Profile view of Brontosaurus excelsus
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Sauropodomorpha
Superfamily Diplodocoidea
Family Diplodocidae
Subfamily Apatosaurinae
Genus Brontosaurus
1st Species Brontosaurus excelsus
2nd Species Brontosaurus parvus
3rd Species Brontosaurus louisae
4th Species Brontosaurus yahnahpin
Other attributes
Time Range 155-150 mya
Location United States of America
Name Meaning Thunder reptile
Physical Dimensions 20.5 meters long for B.excelsus; 18.7 meters long for B.parvus; 22.3 meters long for B.louisae; 18 meters long for B.yahnahpin
Weight 17.6 tonnes for B.excelsus; 16.6 tonnes for B.parvus; 22.2 tonnes for B.louisae; 14.8 tonnes for B.yahnahpin
Dietary Classification Herbivore
Brontosaurus is a diplodocid sauropod sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of the United States of America. It was named in 1879 by Othniel Charles Marsh. It is one of the most famous dinosaurs to exist (only being slightly overshadowed by Tyrannosaurus), and it was considered to be a junior synonym of Apatosaurus for a long time; however, many people now consider it to be a different genus due to skeletal differences.


Brontosaurus was a quadrupedal dinosaur with a bulky body, 4 large, erect, pillar-like legs (with one large claw on each hand and 3 clawed toes on each foot), an extremely long, whip-like tail, a long neck, and a small head. An interesting thing to note is that near the underside of its neck were a row of large bumps used for intraspecific combat (fighting with other members of its species). Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Brontosaurus was an herbivore, primarily feeding on ferns, cycads, horsetails, and leaves, but also snacking on algae from time to time. Its peg-like teeth were used to strip branches of their leaves, and its long neck would have helped it reach plants further away from its body.


Earlier, Brontosaurus was thought to be a swamp-dwelling herbivore, constantly feeding on algae and seaweed knee-deep in water, and retreating into lakes and rivers in order to avoid predators like Allosaurus; however, recent findings have confirmed that it spent 95% of its time on land, only feeding on algae very rarely. In terms of diet itself, it would have primarily eaten ferns, cycads, horsetails, and leaves; when dealing with branches on tall trees, it would rear up and use its peg-like teeth to strip them of all their leaves. As well as this, it had a long, thin, whip-like tail that, when swung around violently, could produce a loud sound over 200 decibels; many theories of how this could be used say that it was used for signaling to others, winning dominance contests (where the loudest sound would belong to the most powerful individual), driving off predators such as Allosaurus or Torvosaurus, or even all three. A recent examination of Brontosaurus' neck bones have shown that the neck ribs had buttresses that didn't serve as muscle attachments, but rather as possible attachments for large bumps covered in thick skin; such bumps would render the neck as an effective weapon, particularly for fighting with rival males during mating season.

In popular cultureEdit

Brontosaurus was first introduced to the public through its display at the American Museum of Natural History, where it was featured with a skull not unlike that of the distantly-related Camarasaurus. Due to this, it has become an extremely popular herbivorous dinosaur among the American public, appearing in major pieces of media like The Lost World, Fantasia, The Land Before Time, and Jurassic Park. In fact, its popularity has earned it a reputation and "personality" similar to the other popular dinosaurs; whereas Tyrannosaurus is the savage, murderous apex predator and Triceratops is the hardy, belligerent large herbivore, Brontosaurus is the calm, gentle giant (in fact, some major pieces of media take this to the extreme and depict it as being unable to fight off any threat, no matter how big or small).

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.