Brontosaurus vs. Diplodocus

What's the Difference?

Brontosaurus and Diplodocus are both iconic dinosaurs from the Jurassic period, known for their massive size and long necks. However, there are some key differences between the two. Brontosaurus, also known as Apatosaurus, was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived around 150 million years ago. It had a heavier build and a shorter neck compared to Diplodocus. On the other hand, Diplodocus was a long-necked dinosaur that lived around 150-145 million years ago. It had a slender body and an extremely long neck, which made it one of the longest dinosaurs ever discovered. Despite these differences, both Brontosaurus and Diplodocus were herbivores and played important roles in the Jurassic ecosystem.


Photo by Scott Greer on Unsplash
Scientific NameBrontosaurusDiplodocus
Time PeriodLate JurassicLate Jurassic
LengthUp to 72 feetUp to 90 feet
WeightUp to 38 tonsUp to 16 tons
DiscoveryDiscovered in 1879Discovered in 1877
Named ByOthniel Charles MarshOthniel Charles Marsh
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to the giants of the prehistoric world, few creatures capture our imagination quite like the Brontosaurus and Diplodocus. These colossal dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago, leaving behind a legacy of awe-inspiring fossils and sparking our curiosity about their unique attributes. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics of both Brontosaurus and Diplodocus, exploring their size, anatomy, behavior, and more.

Size and Anatomy

Both Brontosaurus and Diplodocus were members of the sauropod family, known for their immense size and long necks. However, there were some notable differences between the two species. Brontosaurus, also known as Apatosaurus, was one of the largest land animals to have ever existed. It could reach lengths of up to 75 feet and weigh an astonishing 25-35 tons. In contrast, Diplodocus was slightly longer, with some estimates suggesting lengths of around 90 feet, but it was relatively lighter, weighing around 10-16 tons.

One of the key distinctions between Brontosaurus and Diplodocus lies in their necks. Brontosaurus possessed a shorter, thicker neck compared to Diplodocus, which had an elongated neck that could measure up to 26 feet in length. This difference in neck length likely influenced their feeding habits and the types of vegetation they could reach. Additionally, both dinosaurs had long, whip-like tails that aided in balance and defense against predators.

Feeding Habits

Despite their similar diets consisting mainly of plants, Brontosaurus and Diplodocus employed different feeding strategies. Brontosaurus, with its shorter neck, was likely adapted to browsing on lower vegetation, such as ferns and shrubs. Its massive size and strong jaws allowed it to consume large quantities of plant matter efficiently. On the other hand, Diplodocus, with its elongated neck, had the advantage of being able to reach higher foliage, such as tree leaves and branches, which may have been out of reach for Brontosaurus.

Both dinosaurs had specialized teeth designed for grinding plant material, but Diplodocus had a unique arrangement known as "pencil-like" teeth. These narrow, cylindrical teeth were ideal for stripping leaves from branches, while Brontosaurus had broader teeth more suited for chewing tougher vegetation. These adaptations allowed both dinosaurs to thrive in their respective environments, utilizing different feeding strategies to maximize their food intake.

Mobility and Locomotion

Considering their massive size, it is fascinating to explore how Brontosaurus and Diplodocus managed to move around. Both dinosaurs had pillar-like legs that supported their colossal weight, but there were some differences in their limb proportions. Brontosaurus had relatively shorter forelimbs compared to Diplodocus, which had longer forelimbs that contributed to its elongated body shape.

Brontosaurus likely moved in a quadrupedal manner, with all four legs supporting its weight. Its hind limbs were longer and more powerful, enabling it to take large strides and maintain stability. Diplodocus, on the other hand, is believed to have been capable of both quadrupedal and bipedal locomotion. It could rear up on its hind legs, possibly to reach higher vegetation or to defend itself from predators.

Furthermore, the tails of both dinosaurs played a crucial role in their mobility. Brontosaurus had a robust, muscular tail that could be used as a counterbalance while walking or running. Diplodocus, with its long, whip-like tail, may have used it as a defensive weapon, delivering powerful strikes to deter predators.

Behavior and Social Structure

Understanding the behavior and social structure of extinct animals is a challenging task, but scientists have made significant progress in unraveling some aspects of Brontosaurus and Diplodocus' lives. Both dinosaurs are believed to have been social creatures, living in herds or groups for protection and mating purposes.

Brontosaurus, with its massive size, may have had a more solitary lifestyle, as its energy requirements and the availability of resources may have limited the number of individuals in a given area. Diplodocus, on the other hand, is thought to have lived in larger herds, benefiting from the advantages of group living, such as increased vigilance against predators and cooperative parenting.

While it is challenging to determine the intelligence of dinosaurs, some evidence suggests that both Brontosaurus and Diplodocus had relatively small brains compared to their body size. This implies that their behavior was likely driven by instinct and basic survival instincts rather than complex cognitive abilities.


In conclusion, Brontosaurus and Diplodocus were two remarkable dinosaurs that captivate our imagination with their colossal size and unique features. While Brontosaurus was slightly smaller but heavier, Diplodocus boasted a longer body and neck. Their feeding habits, mobility, and social structures also exhibited intriguing differences. Despite their distinctions, both dinosaurs thrived in their respective environments, utilizing their specialized adaptations to survive and dominate the prehistoric landscape. Studying these magnificent creatures allows us to gain valuable insights into the diversity and complexity of life that once roamed our planet.

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