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Brontosaurus meaning "thunder lizard" is a genus of gigantic quadruped sauropod dinosaurs. Although the type species, B. excelsus, had long been considered a species of the closely related Apatosaurus, researchers proposed in 2015 that Brontosaurus is a genus separate from Apatosaurus and that it contains three species: B. excelsus, B. yahnahpin, and B. parvus.
Brontosaurus had a long, thin neck and a small head adapted for a herbivorous lifestyle, a bulky, heavy torso, and a long, whip-like tail. The various species lived during the Late Jurassic epoch, in the Morrison Formation of what is now North America, and were extinct by the end of the Jurassic. Adult individuals of Brontosaurus are estimated to have weighed up to 17 tons and measured up to 22 metres (72 feet) long.
The skull of Brontosaurus has not been found, but was probably similar to the skull of the closely related Apatosaurus. Like those of other sauropods, the vertebrae of the neck were deeply bifurcated; that is, they carried paired spines, resulting in a wide and deep neck. The spine and tail consisted of 15 cervicals, ten dorsals, five sacrals, and about 82 caudals. The number of caudal vertebrae was noted to vary, even within a species. The large neck was filled with an extensive system of weight-saving air sacs.
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