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Among all of the big sauropod that has roamed on Earth, Brachiosaurus, a giraffe-like dinosaur that has a long neck and long tail, was not the biggest. But thanks to the exposure in Jurassic Park, it still ranks among the most beloved dinosaurs in the world. So let’s get closer to the titanosaur that we loved with 10 fascinating Brachiosaurus facts for kids, and your little one can be sure to be thrilled at some fantastic features of this creature. So, let’s get started, shall we?
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You can get a quick learn about Brachiosaurus first, with 10 fast facts as follows:
- The pronunciation of the Brachiosaurs is ‘brack-ee-ow-sor-us’, and the name means ‘Arm Lizard’.
- Brachiosaurus has lived in North America during the Late Jurassic, 154–150 million years ago
- The first Brachiosaurus fossil was found in 1900 by US paleontologist Elmer Riggs
- An adult Brachiosaurus may have a length of 18 to 21 meters (59 to 69 ft), a height of 9.4 to 13 meters (303⁄4 to 43 ft).
- It weighs around 28.3 to 58 metric tons.
- The top speed of Brachiosaurus has been estimated around 7.5 mph (12 kph)
- Brachiosaurus was a herbivore and mainly fed on coniferous trees, ginkgo, and cycads.
- The Brachiosaurus would grind up foliage using its 52 cone-shaped teeth.
- A fully grown Brachiosaurus probably had no predators. The average size of an apex predator living during the same period would have only been half the size.
- In 1993, in the motion picture Jurassic Park, the Brachiosaurus was the first dinosaur to appear in a movie through computer generation.
What Did Brachiosaurus Look Like?
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Brachiosaurus was a member of a group of dinosaurs known as the sauropods. Generally, Sauropods are depicted by their enormous size, long necks, and long tails. (Some other members of Sauropods include Apatosaurus and Diplodocus.). And unlike the Sauropods, Brachiosaurus had an unusual sloping stance, caused by its long front legs and short tail.
Brachiosaurus had very sturdy legs, strong enough to carry its massive body with a bulk making up its long neck. And at the end of Brachiosaurus’s long, giraffe-like neck was a small head.
Although the head was small, it was big enough to carry its large nostrils. Which some believe it inducted that Brachiosaurus had a highly sensitive sense of smell. Its mouth, contrary to those of most other sauropods, which were peg-shaped, was filled with spoon-shaped teeth.
Also, unlike most other sauropods, Brachiosaurus had longer front legs than its back legs raising its shoulders higher than its hips. That meant its neck would have risen, giraffe-like, from its torso. Its body would have sloped downwards towards its tail. Quite an interesting animal!
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Another feature Brachiosaurus had different from other Sauropods was the tail. Members of the Sauropods had long tails. But Brachiosaurus had it short, short but thick. Its thickness provided a counterbalance to the dinosaur’s top-heavy front end.
Experts think if Brachiosaurus’s long neck were probably held erect, Brachiosaurus would have been able to reach vegetation 16 meters (52.5 ft.) from the ground. Meaning just the neck of the Brachiosaurus is a few meters short of the full height of a giraffe which is about 20 meters.
However, scientists are unsure just how flexible Brachiosaurus’s neck was and how it was held. Keeping its head high would have required Brachiosaurus to have a huge heart. Pumping blood all the way to the dinosaur’s brain would have required some serious muscle! Well, Brachiosaurus had a small brain and was unlikely to have been very intelligent. It seems it really did take some serious strength.
However, unlike some depictions of Brachiosaurus, especially in Jurassic Park, where it reared up on its hind legs, scientists believe this might not be entirely true. Experts believe a considerable animal such as Brachiosaurus would have to use enormous amounts of energy to raise its front half from the ground. And considering that the negligible energy gains from the extra food, that would probably not have been worth the effort.
Due to its shape, scientists believe Brachiosaurus was likely to have preferred low ground.
Discovery and Name
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The first Brachiosaurus fossil was found in 1900 by American paleontologist Elmer Riggs. It was found in the Morrison Formation in western Colorado – a popular dinosaur fossil hotspot.
Riggs named the dinosaur ‘Brachiosaurus,’ which means ‘arm lizard.’ This relatively odd name comes from Riggs’ realization that Brachiosaurus’s ‘arms’ (front legs) were unusually long.
How Long Did Brachiosaurus Live?
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Usually, the bigger and slower an animal is, the longer its life span. The enormous size of Brachiosaurus (up to 85 feet long from head to tail and 40-50 tons) with its presumed cold-blooded or homeothermic metabolism means that healthy adults might have reached the century mark very quickly.
This is possible, as a full-blown Brachiosaurus would have been practically resistant to danger from predators, like the contemporary Allosaurus, once it aged out of its vulnerable childhood and teenage years.
When Was Brachiosaurus Alive?
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Brachiosaurus roamed the earth during the mid to late Jurassic period, around 155.5 to 150.8 million years ago. That was long before the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Where They Lived?
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Brachiosaurus fossils have been found in many areas of North America, including Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah. They have also been found in other parts of the world, such as Portugal and Algeria. Hence, the giant Brachiosaurus roamed the lands of North America, including Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah.
How Big Was Brachiosaurus?
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The issue of the exact weight of Brachiosaurus, over the years, has not been fully concluded. But, of course, we know Brachiosaurus was definitely a huge creature. In fact, at the time of its discovery in 1903, Brachiosaurus was declared the largest dinosaur ever, but other sauropods are now believed to have been bigger and heavier than Brachiosaurus.
Brachiosaurus has been estimated to reach a staggering height of 85 feet (28 meters). To put that in context, that’s about the length of three double-decker buses parked end to end! A full-grown man could freely walk under a standing Brachiosaurus without hitting his head. Impressive!!!
Interestingly, scientists believe the dinosaur maybe even more giant than this, as the fossils were not fully-grown specimens. Additionally, Brachiosaurus may have weighed about 62 tons (56 metric tons).
Although young brachiosaurus would have been a target for the large carnivores present at the time, such as Allosaurus, an adult Brachiosaurus was unlikely to have had any predators due to its large size. Even the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex would not have stood a chance!
What Did Brachiosaurus Eat?
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Brachiosaurus was a herbivore, feeding only on plant material. Its large size made it ideally placed to feed on coniferous trees, and it would have also browsed on large shrubs. Being so big, Brachiosaurus would have had to consume phenomenal amounts of food. It is estimated that it might have needed to eat 400 kg (880 pounds) of plant material every day just to survive!
Brachiosaurus’s big, chisel-shaped teeth (26 on the top jaw and 26 on the bottom) would have been ideal for stripping the vegetation from trees. However, they were not designed for chewing, and Brachiosaurus would have swallowed its food whole. Polished pebbles have been found with the remains of sauropods. This suggests that the dinosaurs consumed them to help them digest thorny vegetation. Modern-day birds do the same thing!
Was Brachiosaurus Warm or Cold-Blooded?
One of the most common questions dinosaur lovers ask is how a dinosaur as big as Brachiosaurus regulated its body temperature. For a start, it’s been often debated, over the years, whether this prehistoric creature, Brachiosaurus, was a warm or cold-blooded animal. However, the general agreement is that it was a warm-blooded dinosaur.
Paleontologists believe that sauropods might have taken a long time to warm up in the sun and an equally long time to disperse this built-up heat at night. This ensured a constant body temperature almost every time of the day, a steady-state of homeothermy.
Although this theory has not been entirely proven, it is consistent with sauropods possessing a cold-blooded (reptilian) but not a warm-blooded (mammalian) metabolism.
Other meat-eating dinosaurs of Sauropods like Allosaurus, on the contrary, may have been genuinely warm-blooded, given their relatively active lifestyles.
Did They Walk in Herds?
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Although this may be hard to establish conclusively from the fossil record, it does seem Brachiosaurus may have traveled in herds.
Females would have laid their huge eggs as they walked rather than using nests. Hence, it is doubtful that any parental care or protection was given to the offspring.
It Wasn't the Only Brachiosaurid Sauropod
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Generally, although the exact classification is still a matter of some dispute among paleontologists, “brachiosaurid” sauropod mimes Brachiosaurus’ general body shape: long neck, long tail, and longer front than hind limbs.
Some well-known brachiosaurids include Astrodon, Bothriospondylus, and Sauroposeidon. There’s also some evidence pointing to an Asian brachiosaurid and the recently discovered Qiaowanlong. The other main category of sauropods is the “diplodocids,” that is, dinosaurs closely related to Diplodocus.
It Wasn't the Only Sauropod in Late Jurassic North America
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It’s okay to think a dinosaur as large and exacting as Brachiosaurus would “crowd out” its niche on the floodplains of late Jurassic North America. After all, what’s the usefulness of being huge if it couldn’t dominate its immediate habitat.
However, the ecosystem was a lush ecosystem. One could accommodate numerous other genera of sauropods, including Apatosaurus and Diplodocus. Obviously, these dinosaurs managed to coexist by developing different feeding strategies. Perhaps Brachiosaurus, being the tall and giant animals, concentrated on the high branches of trees. At the same time, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus held out their necks like the hoses of big vacuum cleaners and feasted on low-lying shrubs and bushes.
That was quite a long exciting ride! Dinosaurs were terrific animals with incredible features. And Brachiosaurus wasn’t an exemption. Scientists and paleontologists are still researching these creatures. You can be sure that the more they explore, the more discovery they will make. Brachiosaurus has inspired many movies and books. There is more to know about these prehistoric creatures, but we hope you have learned a few bee things and have a better knowledge about them.
More so, you can see our dinosaur puppet of Brachiosaurus or any of your kids’ favorite dinosaurs. Do well to check them out and bring a surprise for your little one.
Learning More About Dinosaur
We hope that you have enjoyed this article. Now it is time to explore more awesome dinosaur information in the pages as follows: