Animal Type: Dietary Type: Size: Weight: Major Fossil Finds:
Brachiosaurus BRAK-ee-oh-SAW-rus Arm lizard Dinosaur (sauropod) Herbivore 25 metres long 13 metres high 80 tonnes Colorado, USA and Tanzania
Evidence Brachiosaurus ("arm reptile") from the Late Jurassic takes its name from the prodigious length of its forelegs when compared to its hindlimbs. It was first described by Elmer Riggs on the basis of an incomplete skeleton discovered in 1900 at the Grand Junction, Colorado. A few years later several very fine skeletons were found at Tendaguru in Tanzania.
Brachiosaurus was one of the biggest land animals ever. Its weight has been estimated at about 80 tonnes, twenty times as heavy as a large elephant. Unlike other dinosaurs it had front legs longer than the hind ones, so that its back sloped upwards towards the head. In the Natural History Museum in Berlin there is a mounted skeleton of Brachiosaurus; the head is 13 metres above the ground, its upper arm bone is over 2 metres long, and it dwarfs the Diplodocus standing next to it.
With close cropping teeth for nipping food, it was adapted to eat the most elevated plant material such as conifer leaves and fruit. The upright stance and elevated neck meant that it could graze from trees at heights no other sauropod could reach . Its jaws were comparatively short and armed with chisel-like teeth for nipping leaves and fruit from tall conifer trees. It had unusually large nostrils on the top of it's head.