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Facts about Brontosaurus Dinosaur

Medha Godbole
The Brontosaurus dinosaur is actually a redundant synonym for Apatosaurus. It is a genus of the Sauropod dinosaur which lived in the Jurassic Age about 150 million years ago.
The Brontosaurus comes from the family of Diplodocidae, a clade of sauropod dinosaurs. It is one of the largest animals known to exist on land.


In the year 1877, a professor of Paleontology from Yale University, Othniel Marsh, named an incomplete skeleton of a dinosaur as the Apatosaurus Ajax. Two years later, in 1879, he discovered another specimen of dinosaur at Como Bluff, Wyoming.
Due to discrepancies in size, it was wrongly identified by Marsh as a totally new genus and species. He named that species Brontosarus Excelsus, which means thunder lizard in Greek, bronte meaning thunder and saurus meaning lizard. Excelsus referred to the number of sacral vertebrae, which was more than in any other genus of sauropod at the time.
Many experts thought that the latter specimen did not qualify to be a separate genus because it bore a striking resemblance to the Apatosaurus Ajax found in 1877.
There were many arguments as to whether the Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were two different species or variations of a single genera. Some opined that there was hardly any difference between them. So, the Brontosaurus is considered as a synonym of the Apatosaurus.
The specimen that was found was of the largest dinosaur ever discovered till then. It was nearly complete, but the head and portions of the tail and feet were missing. The specimen was displayed at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History in 1905.
Interestingly, the missing bones were filled by using known pieces from close relatives of the species. Its fossils have been mainly found in the USA, Mile Quarry and Bone Cabin Quarry in Wyoming, and at sites in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah.

Physical Traits

This dinosaur was a huge quadrupedal with a tremendously-long neck. With a long, whip-like tail, its hind limbs were shorter than its forelimbs. One of the measurements says that these creatures were 85 feet long and weighed at least 16 tons on an average.
Similar to most of the Sauropods, this species had a single large claw on each of its forelimb. The first three toes on the hind limbs also possessed claws. If compared with the size of the body, it had a small skull and brain, which is a testament to it being one of the least intelligent dinosaurs.
Its teeth resembled chisels, which was appropriate for a herbivorous diet. There was a theory that this creature must have lived partly in water. Compared to the Diplodocus, it had elongated and heavily-constructed cervical vertebrae. Stockier leg bones implied that it was a huge animal.


This mammoth dinosaur moved in herds and was believed to scare off predators owing to its huge size. It was a herbivore and ate only plants, tree leaves, and ferns. According to a few paleontologists, it might have had thick, moose-like lips which helped it gather plant material.
It is believed that it would swallow leaves and other vegetation as a whole, without chewing them. It probably had gastroliths, which are stomach stones to help digest the plant material.
These were some of the conclusions drawn from the fossils of the Brontosaurus. It cannot be denied that it was one of the largest animals to have inhabited the earth.