Genus: Apatosaurus (“Deceptive Lizard”)
Species: A. ajax, A. louisae
Apatosaurus ate plants, including ferns and cycads. Paleontologists have disputed the flexibility of Apatosaurus’s neck, with some believing it had a limited range of motion while others believe it was quite flexible. A flexible neck would have allowed for a wide range of feeding options, from ground-based plants to the tops of trees.
Apatosaurus was likely quite slow moving, with a top speed of just under 20 miles per hour.
Apatosaurus is the dinosaur people typically picture in their heads when they imagine the standard sauropod: it was very large, with along neck, small head, and a long tail that tapered to a whip-like end. Its teeth are chisel-like and adapted to a plant-based diet. Its front foot sported a single claw, which may have been used to help grasp tree trunks.
SIZE: Up to 75 feet long (22.8 meters)
WEIGHT: 36-80 short tons (32.2-71.5 metric tons)
Apatosaurus lived in the Late Jurassic Period, around 150million years ago. Its fossils have mainly been found in various Western United States including Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Colorado.
During this time, the region was home to many large sauropod dinosaurs, including Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Brontosaurus. There were also many predatory dinosaurs in the area, including Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus. The armored Stegosaurus was also present in this region during the time period.
Apatosaurus’s large size may have protected it from predators, and its whip-like tail and long neck could have been used as weapons. However, juvenile Apatosauruses may have faced threats from larger meat-eating dinosaurs.