|Name Meaning||Giant-bodied lizard||Height||14 meters (45.93 feet)|
|Pronunciation||broo-HATH-kay-oh-SAWR-us||Length||25–34 meters (82.02–111.55 feet)|
|Era||Mesozoic – Late Jurassic||Weight||80 tons (160,000 pounds)|
|Classification||Dinosauria, Saurischia & Sauropoda||Location||India|
Bruhathkayosaurus is one of the most enigmatic dinosaur genera ever discovered.
This dinosaur is only known from fragmentary remains that were discovered in the southern tip of India back in 1978 but never really described in detail until about a decade later.
However, based on the proportions of its fossils, this sauropod dinosaur was arguably the largest ever found.
Length estimates for the Bruhathkayosaurus put it at over 35 meters (115 feet) long, with a weight of more than 80 tons.
The dinosaur’s name, which translates as “huge-bodied lizard,” is a reference to this alleged size which puts it above the Argentinosaurus and many of the other massive titanosaurian sauropods.
To further add to the mystery of the Bruhathkayosaurus, the fossil fragments on which its description is based have been lost in unclear circumstances.
On top of that, the initial description published does not contain any diagnostic characteristics, which makes future discoveries very unlikely.
Despite these issues, the huge-bodied lizard is arguably one of the most fascinating dinosaurs ever found.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things we know about this dinosaur based on the description of its fossils and comparison with likely relatives.
The original description of the Bruhathkayosaurus is based on hip bones, partial leg bones, tail bones, and bones of the forearm.
Size estimates for this dinosaur are based on these fragmentary remains, but not a lot is known about its actual physical appearance.
Initially, paleontologists thought the Bruhathkayosaurus was a theropod dinosaur similar to the enormous Spinosaurus that lived in North Africa during the Cretaceous.
However, closer examination revealed that it was a titanosaurian sauropod.
This is a group of large-bodied dinosaurs known to reach astronomical sizes.
Argentinosaurus is currently the largest member of this group and, consequently, the largest dinosaur on record.
However, the bone proportions of Bruhathkayosaurus suggest that it might have been bigger than the South American Titanosaurian.
The shin bone of Bruhathkayosaurus was up to two meters (6.6 feet) long.
This is about 29% larger than that of the Argentionosaurus at 1.55 meters (5.1 feet).
Based on this size proportion, the Bruhathkayosaurus would have rivaled the Argentinosaurus for the top spot of the most gigantic dinosaur.
The body length of this dinosaur may have been as much as 35 meters (115 feet), while the weight would be about 80 tons.
Bruhathkayosaurus likely had a typical sauropod build.
It had a small head on an extremely long neck, a massive body resting on large columnar legs, and a long tail on the other end.
Habitat and Distribution
The only known Bruhathkayosaurus fossils were recovered from rocks of the Kallamedu Formation.
This formation which is located on the southern tip of the Indian continent, dates back to the Late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago.
The Bruhathkayosaurus lived in this part of the Indian subcontinent, and its geographic range may have been to this part of Asia.
During the Late Cretaceous period, this region was characterized by extensive woodlands and grasslands.
Like other sauropods, Bruhathkayosaurus likely moved around from one location to the other based on the availability of food, water, and other resources.
Behavior and Diet
Bruhathkayosaurus was a titanosaurian sauropod.
Dinosaurs in this group are known to be quadrupedal, meaning they walked on all fours.
Given their gigantic size, they were slow, lumbering creatures that moved around very slowly.
Since the Bruhathkayosaurus had a very long neck, it didn’t have to move around a lot to access vegetation for food.
It could easily feed off the top of trees without moving the rest of its body.
There isn’t sufficient information to determine if the Bruhathkayosaurus was a social animal or not.
Herbivorous dinosaurs, in general, are known to form small herds that include dinosaurs of different age groups.
This type of herding behavior protected them from predators in their habitat.
Sauropod dinosaurs are generally known to be herbivores.
The Bruhathkayosaurus’ diet may have included conifers, cicadas, ferns, and monocots such as grasses and palms that were abundant in its ecosystem.
Due to a lack of skull fossils, it’s hard to tell what the dentition of this dinosaur was like.
They most likely had blunt columnar teeth effective for grinding and chewing food.
Given the massive size of this dinosaur, it would have had to consume several tons of food per day to sustain itself.
Bruhathkayosaurus, like other sauropod dinosaurs, reproduced sexually.
Males and females probably came together to mate during specific seasons of the year.
After mating, the females would go off to lay eggs in communal nesting grounds.
While no specific evidence of nesting behavior has been found for the Bruhathkayosaurus, scientists have found a nesting ground that belonged to a large titanosaurid dinosaur in the Patagonia region of Argentina and another in Spain.
Female titanosaurs made nests in the ground by digging holes with their feet before proceeding to lay their eggs and covering their nest with vegetation and soil.
Bruhathkayosaurus females probably stayed near to guard their nests and provided parental care to their young after hatching.
Since they were most likely herding animals, Bruhathkayosaurus juveniles remained in the protection of the herd until maturity.
Hatchlings were small and vulnerable, but they grew rapidly within a few months or years.
Large dinosaurs like the Bruhathkayosaurus underwent indeterminate growth.
This means they continued to grow throughout their life.
An indeterminate growth pattern would have made it possible for the Bruhathkayosaurus and other titanosaurian dinosaurs to grow to such massive sizes.
The different body parts of these dinosaurs also grew at different rates.
This is known as an allometric growth pattern.
It explains the disproportionately long neck and tail of the Bruhathkayosaurus compared to the rest of their body.
Evolution and History
Bruhathkayosaurus was a type of titanosaurid sauropod.
These were the largest and most advanced sauropods that survived till the end of the Cretaceous Period.
They evolved from the same common ancestors as the other sauropods that evolved earlier during the Triassic Period, about 210 million years ago.
Before the long-necked sauropods evolved, their primitive ancestors were comparatively smaller.
Their necks and tails were also not as long as that of their derived relatives.
The sauropod dinosaurs continued to diversify throughout the Jurassic Period, giving rise to bigger forms.
The diplodocid sauropods emerged towards the end of the Jurassic Period, marking a transition from smaller sauropods to bigger ones.
The titanosaurids, like the Bruhathkayosaurus, were among the last group of sauropods to evolve.
They had longer necks which allowed them to reach vegetation that would have been inaccessible to other dinosaurs.
Consequently, gigantic dinosaurs like the Bruhathkayosaurus became the most dominant terrestrial herbivores, with some of them surviving till the end of the Cretaceous Period about 65 million years ago when all the non-avian dinosaurs died off.
Interactions With Other Species
The Kallamedu Formation, where the remains of this dinosaur were found, has reported a few predator dinosaur species, including abelisaurid and carnosaurid dinosaurs.
However, if the massive size estimate of the Bruhathkayosaurus is correct, this dinosaur didn’t have to worry about predators in its ecosystem.
Although it didn’t have any notable defensive mechanism, the massive size of this dinosaur would have deterred any of the predators in its ecosystem from attacking it.
It would take a group of large dinosaurs to take down a fully-grown Bruhathkayosaurus.
However, juveniles and weak or sick individuals would have been vulnerable to predator attacks.
The fact that they lived in herds probably helped to protect them from predator attacks too.
Other herbivorous dinosaurs were probably present in the same ecosystem as the Bruhathkayosaurus.
These herbivorous species may have computed for the same food sources and other resources in their ecosystem.
The long neck of this dinosaur would have provided a comparative advantage against competitors like this, allowing them to access plant materials that were out of reach for the other herbivores.
Since it was first discovered in 1978, the Bruhathkayosaurus has remained an enigmatic creature.
Given the size estimates published in the initial description of this dinosaur, it is supposedly the largest dinosaur to have ever lived.
It outranks the Argentinosaurus, which is currently the largest dinosaur known from complete fossils today.
But very little is known about what is supposed to be one of the most fascinating creatures to have ever lived.
The only proof that this dinosaur fossils was ever found were sketches (not actual photographs) taken after its discovery.
The actual fossils reportedly got destroyed in a monsoon flood a few years after its initial description.
These unfortunate circumstances have prompted many scientists to doubt if the size estimates for the Bruhathkayosaurus can be trusted.
Some paleontologists have even questioned the validity of this dinosaur’s discovery in the first place.
With the absence of solid evidence of this dinosaur’s existence, so-called fossils of Bruhathkayosaurus may have been pieces of petrified wood mistaken for actual dinosaur bones.
Given the current state of the available evidence, everything we know about the Bruhathkayosaurus is speculative.
Interestingly, the Bruhathkayosaurus isn’t the only giant titanosaur to suffer this unusual fate.
Amphicoelias and Dreadnoughtus are two worthy contenders for the biggest dinosaurs whose real size is indeterminate due to poor fossil evidence.
For now, the famous Argentinosaurus remains the largest dinosaur of all time, based on available evidence.
Bruhathkayosaurus was a titanosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period.
So far, only fragmentary remains of this dinosaur have been found, and these remains were allegedly destroyed in a flood shortly after they were found.
Based on these fossils, an average length of at least 35 meters has been proposed for this dinosaur.
This places it at the very top of the ranking for the largest dinosaur to have ever lived.
This enormous plant-eater inhabited forest and open plains on the southern edge of India, towering high above all other dinosaur species in the area.
Unfortunately, a lack of solid evidence of its existence makes it difficult to fully describe this dinosaur or understand how it lived.
Is there a dinosaur bigger than Bruhathkayosaurus?
The Bruhathkayosaurus is the top contender for the largest dinosaur to have ever lived.
If estimates of this dinosaur’s size are right, it would be the undisputed heaviest dinosaur to have ever lived.
But it is probably not the longest.
The equally elusive Amphicoelias had length estimates of about 56 to 62 meters (185–200 feet), which exceeds that of the Bruhathkayosaurus.
Who named Bruhathkayosaurus?
Bruhathkayosaurus was named and described for the first time in 1987 by Yadagiri and Ayyasami.
The dinosaur was initially identified as a theropod dinosaur but was later reclassified as a sauropod.
What does Bruhathkayosaurus mean?
The generic name Bruhathkayosaurus is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bruhathkaya,” which means “heavy body,” and the Greek word “sauros,” which translates as Lizard.
The combination of these words means “heavy-body lizard.”