National Geographic : 1997 Dec
Carnotaurus sastrei Relatives in Africa, Asia, and North America Gasparinisaura cincosaltensis Relatives in Africa and North America Patagonykus puertai Relative in Asia Amargasaurus cazaui Relative in Africa Giganotosaurus carolinii (background) Relative in Africa out. Fielding such tips from amateurs is a big part of his job. The calls come from farmers, Mapuche Indians, and oil workers manning lonely outposts. What do you expect when you are the resident paleontologist in a region lit tered with old bones? Perhaps the most profitable tip so far led to the discovery of Coria's Cretaceous office mate: the great killer Giganotosaurus.In 1993 Coria got word that a local mechanic and fossil buff had found something interesting near the town of El Choc6n, 30 miles southeast of Plaza Huincul. "This fellow had called many times," says Coria. "But this time was different." He and his colleague Leonardo Salgado, a paleontologist at the University of Comahue in Neuquen, drove to the site. They brushed some sand UNCOVERING PATAGONIA'S LOST WORLD from a bone and knew immediately that it was the shinbone of the largest predatory dinosaur ever found in South America. It took a few more days of digging to realize that it might be the largest predatory dinosaur ever found any where. Coria and Salgado estimated the beast's weight at between six and eight tons, its length at about 42 feet. Back in Plaza Huincul the phone started ringing for a different reason. Reporters from all over the world had the same initial ques tion. I can't help asking it too. "So who wins the grand prize? If you saw JAMES SHREEVE is writing a book about the origin and nature of life. ROBERT CLARK is making portraits of victims of handgun violence for an upcoming work. JAMES GURNEY is the creator of a popular book series on Dinotopia, a land where Giganotosaurusreigns.