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Giraffatitan brancai formerly Brachiosaurus brancai (Janensch, 1914)

Giraffatitan brancai dinosaur
Name Means: "Double Crested Lizard" Length: 80 feet (25 m)
Pronounced: die-Loaf-o-Saw-rus Weight: 60 tons (54,500 kilos)
When it lived: Jurassic to Cretaceous - 150 MYA Family: Brachiosauridae
Where found: Africa    
  Giraffatitan brancai was a sauropod, one of a group of four-legged, plant-eating dinosaurs with long necks and tails, and tiny brains. Originally considered to be a species of Brachiosaurus, Giraffatitan appears to deserve its own genus, as no derived characters have been found to link it to Brachiosaurus proper. The skull has an unusually tall rounded crest containing the nostrils, which is why it was selected for this poster.  This species is unusual in possessing "withers" over the shoulders.
   It and the other Brachiosaurids are members of the .Brachiosauridae family of dinosaurs.  They differ from other sauropods, as all had a long giraffe-like build, with long forelimbs and a raised neck, which it probably used to graze in the tops of trees. It has been suggested that all were basal titanosauriforms thrown together without respect for true characteristics, such as long necks and long arms.
   For many decades, Brachiosaurus was the largest known dinosaur. It has since been exceeded in sheer mass by a number of giant titanosaurids like the Argentinosaurus and it was finally surpassed in height by another brachiosaurid, the Sauroposeidon. It was, however, still the largest dinosaur known from a relatively complete skeleton and the largest on display anywhere in the world.
   The first Brachiosaurus was discovered in 1900 by Elmer S. Riggs, in the Grand River Canyon of western Colorado, in the United States. He named the new species and genera in 1903 after its long front limbs.   Brachiosaurus means "arm lizard", from the Greek brachion ("arm") and sauros ("lizard").  This first discovered species has named Brachiosaurus altithorax and it was made famous by the movie "Jurassic Park". It is very tall (40 feet!) and very heavy - more than 12 elephants! Unlike most of the other long-necked dinosaurs,
   Starting in 1909, German paleontologist Werner Janensch found many new specimens in Tanzania, Africa, including some nearly complete skeletons.  These were the Brachiosaurus brancai, which is shown on the poster.  Its fossilized remains are on display at the Humboldt Museum in Berlin, Germany. The remains are primarily from one gigantic animal, except for a few tail bones (caudal vertebrae) which belong to another animal of the same size and species  While the Diplodocus carnegiei mounted at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, United States actually exceeds it in length, the Berlin animal is taller, and far more massive.  Almost a century after its discovery, it still remains the largest mounted dinosaur in the world.  It has also been one of the luckiest, because it escape destruction when most of Berlin was reduced to rubble by allied bombardment during World War II.
     There are three known species of Brachiosaurus:
B. alataiensis (de Lapparent & Zbyszewski, 1957): Is known from back bones (vertebrae), and parts of the hip and limbs, which were recovered in Estremadura, Portugal. It lived about 150 million years ago, during the Kimmeridgian age of the late Jurassic period.
B. altithorax  (Riggs, 1903). The type species is known from two partial skeletons recovered in Colorado and Utah in the United States. It lived from 145 to 150 million years ago, during the Kimmeridgian to Tithonian ages.
?B. nougaredi
  (de Lapparent, 1960): While it may not be a distinct species (nomen dubium?) it is known from set of fused bones over the hip (sacrum), and parts of a forelimb, which were recovered in Wargla, Algeria in Africa. It lived 100 to 110 million years ago, during the Albian to Cenomanian ages of the middle Cretaceous period.
   There at least two other valid members of the family.  :
Giraffatitan brancai (Janensch, 1914 (formerly B. brancai): The new type species, it is known from five partial skeletons, including at least three skulls, and some limb bones, which were recovered in Mtwara, Tanzania, in Africa. It lived from 145 to 150 million years ago, during the Kimmeridgian to Tithonian ages of the late Jurassic period.
Cedarosaurus weiskopfae (Tidwell, Carpenter, and Brooks, 1999).  A new brachiosaurid from the Yellow Cat member of the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah.  This sauropod is known from a partial skeleton including vertebrae, partial girdles, and most of the limbs.  Remains referred to Pleurocoelus may belong here.  It was a smallish sauropod.


Poster is available at

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