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[brak' E O saw' rus] a dinosaur that lived in the middle to late Jurassic Period, about 156-145 million years ago


Brachiosaurus was one of the tallest and largest dinosaurs, standing 40 to 50 feet in height, about 85 feet long, and weighing between 33 and 88 tons. It had a claw on the first toe of each front foot and claws on the first three toes of each rear foot. Each foot had five toes with flesy pads.



It was assumed for many years that Brachiosaurus (as well as other giant sauropods) spent most of their time in water, letting the water support their weighty bodies. Now, however, it is believed that they were fully terrestrial.


This herbivore probably ate the tops of tall trees and swallowed its food whole.

Habits and Behaviors

Brachiosaurus probably traveled in herds.

Although none have to date been found, it is believed that Brachiosaurus hatched from eggs, like other sauropods.

Fossil History

Brachiosaurus was first found in the Grand River Valley, in western Colorado (United States), in 1900. This incomplete skeleton was first described by paleontologist Elmer S. Riggs in 1903. It was he who said that Brachiosaurus' feet and limbs were not broad enough to support the animal in mud, that its back was flexible enough to support it on land, and that its chest was narrow and deep, which is insufficient for breathing underwater. Other Brachiosaurus fossils have since been found in North America and Africa.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Archosauria
order Saurischia
suborder Sauropoda
family Brachiosaurid
subfamily Brachiosaurinae
genus & species
Brachiosaurus altithorax (the type species)
Brachiosaurus atalaiensis
Brachiosaurus brancai

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Geology >> Paleontology

This page was last updated on 05/19/2017.