Dinosaurs with the longest necks were sauropods, a collective group of dinosaurs that shared the common features of long necks, long tails, four legs and a herbivorous diet. Controversy surrounds the position and use of long necks. Although these necks were traditionally thought to have been used for foraging high in trees, Roger Seymour of the University of Adelaide believes that sauropods may have had to spend up to 75 percent of their energy by holding their heads at this height, which would not have been efficient. However, palaeontologist Martin Sander of the University of Bonn says that the cost of raising the head to this height would have been worth it when food became scarce at low and medium heights. This debate continues.
Diplodocus, a herbivorous dinosaur that lived 150 million years ago during the late Jurassic period, had four large, sturdy legs to support its long neck and whip-like tail. It measured around 98 feet in length and weighed around 16 tons. It was first discovered in North America in 1877.
Another herbivore, Apatosaurus, used its peg-like teeth to strip leaves from trees but not for chewing. It probably swallowed stones in order to grind food in its gizzard. Like Diplodocus, Apatosaurus could whip its tail to defend itself from meat eaters. It measured around 33 tons and was approximately 70 feet long. Apatosaurus used to be known as brontosaurus as a result of a labeling error.
The holes in Camarasaurus’ vertebrae led to its name, given in 1877, which means “chambered lizard”. Camarasaurus lived in North America during the Jurassic period. Like some modern birds, fossils show that Camarasaurus was a herbivore that probably swallowed stoned to grind food material. Camarasaurus was about 59 feet long and weighed around 20 tons.
Brachiosaurus means “arm lizard.” This name was chosen as its forelimbs were much longer than its hind limbs. Brachiosaurus lived in North America and Africa during the Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. It was a plant-eating dinosaur that measured around 75 feet long and 41 feet tall, weighing approximately 89 tons.
Ultrasaurus has a name which translates as “greater lizard”. Ultrasaurus lived in Korea between 110 million and 100 million years ago during the cretaceous period. Like other quadrupedal, long-necked sauropods, Ultrasaurus was an herbivore.
Alamosaurus was named after the area in which it was found, the Ojo Alamo Formation which is now known as the Kirtland Shale, New Mexico. It was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived in North America between 70 million and 65 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period and became extinct during the Mesozoic Era’s Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Alamosaurus measured approximately 69 feet long and weighed around 33 tons.
The heaviest and longest land animal known to have existed is the Argentinosaurus. Hatching from an egg the size of a football, young dinosaurs of this species grew to around 121 feet. Argentinosaurus was one of the few herbivorous sauropod to exist beyond the end of the Jurassic period.