Brontosaurus (or Apatosaurus as implied by scientists) was one of the largest animals that ever existed. It was about 23 m (75 ft) long and had a long, giraffe-like neck as well as a whip-like tail. These huge dinosaurs weighed at least 25 tons and the ground thundered under their weight (ergo their name – Brontosaurus, meaning “thunder lizard”).
The Brontosaurus, compared to a car and a man
Unlike many other herbivores, that usually were agile and fast to run from the predators, the massive Brontosaurus could hide nowhere, it relied more on it’s mass to protect itself against predators. In fact, it’s head when risen up would be about 2 feet higher than the head of the largest predatory dinosaur at that time – the Allosaurus.
The Brontosaurus lived only in North America. They are believed to have been solitary animals, as multiple skeletons of these dinosaurs haven’t been found at one place. They spent their life walking around and plowing massive amounts of food, inaccessible by smaller herbivores. Weighing 25 tons, their body required huge amounts of food to be eaten, probably even making them spend more than half a day simply eating.
For a creature of that size, the Brontosaurus obviously wouldn’t have many threats. Studies of the skeleton have shown that these dinosaurs could move their tail quite swiftly and it probably served as their most effective means of self-defense. What’s interesting is that they could also make a loud, cracking sound of over 200 decibels (about the volume of a cannon).
Brontosaurus probably used it's tail to defend itself
Like all dinosaurs, they also laid massive eggs to reproduce. Brontosaurus’ eggs have been found in random places, suggesting that the dinosaurs didn’t nest and left their eggs behind them wherever they went. This means the hatchlings very vulnerable to any predator that happened to be nearby.
Other studies show some mistakes in Disney’s adaptation of the Brontosaurus. First of all, it could not physically raise it’s head much above it’s spine, which means the head was mostly held either horizontally or downwards. The tail bones, however, show no trace of any wear or damage, which means they actually held their tails up in the air.
The Brontosaurus would probably be the first creature one would see, traveling back in time to the age of dinosaurs. It’s interesting how being one of the largest creatures in the history, living in the age of dinosaurs (which is often thought of as a grim time when every animal had to fight hard for their survival), the Brontosaurus adapted themselves to such a peaceful life, spending most of their time simply eating plants and not being threatened by most predators.