- Species Type: Apatosaurus ajax
- Type of Dinosaur: Sauropod
- Period: Late Jurassic
- Diet: Foliage (herbivorous)
- Life Span: 100+ years (estimated)
- Length: Between 69 and 75 feet (average)
- Weight: Between 18 and 25 tons (average)
22 Apatosaurus Facts for Kids
- The Apatosaurus was a very large dinosaur, with a long neck and a whip-like tail.
- Othniel Charles Marsh first described the Apatosaurus in 1877 and gave it the scientific name Apatosaurus ajax.
- There are two recognized species of Apatosaurus, the Apatosaurus ajax (type species) and the Apatosaurus louisae.
- The name Apatosaurus means: “Deceptive Lizard”.
- The name Apatosaurus is pronounced: “ah-PAT-uh-SAWR-us”.
- The Apatosaurus was part of a group of dinosaurs known as sauropods.
- The Apatosaurus is a member of the Diplodocid family.
- They lived in the Late Jurassic Period between 151 and 152 million years ago.
- The average length of an Apatosaurus is estimated to be between 69 and 75 feet.
- The average weight of an Apatosaurus is estimated to be between 18 and 25 tons.
- The estimated lifespan of an Apatosaurus is believed to be around 100 years.
- The Apatosaurus lived in North America.
- Apatosaurus fossils have been found in Morrison Formation in Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
- Apatosaurus is the second most common sauropod dinosaurs found in the Morrison Formation.
- The Apatosaurus was a high browsing herbivore and ate foliage at the top of tree canopies.
- Paleontologists believe the Apatosaurus had to eat about 800 pounds of food a day to meet their energy demands.
- It’s believe the Apatosaurus would sometimes swallow food whole and have to swallow rocks to aid their digestion.
- The Apatosaurus was quadrupedal, meaning it walked on four legs.
- Apatosaurus were rapid growers and could achieve full adult size in as little as 10 years.
- Paleontologists estimate the egg of an Apatosaurus was around 12 inches wide.
- An adult Apatosaurus probably didn’t have to worry about predators due to its large size. Only a group of large apex predators, like an Allosaurs hunting group, could attempt to takedown a full-grown Apatosaurus.
- In 1997, two paleontologists published a research report stating the Apatosaurus tail would have resembled a bullwhip. They theorized an Apatosaurus could whip its tail and create a whip like cracking sound that could surpass 200 decibels. That is comparable to the decibels produced when a cannon is fired.
A photo of the Apatosaurus at the Tellus Science Museum.
A black and white picture of an Apatosaurus Museum Exhibit.
Credit: AMNH Research Library
A rendering of the Apatosaurus foraging by John Sibbick.
Credit: John Sibbick / NHMPL
Additional Resources on Apatosaurus
- Apatosaurus – Learn more about the Apatosaurus on the Britannica website.
- Apatosaurus on LiveScience – Discover cool new Apatosaurus facts on the LiveScience website.
- Apatosaurus on Wikipedia – Find more facts about the Apatosaurus for kids on the Wikipedia website.