Temporal range: Late Jurassic – Early Cretaceous
Brachiosaurus new.png
Brachiosaurus altithorax
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Family: Brachiosauridae
Riggs, 1903

Brachiosauridae is a family of dinosaurs, whose members are known as brachiosaurids. They were herbivorous quadrupeds with longer forelegs than hind legs (hence the name, Greek for arm lizard), and long, 45-degree angle necks. Despite their apparently distinctive features, there is some dispute as to whether Brachiosauridae is really a distinct family or a collection of basal Titanosauriformes. As a result, there is also some dispute about which animals belong within this family.

Their masses would have ranged from 20 to 90 tonnes, and their unusually long and upright necks gave them access to the leaves of treetops that would have been inaccessible to other sauropods. Their long and spatulate (spoon-shaped) teeth were capable of processing tougher plant material than some other sauropods (such as Diplodocus). Some palaeontologists had speculated that if they could have reared upon their hind-limbs even higher branches could be reached. However, their short tail and hind-limbs would have placed its centre of gravity quite far forward, and made such an action difficult.

Brachiosaurids existed until at least the late Campanian era (71-83 mya), as caudal vertebrae from that era have been found in Mexico [1]. Brachiosaurids fossils were first found in Africa in the early 20th Century, and are now known to have existed in Europe and North America. The first evidence of Brachiosaurids in Asia was recovered in 2001 [2], although it was only a few teeth.

The largest mounted skeleton in the world is a brachiosaurid; the Giraffatitan at the Humboldt Museum in Berlin, Germany.