimen and see it from every angle in the room. The formidable beast consumes the entire space. The original specimen is surprisingly complete with over 70 per cent of the bones recovered.

Stubborn camera takes one photo of Giganotosaurus

Stubborn camera takes a single photo of Giganotosaurus

Museo Ernesto Bachmann also has a complete reconstruction in nearby gallery with Giganotosaurus posed alongside Carnotaurus. I preferred this version, but E2 did not. Fast Fact: Royal Tyrrell Museum scientists Francois Therrien and Don Henderson have published research on both Giganotosaurus size and bite force.

E2 not impressed with Giganotosaurus.

E2 not impressed by Giganotosaurus.

Later we wandered through the town of El Chocon and discovered a playground. Teenagers smoked cigarettes and mused as our kids ran about hollering in English. Otherwise, the town was deserted and we soaked up the tranquility. Just us and Giganotosaurus, a perfect introduction to Patagonia.

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Responses

  1. Tyler and Kelly,
    I’m sure enjoying your blog and adventures. When your Moms and I were your age, the only communication we had on a holiday was telephone or post-card and travelling so far from home was a dream that might come true or not.
    I look forward to your next excerpt. Safe travels.
    Your 2nd Cousin Merilyn

  2. It is great to read your journey. What a great time you guys are having. Take care and travel safe.

    Brian and Aggie

  3. What an adventure…we enjoy your insights. Wishing you all safe and good times
    Ed and Myrna


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