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This dinosaur is widely known as Brontosaurus (meaning "thunder lizard"), however the correct scientific
name is Apatosaurus (meaning "deceptive lizard").
This is because when
Othniel C. Marsh
discovered the first two fossils
in 1877 and 1879, he did not at first realize that they were adult and
juvenile examples of the same species, and hence gave the two fossils
Subsequently, it has been realized, that both of these
fossils were after all from
the same species, so only one name should be used: Apatosaurus is the correct
name, because it is was the first name used.
Apatosaurus was a massive herbivore
(plant-eater) that lived during the
late Jurassic period
157 to 146 million years ago in western
North America. An adult Apatosaurus measured
70 feet (21.3 meters) long,
and weighed a massive 33 tons.
When it was first discovered, many
scientists believed that
Apatosaurus was so huge that it could not have supported its weight on
dry land, and therefore must have lived partially submerged in water. If
you look at older books about dinosaurs, you may often see Apatosaurus depicted
in this way. More recent research and discoveries
(including the discovery of fossilized footprints),
however suggests that Apatosaurus probably
did live on dry land, and probably was a grazing animal that lived in herds.
Other interesting facts about Apatosaurus include:
was a close relative
Apatosaurus was not as long as its relative, but it was more
- Apatosaurus could have reared up on its front legs and brought them
down with crushing force on an attacker, or used its tail as a whip
- Although most scientists believe that Apatosaurus went extinct many
millions of years ago, some cryptozoologists (people who search for
rumored or mythical animals whose existence is uncertain) have suggested
that an animal rumored to be living in the Congo River basin,
known as "Mokele-Mbembe", might possibly be a surviving
Apatosaurus, or perhaps another type of sauropod dinosaur. However,
although there have been numerous expeditions to hunt for Mokele-Mbembe,
there is currently no definitive proof of its existence.
For more information see
Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 157 to 146 million years ago
Related Information & Resources
Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Apatosaurus:
- Apatosaurus was a genus of dinosaur.
- Although "Apatosaurus" is the correct scientific name of this genus of dinosaur, the name "Brontosaurus" is also sometimes used. Apatosaurus has two names, because its discoverer, Othniel C. Marsh did not realize that two different fossil specimens (described in 1877 and 1879 respectively) were actually juvenile and adult examples of the same animal.
- "Apatosaurus" means "deceptive lizard" ("Brontosaurus" means "thunder lizard").
- Apatosaurus was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Apatosaurus was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.
- Apatosaurus was a Sauropod - a member of a group of related large quadrupedal herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur with long necks.
- Apatosaurus lived between about 157 million years ago and 146 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.
- Apatosaurus lived in North America.
- Apatosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater).
- Apatosaurus was about 70 feet (21.3 meters) long.
- Apatosaurus weighed about 33 tons.
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