All About the Apatosaurus: The Deceptive Lizard

Photo: MR1805 via Getty Images

The Apatosaurus is one of the most iconic dinosaurs, thanks to its starring role in the film Jurassic Park.

But despite its popularity, there is still much that we don't know about this massive creature.

For instance, did you know that the Apatosaurus was one of the last dinosaurs to go extinct? Or that its name means "deceptive lizard"?

This blog post will explore some fascinating facts about the Apatosaurus and what makes this dinosaur so unique.

So strap in and learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Apatosaurus!

Description and Appearance

The Apatosaurus was one of the largest land animals ever lived, measuring up to 90 feet in length and weighing as much as 80 tons.

But despite their massive size, these dinosaurs were relatively gentle giants, feeding on foliage and browsing on low-lying vegetation.

In terms of appearance, Apatosaurus dinosaurs had a long neck and tail and a small head with a blunt snout.

Thick, pillar-like legs supported their bodies, and they had a row of small plates running down their backs.

Apatosaurus dinosaurs possessed a unique tail, which they used for balance to help them change direction quickly. Although they were not built for speed, Apatosaurus dinosaurs could move fast when required, utilizing their tails as counterweights to assist them do so.

Overall, the Apatosaurus was a fascinating creature that dominated the landscape during the Jurassic period.


Apatosaurus dinosaurs were herbivores that fed on plants' leaves, fruits, and stems using their peg-like teeth.

The Apatosaurus skull had narrow nasal cavities and large eye sockets, suggesting a keen sense of smell and excellent night vision.

They also had long necks that could reach up to twenty feet in length, allowing them to access food resources that other animals could not reach.

It also had curved, flat, and serrated teeth perfectly suited for munching through tough plant material.

Another adaptation that helped the Apatosaurus dinosaurs to thrive was their large size; at nearly thirty feet long and weighing up to sixty tons, they were too big for most predators to target.

The Apatosaurus was a successful dinosaur species due to its specialized diet and unique adaptations.


The Apatosaurus, also known as the Brontosaurus, was one of the largest land animals.

These massive creatures could grow over 90 feet long and weigh over 20 tons.

Despite their great size, little is known about the reproduction of these animals.

Scientists believe that the Apatosaurus reproduced similarly to other sauropod dinosaurs.

It is thought that apatosaurs reached sexual maturity at around 15 years of age, and they may have mated for life.

Female apatosaurs would lay their eggs in large nests, which the sun's heat would then incubate.

Once hatched, the young dinosaurs would be cared for by their parents until they were old enough to fend for themselves.

With their enormous size and sluggish metabolism, apatosaurs were almost certainly long-lived, possibly living for more than a century.

Although much remains unknown about these amazing creatures, recent discoveries are helping to shed light on the intriguing world of Apatosaurus reproduction.


The Apatosaurus lived from 155 to 150 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period.

During this time, the Earth was much warmer than today, and the continents were arranged differently.

At that time, North America was connected to Europe and Asia by land bridges, allowing animals to move between these continents.

The Apatosaurus probably originated in North America, but fossils of this dinosaur have also been found in Europe and Asia.

Apatosaurus dinosaurs lived in various habitats, including forests, floodplains, and swampy areas.

They likely preferred warm climates and avoided cold weather.

During the Late Jurassic, much of the world was covered in lush vegetation, providing ample food resources for these large herbivores.

The Apatosaurus was a successful dinosaur species that could adapt to various environments.


Photo: Elenarts108 via Getty Images

The Apatosaurus was discovered in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh. Marsh was a paleontologist who was excavating in the American West.

While digging in Wyoming, he found the bones of a large dinosaur that he initially believed to be a new species of Megalosaurus.

However, further study revealed that the bones belonged to a previously unknown genus of sauropod.

Marsh named the new genus Apatosaurus, meaning "deceptive lizard," due to its similarity to Megalosaurus.

The discovery of Apatosaurus helped shed light on the early evolution of sauropods and cemented Marsh's reputation as one of the leading paleontologists of his time.

Other Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the Apatosaurus:

  • Apatosaurus was a large, long-necked, herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period.
  • Apatosaurus was one of the largest land animals, measuring up to 22 metres (72 feet) in length and weighing 16 tonnes (18 tons).
  • Apatosaurus was likely a sluggish mover due to its size and weight.
  • Apatosaurus was likely a herd member, since many individuals have been discovered together in the fossil record.
  • The name Apatosaurus means "deceptive lizard", as the first fossil discovered was misidentified as that of a different genus of dinosaur.
  • Apatosaurus was first described in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh.
  • Apatosaurus is closely related to another genus of dinosaur called Brontosaurus. Some scientists believe that Apatosaurus is a species of Brontosaurus.

Final Thoughts

The Apatosaurus was an amazing creature that lived during the Jurassic period. It is one of the most popular dinosaurs because it was one of the largest land animals.

The Apatosaurus was a herbivore, which means it ate plants. It had a long neck and tail, and a small head.

The Apatosaurus was a very interesting dinosaur, and we are still learning new things about it today.



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