Apatosaurus, also known by the popular but scientifically obsolete synonym Brontosaurus, is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived from about 154 to 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period (Kimmeridgian and early Tithonian ages). It was one of the largest land animals that ever existed, with an average length of 23 m (75 ft) and a mass of at least 23 metric tons (25 short tons). The composite term Apatosaurus comes from the Greek names apate/apatelos meaning “deception”/”deceptive” and sauros meaning “lizard”; thus, “deceptive lizard”. Othniel Charles Marsh gave it this name because he regarded the chevron bones as similar to those of some mosasaurs, members of a group of prehistoric marine lizards.
The cervical vertebrae were less elongated and more heavily constructed than those of Diplodocus and the bones of the leg were much stockier (despite being longer), implying a more robust animal. The tail was held above the ground during normal locomotion. Like most sauropods, Apatosaurus had only a single large claw on each forelimb, with the first three toes on the hind limb possessing claws.
Fossils of these animals have been found in Nine Mile Quarry and Bone Cabin Quarry in Wyoming and at sites in Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah, present in stratigraphic zones 2-6.