Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) browsing from tree tops in a sandy landscape


Apatosaurus used to be known as brontosaurus, following a labelling error on a very similar specimen. Subsequently renamed, Apatosaurus was one of the larger sauropod dinosaurs, and therefore one of the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth. Peg-like teeth effectively stripped leaves from trees, but were no use for chewing, so Apatosaurus probably swallowed stones to grind up its meals in the gizzard. Enormous size, herding behaviour and a whip-like tail would all have provided valuable defence against the meat-eaters of the time.

Scientific name: Apatosaurus

Rank: Genus

Common names:

  • Brontosaurus,
  • deceptive lizard

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

Apatosaurus size

An illustration showing the enormous Apatosaurus's size relative to humans.

A comparison of the enormous Apatosaurus's size in relation to humans.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Jurassic period Jurassic period
The Jurassic began after the mass extinction event that ended the Triassic. Life, however, was quick to recover from this blow and the Jurassic eventually became host to the most diverse range of organisms that Earth had yet seen.