5 Types of Gigantic Sauropod Dinosaurs

Written by Heather Hall
Published: December 30, 2022
Share on:

Advertisement


Sauropods were the dominant herbivores of the Jurassic period and were characterized by their long necks, long tails, and four-legged stance. These large dinosaurs had a unique body shape with an elongated neck, small heads compared to their bodies, thick legs, and a bulky torso. They often reached lengths up to 40 to 150 feet or more from head to tail! Even the smallest dwarf sauropods were 20 feet long. So, let’s discover some of the gigantic sauropod dinosaurs!

About Sauropods

Sauropods typically weigh between 20 and 70 tons, which is equivalent to 10 to 35 elephants! The most impressive feature of sauropods was undoubtedly their size, but they also had other features that made them stand out among other dinosaur species. Their powerful limb muscles gave them strength for both walking on land and swimming when necessary. Additionally, many species featured large claws on each foot, which helped them easily travel through different terrains and grasp trees and branches when they reared up on their hind legs to eat. An interesting trait shared amongst all sauropod dinosaurs was their digestive system which allowed them to consume huge amounts of vegetation at one time while still maintaining their immense size. This unique ability meant they could feed continuously throughout the day without having any fear of running out of food sources like some smaller animals do in the wild today.

Sauropods were also one of the longest-living groups, existing for approximately 1040 million years in a wide variety of habitats around the world.

4,284 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Fossilized bones or footprints belonging to sauropods have been found on every continent except Antarctica, indicating they had a truly global distribution. Their greatest abundance was during the Jurassic Period, but they continued to exist until the Upper Cretaceous period when many other dinosaur species went extinct. The impressive range and longevity of these iconic creatures make them an enduring source of fascination for paleontologists.

Brachiosaurus

3D rendering of a Brachiosaurus

The brachiosaurus, like other sauropods, had massive, trunk-like legs.

©Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com

Brachiosaurus was one of the largest sauropod dinosaurs ever to exist. It could reach up to 72 feet in length and weigh fifty metric tons. Its most distinctive feature is its long neck, which lent it its name “brachiosaurus” from Greek for “arm lizard” due to its resemblance to an arm when viewed from a side profile.

Unlike other dinosaurs, brachiosaurus has been observed by paleontologists as having herding behavior and evidence of parental care, with juvenile specimens often being seen alongside adult individuals. This behavior suggests that they had some level of social interaction and complex behaviors not usually associated with other dinosaur species.

Despite their size, brachiosaurs were vegetarians who ate vegetation such as ferns, cycads, and horsetails. They would use their powerful jaws equipped with numerous teeth arranged in batteries along the jaw edges to munch on these plants like modern-day cows chew cud today!

Diplodocus

Diplodocus was a sauropod dinosaur that lived in North America during the late Jurassic era

The Diplodocus was a long-necked and long-tailed sauropod that could grow up to 85 feet in length!

©Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com

Diplodocus was one of the largest sauropod dinosaurs, measuring up to 79 to 85 feet in length and weighing up to 15 tons. That is the size of four elephants! Its body shape is distinctive; its neck and tail are long and straight, while its head is relatively small.

Diplodocus had different teeth than some other sauropods. The crowns were longer and more slender, with blunt, triangular points. Some scientists believe their feeding pattern was to bite down on the branch and pull their head back, stripping the branches of their foliage. Some evidence of titanosaurus and diplodocus suggests that they laid their eggs communally over a large area in pits that they covered with vegetation.

Apatosaurus

The apatosaurus reached lengths of up to 75 feet!

Most apatosaurus dinosaurs lived in herds for protection against predators.

©Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock.com

Apatosaurus was one of the largest sauropod dinosaurs. It had an impressive length of up to 75 feet and a weight of 16 to 22 tons. That is the weight of three elephants! It had a long neck and tail, four thick legs, and a small head with large eyes.

Apatosaurus lived in herds for protection against predators like allosaurus. They also exhibited parental care for their young. It is believed that adults provided protection from danger until the juveniles were old enough to fend for themselves. The diet of apatosaurus consisted mainly of plants such as ferns, conifers, cycads, and ginkgoes. They ate these using their chisel-like teeth which were adapted for grinding vegetation into digestible pieces. Apatosaurs laid eggs in clutches on dry land. Some fossils have revealed evidence suggesting they covered them with soil or vegetation to protect them from being eaten by predators or scavengers while incubating under the warmth of the sun.

Brontosaurus

Brontosaurus was a massive dinosaur with a long neck which enabled them to reach high into trees for food.

The brontosaurus reached 72 feet long and lived during the Late Jurassic period.

©iStock.com/dottedhippo

Brontosaurus was a large sauropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period. It had a long neck and tail, with four thick elephant-like legs. Its body size could reach up to 72 feet in length, and it weighed approximately 15 to 25 tons. Evidence suggests that brontosaurus may have been a herd animal living in groups of ten or more individuals. Brontosaurus were herbivores, meaning they ate plants such as ferns and cycads to survive. They likely used their long necks to reach high into trees and shrubs for food sources unavailable to other animals on the ground level.

Titanosaur

Gigantic sauropod dinosaurs -Titanosaurs reached lengths of more than 120 feet long.

The titanosaur was the largest land mammal to have ever lived.

©David Roland/Shutterstock.com

Another gigantic sauropod dinosaur was the titanosaaur. Titanosaurs were the largest known land animals that have ever lived. Some species are estimated to have been over 120 long and weighing up to 76 tons. That is bigger than 11 elephants! They had bulky bodies, relatively small heads, long necks and tails, and four elephant-like columnar legs.

Titanosaurs are believed to have lived in herds or family groups for safety from predators like the abelisaurus. Paleontologists have discovered large nesting grounds where hundreds of females dug holes and laid clutches of eggs. The eggs of these enormous dinosaurs were only four or five inches in diameter!

Their diet likely consisted of soft vegetation like cycads, conifers, palms, and grasses. These would be easy for them to ingest due to their long necks and flexible jaws. Due to the immense size of these dinosaurs, they required large amounts of food each day. They needed around 440 pounds on average — which meant that they roamed vast distances in search of new sources of sustenance.

Conclusion

The Sauropod dinosaurs are truly remarkable creatures that lived on Earth for a staggering 140 million years! Fossils of these giant herbivores have been found all over the world. This shows us just how widespread and successful they were. These amazing animals came in many shapes and sizes, some of them being the largest land-dwelling creatures to ever exist. They had long necks and tails, which helped them reach high branches to feed from trees and plants. Their limbs were strong enough to support their gigantic frames as they walked across continents with ease. It is no wonder why these ancient animals are still so fascinating today!

Up Next…

The photo featured at the top of this post is © David Roland/Shutterstock.com


Share on:
About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. National Library of Medicine, Available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393826/
  2. Mike Taylor, Available here: http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/tmp/Riggs-1903_Structure%20and%20relationships%20of%20opisthocoelian%20dinosaurs.%20Part%20I.%20Apatosaurus%20Marsh.pdf
  3. Academia, Available here: http://www.academia.edu/455778/A_review_of_Morrison_Formation_upper_Jurassic_USA_sauropod_dinosaurs
  4. National Library of Medicine, Available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6374010/