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The Awesome Go-To Blog on Brontosaurus VS Brachiosaurus

A gray long neck sauropod statue standing beside a tree

Source by: Thegiansepillo

Here’s the quick answer to the difference between Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus. Brontosaurus is a sauropod that had forelimbs shorter than its hind legs while Brachiosaurus had longer forelimbs and shorter hind limbs.

Additionally, these two gigantic quadruped sauropod dinosaurs differed in tail length. Brontosaurus had a long tail that was whip-like in style whereas Brachiosaurus had a shorter more muscular tail.

Who knew the world’s two best-known dinosaurs are very different? In this Brontosaurus VS Brachiosaurus article, we’ll show you their key differences while taking a closer look at them individually. Let’s dig deeper together!

Brontosaurus VS Brachiosaurus: The Difference from Physical Features to Habitat

A yellow-brown sauropod statue standing in a forest

Source by: Vaibhav Pixels

Who’s who between the thunder lizard and the arm lizard? Is there anything individually unique about these sauropod dinosaurs? The answer is yes! Check out what makes the Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus special in their own right while also learning what makes these two dinosaurs distinct from each other.

Brontosaurus Characteristics

Several brown sauropods on the ground

Source by: Vaibhav Pixels

Brontosaurus is a large herbivorous sauropod dinosaur that existed 156 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period. The giant dinosaur was named by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1879. Brontosaurus comes from Greek words that mean “thunder lizard“. Its name was inspired by the fossils found at Wyoming’s Morrison Formation in 1874.

For a time, it was believed to be a species of the closely-related Apatosaurus but was later on accepted as a separate genus. Here are the three species of Brontosaurus identified by scientists:

  • Brontosaurus excelsus
  • Brontosaurus yahnahpin
  • Brontosaurus parvus
A brown brontosaurus on a cliff

Source by: Natural History Museum

Remember the Brontosaurus forelimbs we mentioned earlier? Because of its slightly shorter front legs, this gave the thunder lizard a lower neck posture compared to the Brachiosaurus. This position may have enabled it to feed on ground vegetation aside from foliage higher up in trees.

Brontosaurus may look it has a pretty thin neck at first sight. But when scientists studied the Late Jurassic dinosaur more closely, they discovered it actually had a thick neck that was deep and wide because of the paired spines inside. On top of having long necks, these giant sauropods also had long tails. These had a whip-like shape at the end. The tails’ structure is due to the vertebral spines that gradually grew smaller in size as they descended from their hips.

A giant long neck dinosaur with many people beside it

Source by: NPR

Here’s another interesting fact about this sauropod dinosaur to carry in your pocket of dino knowledge. The Brontosaurus made its habitat in a desert-like environment. It shared its home with other prehistoric creatures like fishes, frogs, and dinosaurs like the Allosaurus and Diplodocus.

Brachiosaurus Characteristics

lifelike statues of brachiosaurus in front of a forest

Source by: Syed Ahmad Fathi

Now we move on to Brachiosaurus. It’s a giraffe-like dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period 154 million years ago and was one of the tallest dinosaurs to have lived.

The species was discovered in 1900 through fossils found at the Colorado River valley in Western Colorado. These were described in 1903 by paleontologist Elmer S. Riggs who named the dinosaur “Brachiosaurus altithorax” which means “arm lizard” and “deep chest”.

The skeletons of three long neck dinosaurs in a museum

Source by: Flickr

Just like the giant sauropods in the Jurassic period, the Brachiosaurus had a disproportionately long neck and a small skull. Did you know this herbivorous dinosaur is estimated to have a length of a whopping 69 feet? Meanwhile, its skull is measured to be around 27.5 inches in length like the Giraffatitan.

Unlike other sauropods, scientists suggest that Brachiosaurus can’t rear up on its back legs because of its short hind legs and the peculiar shape of its body. This also means that the long-necked Brachiosaurus altithorax had longer front legs which gave it a steeply-inclined trunk and made it hold its tail parallel to the ground.

Having such a body structure helped support its herbivorous lifestyle as it grazed high canopies where it may have fed by nipping vegetation abundant in its semi-arid habitat.

A Summary of the Difference Between Brontosaurus & Brachiosaurus

A big pink Brontosaurus with a red heart painted on its side

Source by: Elizabeth Pishal

  • Brontosaurus refers to “thunder lizard” while Brachiosaurus refers to “arm lizard”
  • Brontosaurus’ skull is believed to be like the skull of the closely-related Apatosaurus while Brachiosaurus is more similar to Giraffatitan’s
  • Brontosaurus existed up until 146 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period. Brachiosaurus only existed up to 150 million years ago.
  • The Brontosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that fed more on plants closer to the ground. In contrast, Brachiosaurus was a sauropod dinosaur that had a herbivorous lifestyle that concentrated more on browsing higher-growing vegetation.
  • Brontosaurus had shorter front legs and longer hind legs. Brachiosaurus had longer front legs and shorter hind limbs.
  • Brontosaurus had a long neck that leaned more towards the front while Brachiosaurus had a long neck with a modest S-shaped curve.
  • Brontosaurus fossils were found in Wyoming. Brachiosaurus fossils were found in Western Colorado.

Interesting Questions About Brontosaurus & Brachiosaurus

Two brachiosaurus are walking across the river

Source by: AZ Animals

Take a look at these questions people are wondering about the most when it comes to the world’s largest land animals, the sauropods.

Why is the name Brontosaurus no longer used?

The name Brontosaurus is still being used. It was set aside for a while when scientists thought it didn’t have enough unique traits to make it a genus separate from Apatosaurus. But a study in 2015 by Emmanuel Tschopp and his team has found otherwise.

Is Brontosaurus still a dinosaur?

Yes, it is! The study mentioned above helps prove that it still is a dinosaur.

Does Brachiosaurus still exist?

Sadly, it doesn’t exist anymore. Only fossils and lifelike animatronic dinosaurs are what keep it alive in our memories now.

Some giant long neck dinosaurs are walking on the ground

Source by: Fruugo SG

How do you like the things you just learned about the difference between Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus? Was there anything new that inspired you? We hope there was! We learned a lot ourselves. So much so that these new facts inspired how we created our realistic dinosaur costumes. We think you’ll find them pretty cool.

There you have it! See you again next time as we continue our blog series on awesome dinosaurs.

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