Brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus altithorax

  • Pronounced:  Bra - key - o - Saw - rus

  • Diet:  Herbivore (Plant-Eater)

  • Name Means:  "high chested arm reptile"

  • Length:  80 feet (25 m)

  • Height:  40 feet (12 m)

  • Weight:  60 tons (54,500 kilos)

  • Time:  Jurassic to Cretaceous, 150 mya

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in U.S., Europe, Africa

Until recently Brachiosaurus was the largest known dinosaur, and made famous by the movie "Jurassic Park". It is very tall (40 feet!) and very heavy - more than 12 elephants! Unlike most of the other long-necked dinosaurs, Brachiosaurus was specifically designed to reach high into treetops to gather its meals. It had front legs that were longer than its hind legs which pointed its long neck upward. It had a shorter tail than most other big long-necked dinosaurs

It is possible that some specimens of Brachiosaurus reached heights exceeding 50 feet and weighed as much as 80 tons; in fact, it may never have stopped growing as long as it lived, which may have been over 100 years! It had, like other typical sauropods, peg-like teeth in a head that seemed very small for such a large creature. Studies about how much these creatures needed to eat and how such a small head could ingest enough food to fuel such a large body have concluded that a full grown Brachiosaurus would have needed to eat 440 pounds (200 kg) of food every day - if it was warm-blooded as many scientists believe. Some scientists have stated that these huge, small-headed creatures would have needed to eat every waking moment in order to provide enough food to keep such a large body alive. Brachiosaurus, like other sauropods, seemed to have every adaptation needed for continuous eating, including having nostrils on the top of its head, so breathing would not interfere with eating.

In order to facilitate the processing of food, which it could not chew with its teeth, Brachiosaurus swallowed stones that the dinosaur kept in its gizzard similar to that found in a chicken. The tough plant fibers would spend time in the gizzard stewing and being ground up by the stones. It probably traveled in herds, the sheer size of the adults protecting the young from predators. This creature is known from two fairly complete skeletons, one of which is on display in Berlin, Germany and the other in Chicago, USA.



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