Diplodocus was a massive plant-eater (herbivore) that lived in the
155 to 145 million years ago, in North America.
Diplodocus was usually around 85 feet (25.9 meters) long, although some specimens were
as long as 100 feet (30.5 meters).
Most of its length was taken up its 24 feet (7.3 meters) neck, and its 46 feet (14 meters)
tail. Its body was only about 13 feet (4 meters) long, and its head was comparatively
tiny, just 2 feet (60 centimeters) long.
Diplodocus probably only weighed around 11 tons, about one third as much
as Apatosaurus, and only
about one eighth as much as
skeleton of Diplodocus was found at Como Bluff,
by Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston in 1878. This specimen was
named Diplodocus longus (meaning "long double-beam")
Othniel C. Marsh.
Diplodocus are common, and many other specimens have been found, except
for the skull which is usually missing, even from otherwise complete
Over the years, there has been much debate over Diplodocus' posture
Othniel C. Marsh,
originally suggested the creature was probably aquatic based on the position
of the animal's nasal openings in the skull. However, this theory
has subsequently been discarded based on the fact that the water pressure on
the animal's chest wall would have made it impossible for Diplodocus
An alternative explanation for the position of the nasal openings that
has been proposed, is that Diplodocus may have had a trunk. However,
research regarding the animal's facial nerve and positioning of Diplodocus'
nostrils does not seem to support this theory.
When Diplodocus was first discovered, it was often depicted with its
limbs splayed in a sprawling lizard-like posture. This theory was also rejected:
in this case, W. J. Holland demonstrated, that because of the great
size of the animal's rib cage, a sprawling posture would have meant that
the animal could only walk with the help of large trenches to pull its
Although many depictions of Diplodocus show the animal with its head
up high, some scientists now argue that such a posture would not have been
possible, simply because the heart would not have been able to sustain the
blood pressure necessary to get enough oxygen to the brain. Additionally, in
further support of this position, it has been argued that the structure of
Diplodocus' neck vertebrae would not have permitted the animal to bend
its neck far upwards.
Evidence has recently been found, suggesting
that Diplodocus and its relatives may have had
spines made of keratin on its back, perhaps similar to
the spines found on modern Iguanas.
Diplodocus is depicted with this feature in
Walking with Dinosaurs.
"Diplodocus" means "double beam" (referring to double-beamed bones in the underside of its tail). The name was chosen by Othniel C. Marsh in 1878.
Diplodocus was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Diplodocus was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.
Diplodocus was a Sauropod - a member of a group of related large quadrupedal herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur with long necks.
Diplodocus lived between about 155 million years ago and 145 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.
Diplodocus lived in North America.
Diplodocus was a herbivore (plant-eater).
Diplodocus is thought to have been a grazer, and probably could not have raised its head very far above the ground level.
Diplodocus was usually about 85 feet (25.9 meters) long, although sometimes it grew as long as 100 feet (30.5 meters).
Diplodocus weighed about 11 tons.
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