All About the Brachiosaurus: The Giraffe-like Dinosaur


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Did you know that there was a dinosaur called the Brachiosaurus and it features many similarities to a giraffe? The brachiosaurus is one of the first things people think of when they hear the word "dinosaur." This creature lived during the Jurassic period about 150 million years ago and stood taller than most dinosaurs of its age.

There's so much more to them, however than just being tall and giraffe-like. Let's learn more about the Brachiosaurus in this article!

Description and Appearance

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The Brachiosaurus was a large, long-necked dinosaur that is thought to have looked similar to a giraffe. It was one of the tallest dinosaurs that ever lived and had a long, slender neck and tail. Brachiosaurus means "arm lizard" in reference to its long arms which were used to reach high up into the trees for food.

However, it didn't have the same hump that you'll find on a giraffe. It was more like an elephant; it had a large and heavy skull. The head of this dinosaur would reach about as high as a three-story building! It also had a large body, but it was covered in a lot of bulky muscle. This made it very strong and able to withstand weight better than most other dinosaurs because its bones were hollow.

The Brachiosaurus was also unusual for being one of two quadrupedal sauropods. It had four legs that looked like elephant legs with five-toed feet. These legs were suited for walking slowly on land, which it did to get from one source of food to the next.

The Brachiosaurus' skin was covered in thick scales that made it appear green, gray, or even brownish-yellow. It also had a long tail that stuck out behind it with spikes to prevent predators from attacking its backside.

The Brachiosaurus didn't have any teeth. Instead, it had beaks in the upper jaw that cut off pieces of plants to chew. This type of dinosaur was herbivorous, meaning that it only ate plant life, which included leaves and stems from trees when they were available.

It did look like it was one of the more fun dinosaurs to live around. If anything else, it looks like it could pass a giraffe identity test if it disguised itself with spots. Unfortunately, they’re not around anymore—but I’ll tell you what. What’s still around is Gage Beasley’s Blue Brachiosaurus Soft Stuffed Plush Toy!

Gage Beasley’s Blue Brachiosaurus Soft Stuffed Plush Toy

Diet

The Brachiosaurus is classified as an herbivore, which means that it only ate plants in order to get its nutrients. Since food was scarce during the Jurassic period when this dinosaur lived, it had to eat large quantities in order to sustain itself for energy and stay alive.

When food was abundant in certain areas, this dinosaur would travel from one source to the next. It would stay in an area until there was no food left and then move on to a place where it could find enough trees or bushes to eat from.

This dinosaur ate anything that was green and within reach, including palm fronds and small plants that were closer to the ground. They also had to compete with Diplodocus, another type of dinosaur that was also a large quadrupedal herbivore. It had a lot of competition for food sources because there were so few during the Jurassic period.

The neck and tail of this animal helped it reach high up into the trees to get fresh leaves from branches that weren't low enough for it to reach. It had an acute sense of sight so it could see where the leaves were and what kinds they'd be, allowing it to get enough for itself before other dinosaurs came to eat them all.

Reproduction

Scientists aren't sure how many young Brachiosaurus' are produced at once. Some believe that they lay large quantities of eggs because the infant Brachiosaurus' are so small, but others think that it depends on what kind of food is available to them in their environment.

The female would start reproducing when she was 20 years old and had two to six young at a time. The babies were about three feet long and could walk on their own immediately after birth.

The mother would stay with her young for approximately four years before abandoning them to find food sources of their own during the Jurassic period. She would then come back into heat and start producing more young when she turned 20 again.

A large Brachiosaurus would live up to 150 years. This means that it had a lot of time to reproduce and have young, making it possible for more of these creatures to exist during the Jurassic period.

Distribution

Before the Brachiosaurus went extinct, it lived in North America during the late Jurassic period about 150 million years ago. Specifically, it lived in the area we currently call Colorado and Utah.

The climate had warm days and cold nights, with a lot of humidity in between. This made for an overcast sky most days during the summer months. The winter brought heavy fog instead of rain, but it also meant that it was harder for predators to find this dinosaur when they were sleeping and vulnerable in the mornings and evenings.

The area where this dinosaur lived was heavily forested with lots of large coniferous trees and deciduous plants, which is why scientists think it had a long neck and tail to reach up high into the branches. During the winter months when food was scarce, it may have migrated over to North Africa, which was warmer and had more food sources available.

Discovery

Photo: MR1805 via Getty Images

The Brachiosaurus was discovered in 1903 by Elmer Riggs, a paleontologist from the Field Museum of Natural History. He found the fossils while he was doing an excavation in Colorado and Utah at the turn of the 20th century.

Riggs published his findings of this dinosaur in 1907 after spending several years studying it and preparing its fossils for display. He named its fossils after the first few letters of the Greek alphabet because he wanted to show respect to Lord Byron, who had written a poem about a monster that was half-lizard and half-elephant.

The Brachiosaurus' bones were put on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois where they can still be seen today.   

Final Thoughts

The Brachiosaurus may have been a large, long-necked dinosaur that looked like a giraffe, but it probably didn't act much like any mammal we know today.  

It migrated to North Africa if food sources were scarce and ate as much as possible when they were available so it could store up for leaner times. There's also no evidence to suggest that the Brachiosaurus was social in any way, so it probably didn't live in herds with its own kind.  

Instead of relying on the members of its species for help, this animal is believed to have depended on itself and only on itself during the Jurassic period to get by. However, even though there's evidence that this dinosaur survived for approximately one hundred and fifty years, scientists aren't sure how it died out entirely.

The Brachiosaurus may have had special camouflage abilities or became extinct due to a lack of food supplies in its environment. Since fossils don't reveal everything about the creature they came from, the true mystery behind the Brachiosaurus lives on.

Cheers!

~GB


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