Articles | Volume 11, issue 1
01 Feb 2008
 | 01 Feb 2008

A new body mass estimation of Brachiosaurus brancai Janensch, 1914 mounted and exhibited at the Museum of Natural History (Berlin, Germany)

H.-C. Gunga, T. Suthau, A. Bellmann, S. Stoinski, A. Friedrich, T. Trippel, K. Kirsch, and O. Hellwich

Abstract. Body mass and surface areas are important in several aspects for an organism living today. Therefore, mass and surface determinations for extinct dinosaurs could be important for paleo-biological aspects as well. Based on photogrammetrical measurement the body mass and body surface area of the Late Jurassic Brachiosaurus brancai Janensch, 1914 from Tendaguru (East Africa), a skeleton mounted and exhibited at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin (Germany), has been re-evaluated. We determined for a slim type of 3D reconstruction of Brachiosaurus brancai a total volume of 47.9 m3 which represents, assuming a mean tissue density of 0.8 kg per 1,000 cm3, a total body mass of 38,000 kg. The volume distributions from the head to the tail were as follows: 0.2 m3 for the head, neck 7.3 m3, fore limbs 2.9 m3, hind limbs 2.6 m3, thoracic-abdominal cavity 32.4 m3, tail 2.2 m3. The total body surface area was calculated to be 119.1 m2, specifically 1.5 m2 for the head, 26 m2 neck, fore limbs 18.8 m2, hind limbs 16.4 m2, 44.2 m2 thoracic-abdominal cavity, and finally the tail 12.2 m2. Finally, allometric equations were used to estimate presumable organ sizes of this extinct dinosaur and to test whether their dimensions really fit into the thoracic and abdominal cavity of Brachiosaurus brancai if a slim body shape of this sauropod is assumed.