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Brachiosaurus vs. Brontosaurus: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
Brachiosaurus vs. Brontosaurus: Brachiosaurus was a long-necked dinosaur with its front legs longer than its hind legs, while Brontosaurus had a massive build with a long, whip-like tail.

Key Differences

Both Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus were large herbivorous dinosaurs, but they belong to different families. Brachiosaurus is part of the Brachiosauridae family, distinguished by its giraffe-like stance with longer front legs. In contrast, Brontosaurus is a member of the Diplodocidae family, known for its elongated neck and tail.
Brachiosaurus had a unique feature among sauropods, where its front legs were longer than its hind legs. This contrasted sharply with Brontosaurus, which had relatively uniform leg lengths. This physical difference affected their posture and how they likely accessed vegetation.
In terms of head shape, Brachiosaurus possessed a relatively small head with nostrils positioned on top of its skull. Brontosaurus, on the other hand, had a more elongated head, and its nostrils were positioned more conventionally at the front.
The fossil records indicate differences in their habitats. While Brachiosaurus fossils are primarily found in North America, suggesting it roamed expansive plains, Brontosaurus fossils indicate it might have lived in a variety of environments, from plains to woodlands.
Despite their significant differences, both Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus capture the public's imagination and have become iconic representatives of the giant sauropods of the Jurassic period. Their massive size, along with their distinct features, makes them both fascinating subjects of study and popular in pop culture.

Comparison Chart



Leg Length

Front legs longer than hind legs
Legs of relatively uniform length

Head Shape

Small head with nostrils on top
Elongated head with front-facing nostrils


Primarily North American plains
Various, from plains to woodlands

Neck Position

Held vertically, allowing it to reach tall vegetation
More horizontal, but still capable of reaching up

Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus Definitions


Member of the Brachiosauridae family.
Unlike many other sauropods, the Brachiosaurus had a particularly tall neck and chest.*


A large herbivorous dinosaur with a long neck and tail.
The Brontosaurus is one of the most recognized dinosaurs due to its frequent appearance in pop culture.*


A herbivorous dinosaur from the Jurassic period.
The Brachiosaurus is often depicted reaching up into trees to feed.*


Member of the Diplodocidae family.
The Brontosaurus had a skeletal structure distinct from its Brachiosaurid cousins.*


Possesses nostrils on top of its skull.
The positioning of the Brachiosaurus' nostrils has led to various theories about its respiratory system.*


Possessed a whip-like tail.
The tail of the Brontosaurus could have been used for defense or communication.*


Known for its longer front legs.
The Brachiosaurus' unique leg proportions gave it a distinct, upright posture.*


Recognized by its elongated neck and robust build.
The massive build of the Brontosaurus made it one of the heaviest dinosaurs.


Often considered one of the tallest dinosaurs.
A full-grown Brachiosaurus could look into a fifth-story window!


Once debated as a valid genus but now confirmed.
For a time, scientists believed that the Brontosaurus was the same as the Apatosaurus.*


A large brachiosaurid dinosaur of the genus Brachiosaurus of the Jurassic Period, with the nostrils and eyes set high up on the head. Also called brachiosaur.


An apatosaurus.


A large herbivorous sauropod dinosaur, Brachiosaurus altithorax, which lived during the Jurassic period.


One of the largest land animals to ever walk the earth; a Brontosaurus.


A genus of large sauropod American dinosaurs of the jurassic era, or an individual of that genus. A length of sixty feet is believed to have been attained by these reptiles. The genus is also called Apatosaurus, and individuals of the genus are also called brontosaurs.


Huge quadrupedal herbivorous dinosaur common in North America in the late Jurassic


Were Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus found in the same regions?

Both primarily have fossil records in North America, but not necessarily the same habitats.

Why does Brachiosaurus have longer front legs?

It's believed to help them reach vegetation at higher levels.

Was Brontosaurus ever considered not to be a distinct species?

Yes, there was debate, but recent findings reestablished Brontosaurus as its own genus.

Which one, Brachiosaurus or Brontosaurus, lived earlier?

Both lived during the Late Jurassic period, so their timelines overlap.

Were Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus predators?

No, both were herbivores and did not hunt other animals.

Were there any shared predators of Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus?

Yes, large theropod dinosaurs would have been potential threats to both.

Which one, Brachiosaurus or Brontosaurus, is more popular in pop culture?

Both are iconic, but Brontosaurus might edge out due to more frequent representation.

Which one had a longer neck, Brachiosaurus or Brontosaurus?

While both had long necks, Brachiosaurus had a more vertically oriented neck.

How tall was Brachiosaurus compared to Brontosaurus?

Brachiosaurus was generally taller due to its longer front legs and vertical neck.

How do we know so much about Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus?

Fossil evidence and scientific research have provided insights into their anatomy and habits.

How did Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus communicate?

It's speculated they used vocalizations, body language, and possibly even their tails.

Were both Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus herbivores?

Yes, both were herbivorous dinosaurs.

Why are Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus often mixed up?

Their large size and long necks make them similar at first glance, but they have distinct differences.

Did Brachiosaurus hold its neck vertically?

Yes, Brachiosaurus is believed to have held its neck in a more upright position compared to Brontosaurus.

What type of vegetation did Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus eat?

Likely ferns, cycads, and possibly tree foliage, depending on their environment.

Are Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus the largest dinosaurs ever discovered?

They were among the largest, but other species like Argentinosaurus might have been larger.

Did Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus travel in herds?

It's possible. Some paleontologists believe many sauropods were social animals.

How do Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus compare in weight?

Both were massive, but Brontosaurus was often bulkier and could have been heavier.

How different are the footprints of Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus?

Brachiosaurus footprints would reflect its uneven leg lengths, while Brontosaurus footprints would be more uniform.

Were Brachiosaurus and Brontosaurus fast movers?

Due to their size, they likely moved slowly, especially Brontosaurus with its massive build.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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