Barosaurus vs Argentinosaurus: Who Would Win in a Prehistoric Showdown?

The Mesozoic Era beckoned the rise of some of the most colossal creatures ever to walk the Earth, and among them stood the giants, Argentinosaurus and Barosaurus. While Argentinosaurus roamed the landscapes of what is now Argentina during the Late Cretaceous period, Barosaurus existed earlier, during the Upper Jurassic, across regions that would become North America. Each of these sauropods personifies the pinnacle of prehistoric enormity, but they were evidently distinct, not only in geography and era but also in physical makeup, behavior, and ecological roles.

A comparative study of Argentinosaurus and Barosaurus offers fascinating insights into the diversity of dinosaur life and the evolutionary pathways that led to the development of such immense creatures. Argentinosaurus is widely recognized for its formidable size, with estimates suggesting it reached lengths of 30-35 meters and weighed up to 80 tonnes. Barosaurus, though not as heavily built, sported an incredibly elongated neck and tail, adaptations that suggest different feeding strategies and behaviors. Exploring their physical characteristics, the strategic advantages they may have had in their respective environments, along with a consideration of their defensive capabilities and social behaviors, provides a comprehensive view of how each species might have fared in the ancient ecosystems they dominated.

Key Takeaways

  • Argentinosaurus and Barosaurus were enormous sauropods that lived in different geological periods and regions.
  • They had distinct physical characteristics adapted to their environments and lifestyles.
  • Analyzing their possible interactions with the environment and predators reveals the survival strategies of these prehistoric giants.


In the realm of colossal dinosaurs, Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus stand out for their impressive sizes. These sauropods roamed the Earth in different periods, with Argentinosaurus hailing from the Cretaceous and Barosaurus from the Jurassic, yet their massive statures invite comparisons. Below is a comparison table that details key differences and similarities between these two giant sauropod species.

Comparison Table

Time PeriodLate JurassicLate Cretaceous
LocationNorth AmericaSouth America
LengthUp to 30 meters (98 feet)Up to 35 meters (115 feet)
WeightNot precisely known, estimated largeUp to 100 tonnes
DiscoveryRemains found in the Morrison FormationRemains found in Argentina
TailExtremely longLong and likely heavy
Eating HabitsHerbivorousHerbivorous
Known forLong tail, neck; related to DiplodocusOne of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered
Comparative SizeSmaller than ArgentinosaurusLarger than Barosaurus, possibly largest ever

Barosaurus, a relative to the well-known Diplodocus, is distinguished by its elongated neck and tail, features that are emblematic of sauropods. This giant roamed the Late Jurassic North America and was notably part of the Diplodocidae family. On the other hand, Argentinosaurus, from the later Cretaceous period and found in South America, was a titanosaur sauropod dinosaur, potentially one of the largest terrestrial animals to have ever lived.

While both species are renowned for their sizes among sauropods, Argentinosaurus is often regarded as bigger, with estimates suggesting it may have reached a weight of 100 tonnes. Argentinosaurus held a robust stature, with a substantial neck and tail that contributed to its massive size, dwarfing many contemporaries, including Barosaurus.

The comparison of these species highlights not only the diversity and scale of sauropods but also shows the fascinating evolutionary adaptations that allowed them to thrive in their respective environments for millions of years. While the exact dimensions of these ancient creatures are often based on fragmentary remains, advanced research techniques continue to refine our understanding of these spectacular plant-eating titans.

Physical Characteristics

The Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus were both titanic members of the sauropod group, known for their impressive sizes and elongated necks and tails. Barosaurus, a relative of Diplodocus, roamed North America during the late Jurassic period. Paleontologists have noted the exceptional length of Barosaurus’s neck, which contributed significantly to its overall body length. Estimates suggest that this dinosaur could reach up to 27 meters (88 feet) in length, with a substantial portion attributed to its neck, consisting of elongated vertebrae.

In contrast, Argentinosaurus is hailed as one of the largest dinosaurs to have ever walked the earth. As a member of the titanosaurs, a subgroup of sauropods, Argentinosaurus’s staggering size estimates place it at 30-35 meters (98-115 feet) long, with a weight that could lie between 65-80 tonnes (72-88 short tons). Despite being known from fragmentary remains, the fossil evidence, including vertebrae, ribs, and a femur, allows paleontologists to reconstruct its massive form confidently.

Argentinosaurus’s vertebral column showcased robust and well-developed bones that supported its great mass. The thigh bone and tibia hint at a powerful locomotive system, capable of sustaining its weight. Growth patterns in the bones suggest these sauropods grew rapidly and reached an upper limit in size that far exceeds most other known dinosaurs, dwarfing relatives like Supersaurus and Brachiosaurus.

In terms of weight and length, Argentinosaurus is consistently placed at the higher end of the scale in dinosaur size estimates, potentially making it the biggest dinosaur known from substantial skeletal remains. However, it’s important to mention contenders like Bruhathkayosaurus, which may have rivaled or exceeded Argentinosaurus in size, though the evidence is less conclusive.

Comparison tables and reconstructions often highlight the significant size difference between sauropods when Barosaurus is placed next to Argentinosaurus, with the latter’s robust stature and colossal length being notably superior.

Diet and Hunting

Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus were both massive sauropods that thrived in prehistoric ecosystems. Despite their imposing size, neither dinosaur was a predator. Rather, they were both herbivores.


  • Diet: Barosaurus primarily consumed vegetation available in its habitat—specifically the lush greens of the Upper Jurassic period. Given its long neck, Barosaurus could easily reach high into trees to browse on the foliage other herbivores couldn’t reach.
  • Hunting: As a plant-eating dinosaur, hunting did not form part of Barosaurus’s lifestyle. It was dependent upon its environment to supply an abundance of flora for sustenance.


  • Diet: Similar to Barosaurus, Argentinosaurus fed on a variety of plants. Fossil evidence suggests it roamed the Late Cretaceous period when flowering plants began to diversify. Its immense size indicates a substantial amount of plant material was needed to sustain it.
  • Hunting: The concept of hunting is inapplicable to Argentinosaurus; it was an herbivore that foraged rather than hunted.

Climatic Influence:

  • Barosaurus: Lived in a warm, possibly wet climate that could support large bodies of water and, in turn, an abundance of plant life.

  • Argentinosaurus: The region of modern-day Argentina where Argentinosaurus lived also supported a rich array of plant life, suitable to maintain such enormous creatures.

In summary, both of these titanic creatures lived off the land, relying entirely on the vegetation of their respective eras. They are vivid examples of the variety and adaptability of herbivorous diets during the Mesozoic era.

Defense Mechanisms

In assessing the defense mechanisms of Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus, their size played a critical role. Both sauropods utilized their formidable size as a primary deterrent against predators. Due to their massive statures, the appearance alone of these dinosaurs may have been enough to discourage potential threats.

Argentinosaurus, one of the largest known land animals, had an intricate defense system primarily based on its size. Researchers suggest that it could have weighed between 65-80 tonnes, making it quite challenging for predators to overcome. The sheer size and weight could inherently provide protection against most Cretaceous period predators.

Barosaurus, although not quite as large as Argentinosaurus, still utilized size as a method of defense. Its elongated neck and tail could be strategic in warding off attackers. Not only would a long tail potentially be used to strike at predators, but the height it could reach with its neck might intimidate predators, discouraging an attack before it began.

Saltasaurus, a smaller titanosaur relative, is relevant when discussing dinosaur defense, as it had osteoderms, bony armored plates, which added a layer of physical defense. Unlike Saltasaurus, neither Barosaurus nor Argentinosaurus is known to have had armored plates, which indicates that these larger sauropods relied heavily on their size and potentially their tails as a whip-like defense mechanism.

While the evidence to completely understand the behavior and defense strategies of these dinosaurs is limited, paleontologists speculate based on fossil records that size and physical features like the long tails were vital to their survival in an era where predators were a constant threat.

Intelligence and Social Behavior

Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus, while both being sauropods, have left minimal evidence about their intelligence levels, such as an IQ, due to the fossil record mainly comprising bone structure rather than soft tissue like the brain. However, it is generally believed that sauropods had small brains relative to their massive body size.

In terms of social behavior, indirect evidence suggests that these giants may have engaged in some form of herding behavior. Herding could have offered several advantages such as protection from predators or help in finding food.

Argentinosaurus – speculated to be one of the largest land animals to ever walk the Earth – likely had to consume vast amounts of vegetation to sustain itself. While the fossil records are fragmentary, scientists infer that moving in groups could have been advantageous for feeding efficiently.

Barosaurus, known for its exceptional length and towering neck, might have lived in what is now North America during the Upper Jurassic Period. Their fossil remains offer subtle clues that point towards gregarious behaviour which could indicate a form of group dynamics within their ecosystems.

It remains a challenge to determine the exact nature of the herd structures or group dynamics for both Argentinosaurus and Barosaurus. However, considering their size and likely need to fend off predators and find sufficient food, moving in herds might have been a shared aspect of their behavior. The significance of these social configurations for sauropods continues to be an area of active research in paleontology.

Key Factors

When comparing the Barosaurus and the Argentinosaurus, several key factors stand out due to their distinct ecologies and the eras they lived in. Barosaurus roamed the Morrison Formation, a region that is now part of North America, during the Late Jurassic period. It was identified by remains found in stratigraphic zones known for plant-eating dinosaurs. On the other hand, Argentinosaurus hails from Argentina, a country in South America, and lived during the Late Cretaceous. Its skeletal remains, housed at the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, signify one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.

  • Size Comparison:
    • Argentinosaurus: Potentially the largest dinosaur, reaching up to 35 meters in length.
    • Barosaurus: Notable for its long neck and tail but generally smaller than Argentinosaurus.

Ecological Factors: Both dinosaurs thrived in different times, with the Middle Cretaceous marking a pivotal shift in dinosaur diversity and ecology. The separation by millions of years suggests varied challenges and habitats shaped by the Earth’s changing climate and geography.

Paleontological Research: Studies by institutions, such as the American Museum of Natural History, and groundbreaking documentaries hosted by figures like David Attenborough, bring to life the extinct world of these giants. New findings may be published in reputable sources, including the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, aiding in the understanding of their life histories.

In summary, examining the size, era, ecological niches, and the contributions of paleontology helps to differentiate these two iconic sauropods. Understanding how Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus adapted to their respective environments within the evolutionary timeline provides insight into the complex nature of Cretaceous and Jurassic periods.

Who Would Win?

In a hypothetical matchup between Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus, determining a victor is complex due to several factors including size, defense mechanisms, and the environments these dinosaurs inhabited.

Size Comparison:

  • Argentinosaurus: Estimated to be up to 35 metres (115 ft) in length and weighing 65-80 tonnes.
  • Barosaurus: Comparable in length but generally lighter, with a more elongated neck and tail.

Given the sheer size, both sauropods were among the largest land animals to have ever walked the Earth. They surpass even the largest theropods, such as Giganotosaurus, which were formidable carnivores of their time. However, when pitted against the colossal blue whale, the largest known animal to have ever existed, both dinosaurs would fall short in terms of mass.

On the ground, where these behemoths would potentially encounter each other, physical combat would be unlikely. Their massive size and energy demands to fuel such bulk would make physical confrontation costly. Both are deemed to have been gentle giants, feeding on vast quantities of vegetation.

Despite Argentinosaurus’s mildly greater mass, which might suggest a dominant stance, neither species evolved as predators or fighters. They were not equipped with sharp teeth or claws that typically characterize an apex predator or combatant.

In considering all angles, including the absence of natural weaponry and aggressive behavior, it is likely that neither dinosaur would emerge as the winner in a direct confrontation. Their survival instead hinged on colossal size as a deterrent to predators, rather than offensive capability, rendering the question of “Who Would Win?” somewhat incongruous with their true natures.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the realm of giant sauropods, Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus often come up in discussions due to their impressive sizes and distinct characteristics.

Which dinosaur was larger: Barosaurus or Argentinosaurus?

Argentinosaurus is considered to have been one of the largest known land animals of all time, with estimates suggesting it reached lengths of 30-35 meters and weighed between 65-80 tonnes.

What are the defining differences between Barosaurus and Argentinosaurus?

Barosaurus was known for its extremely long neck and tail, and while it was a massive dinosaur, it was not as heavily built as Argentinosaurus, which had a broader and more robust body indicative of its enormous weight.

How does the size of Argentinosaurus compare to other giant sauropods?

When compared to other sauropods, Argentinosaurus stands out for its colossal size, often exceeding the length and mass of most of its contemporaries, making it a prime candidate for the title of the largest dinosaur.

What adaptations did Barosaurus have that differed from those of Argentinosaurus?

Barosaurus had a skeletal structure optimized for carrying its long neck and tail, suggesting an adaptation for a high browsing lifestyle, whereas Argentinosaurus had robust limbs that supported its greater body mass, possibly adapting it for foraging at lower levels.

Could Barosaurus have been a predator to other large dinosaurs like Argentinosaurus?

It is highly unlikely that Barosaurus, being a plant-eating sauropod, would have been a predator to other large dinosaurs, including Argentinosaurus, which was also herbivorous.

What is known about the habitats of Barosaurus compared to those of the larger sauropods like Argentinosaurus?

Barosaurus fossils have been found in North America’s Morrison Formation, suggesting it lived in a semi-arid environment with distinct wet and dry seasons. In contrast, Argentinosaurus roamed what is now Argentina, with fossil evidence indicating a habitat that included floodplains and forested regions.

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