Brachiosaurus (pronounced 'brak-ee-oh-sore-us') gets the cute billing in the Jurassic Park movies- you know the bit where everyone goes "ahhhhhh- isn't he cute". Well, they were also very big and you wouldn't want to be trodden on by a big cute one!
Brachiosaurus means 'arm reptiles', and these huge beast were plant eaters that lived in the Late Jurassic Period. Their measured around 26 metres in length and weighed a staggering 40 tonnes. Their loing necks enabled them to feed on high stuff (unlike Triceratops for example), -think of a huge giraffe - it was able to munch on leaves up to 9 metres high.
Brachiosaurus fossils have been found in Colorado in the US.
Walking With Dinosaurs
This huge dinosaur, a sauropod was first discovered by a geologist called Elmer S. Riggs in 1903 from fossils found in Colorado River. Riggs claimed it was "the largest known dinosaur" due to its long neck, small skull, and length. Brachiosaurus differs from many sauropods in that its forelegs were longer than the hindlegs, which meant it had a steeply dipping trunk. Also its tail was shorter than its neck.
What Was the Biggest Ever Dinosaur?
The largest dinosaur ever discovered is now thought to be Argentinosaurus, which was discovered in Argentina. This dinosaur came in 14m longer than brachiosaurs at 40m and was 20m tall. It would have made brachiosaurus look a bit puny next to it in fact! Weighing 77 tonnes, if you put Argentinosaurus on one end of a see-saw, you would need 14 African elephants to balance it out.
This relatively recently discovered "titanosaur" is a massive herbivore from the Late Cretaceous period. Incredible.
What Did Brachiosaurus Eat For Breakfast?
Brachiosaurus must have been a top feeder, given the size of that neck- munching on leaves and foliage well above the ground. this gave it an advantage over other herbovores like Triceratops of course. Its diet was probably tree ferns, and large cycads (like palms). It is thought that this dinosaur must have had to eat a jaw dropping 150 kilograms of plants a day. That's alot fo greens! They could have eaten up to 400kg a day- we don't really know, but scientists have been able to make a pretty good guess by modelling its fodd intake on modern day herbovores and scaling it up.
In Jurassic Park, the Brachiosaurus rear up on their hind legs to feed. This is unlikely, but it looks good in the movie (!) There was probably enough food about at "lower" levels without having to pull off this party trick.