Colorado dinosaur discovery – Brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus skeleton in bronze in Chicago
A bronze Brachiosaurus skeleton stands in front of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. The museum’s Elmer Riggs found its first bones near Grand Junction. | Photo by AStrangerintheAlps /


The Brachiosaurus, a gigantic plant-eating dinosaur, was first described and named by paleontologist Elmer S. Riggs based on a partial skeleton he recovered six miles west of Grand Junction in 1900.

Riggs, of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, brought a scientific expedition to the area after Stanton Bradbury, a Grand Junction dentist and amateur collector, reported that residents had been uncovering dinosaur bones since 1885.
H.W. Menke, a Riggs field assistant, found the partial skeleton on July 4 on what became known as Riggs Hill on the Redlands.

Riggs described the Jurassic era dinosaur in 1901 and named it in 1903. The Brachiosaurus was the largest dinosaur on record for decades but lost that title to the Supersaurus discovered near Delta.

The Brachiosaurus stood on four strong legs and had a long neck and trunk but a relatively short tail that led Riggs and others to liken it to a giraffe.

The Brachiosaurus is believed to have been 85 feet long and to have weighed 30 to 40 tons.