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Temporal range: Upper Jurassic
150–145 mya
Mounted skeleton, Natural History Museum, Berlin
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Family: Brachiosauridae
Genus: Giraffatitan
Paul, 1988
Type species
Brachiosaurus brancai
(Janensch, 1914[1])
  • Brachiosaurus fraasi
    Janensch, 1914[1]

Giraffatitan ("giraffe titan") is a genus of sauropod dinosaurs. It lived during the Upper Jurassic, about 140 million years ago.[2] It was related to Brachiosaurus, and was one of the largest animals known to have walked the Earth.

Giraffatitans were about 23-metre (75 ft) long and weighed about 40 tonnes (88,000 lb). They had very long necks. They were obviously adapted for feeding on tall conifers. These were the main trees in the Jurassic forests. They lived in what is now Tanzania.[3]

The specimen was first named as an African species of Brachiosaurus (B. brancai) in 1914.[1] In 1991, George Olshevsky said there were enough differences to make its own genus, creating Giraffatitan.[4]

Size[change | change source]

Several giant titanosaurians appear to surpass Giraffatitan in sheer mass. However, Giraffatitan and Brachiosaurus are still the largest brachiosaurid sauropods known from relatively complete material.

All size estimates for Giraffatitan are based on the skeleton mounted in Berlin, which is partly constructed from authentic bones. These were largely taken from specimen HMN SII, a subadult individual between 21.8–22.46 metres (71.5–73.7 ft) in length and about twelve meters (forty feet) tall.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Janensch W. 1914. Übersicht über der Wirbeltierfauna der Tendaguru-Schichten nebst einer kurzen Charakterisierung der neu aufgeführten Arten von Sauropoden. Archiv für Biontologie, 3 (1): 81–110.
  2. Potter, Christopher 2010. You are here: a portable history of the universe (2009). You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe. HarperCollins. p. 26. ISBN 978-0061137877.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. Paul, Gregory S. 2010. The Princeton field guide to dinosaurs. (10 October 2010). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691137209.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. Glut D.F. 1997. Dinosaurs: the encyclopedia (July 1997). "Brachiosaurus". Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia. McFarland. p. 218. ISBN 0-89950-917-7.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. Mazzetta, G.V.; et al. (2004). "Giants and Bizarres: body size of some southern South American Cretaceous dinosaurs". Historical Biology. 16 (2–4): 1–13. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/08912960410001715132. S2CID 56028251.