Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Sauropodomorpha
Family Brachiosauridae
Subfamily Giraffatitaninae
Genus Giraffatitan
1st Species Giraffatitan brancai
Other attributes
Time Range 150-145 mya
Location Tanzania
Name Meaning Giant giraffe
Physical Dimensions 25.1 meters long
Weight 37.7 tonnes
Dietary Classification Herbivore
Giraffatitan is a brachiosaurid sauropod sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Tanzania. It was officially named in 1988 by Greg S. Paul. It was another of the tallest dinosaurs to walk the Earth, and it was thought to be a species of Brachiosaurus before finally being described as its own genus.


Giraffatitan was a sauropod with a bulky, downwards-sloping body, a deep torso, 4 large, erect, pillar-like legs, a moderately long tail, a long neck, and a small head with a large, bony arch above its eyes and just behind its nostrils. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Giraffatitan was an herbivore, feeding on leaves from large trees. Its peg-like teeth were used to strip branches of their leaves, and its long neck and limbs allowed it to access vegetation some 15 meters in the air without rearing.


Due to Giraffatitan's proportionally small head and braincase, people thought it would have needed a second brain in its abdomen in order to function normally; this theory has now been discredited, and the extra abdominal orifice once said to have housed that second brain is now thought to be a source of glycogen for the animal's body. As well as this, a close look at its teeth shows that instead of just grinding up plant matter, it bit and tore leaves off branches before swallowing them; this disproved the possibility of trunked sauropods, as trunks would serve the same purpose as the dinosaur's mouth. Along with this, in a similar situation to its cousin Brachiosaurus, the large, bony arch located just above its eyes and behind its snout was once thought to house the nostrils (which would be used as a snorkel when the animal was underwater); however, it was found out that sauropods were completely terrestrial, and had fleshy nostrils that ran down from the openings in the arch and opened up near the tip of their snout. Now, it is hypothesized that the bony arch served as a resonating chamber used for amplifying the animal's loud calls.

In popular cultureEdit

When Brachiosaurus was introduced to the general public, Giraffatitan was still thought to be a species of Brachiosaurus, and so, was consistently used as the general basis for the appearance of pop culture brachiosaurs. Even 5 years after it was officially made into its own genus, it still served as the appearance for the Brachiosaurus in the 1993 science fiction movie Jurassic Park, which would cause the confusion between the two to persist up until now.

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