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Berlin - Museum für Naturkunde - Brachiosaurus - Giraffatitan 06 | by Daniel Mennerich
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Berlin - Museum für Naturkunde - Brachiosaurus - Giraffatitan 06

Giraffatitan, meaning "giant giraffe", is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic Period (Kimmeridgian–Tithonian stages). It was originally named as an African species of Brachiosaurus (B. brancai) but this has since been changed. Giraffatitan was for many decades known as the largest dinosaur but recent discoveries of several larger dinosaurs prove otherwise: giant titanosaurians (Argentinosaurus, Puertasaurus and Futalognkosaurus) appear to have surpassed Giraffatitan in terms of sheer mass also the sauropod dinosaur Sauroposeidon is estimated to be taller and possibly heavier than Giraffatitan.

 

All size estimates for Giraffatitan are based on the specimen HMN SII a subadult individual between 21.8–22.5 metres (72–74 ft) in length and about 12 meters (39 ft) tall. Mass estimates are varied from as little as 15 tonnes (17 short tons) to as much as 78.3 tonnes (86.3 short tons) but there is evidence supporting that these animals could grow larger HMN XV2, represented by a fibula 13% larger than the corresponding material on HMN SII which might have attained 26 metres (85 ft) in length or longer.

 

Giraffatitan brancai was first named and described by German paleontologist Werner Janensch in 1914 as Brachiosaurus brancai, based on several specimens recovered between 1909 and 1912 from the Tendaguru formation near Lindi, in what was then German East Africa, today Tanzania. It is known from five partial skeletons, including three skulls and numerous fragmentary remains including skull material, some limb bones, vertebrae and teeth. It lived from 145 to 150 million years ago, during the Kimmeridgian to Tithonian ages of the Late Jurassic period.

 

A famous specimen of Giraffatitan brancai mounted in Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin) is one of the largest, and in fact the tallest, mounted skeletons in the world, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records. Beginning in 1909, Werner Janensch found many additional G. brancai specimens in Tanzania, Africa, including some nearly complete skeletons, and used them to create the composite mounted skeleton seen today.

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Taken on March 22, 2017