Diplodocus Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Diplodocus
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Diplodocus



dinosaur picture diplodocus

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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Saurischia
  Suborder Sauropodomorpha
  Infraorder Sauropoda
  Family Diplodocidae
  Genus Diplodocus
Diplodocus was a massive plant-eater (herbivore) that lived in the Jurassic period, 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 Brachiosaurus.

The first fossil skeleton of Diplodocus was found at Como Bluff, Wyoming by Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston in 1878. This specimen was named Diplodocus longus (meaning "long double-beam") by Othniel C. Marsh. Fossils of Diplodocus are common, and many other specimens have been found, except for the skull which is usually missing, even from otherwise complete skeletons.

Over the years, there has been much debate over Diplodocus' posture and lifestyle:
  • 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 to breathe.

  • 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 belly through!

  • 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 Timeline:

Diplodocus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 155 to 145 million years ago

Diplodocus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 155 to 145 million years ago

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See Also

Diplodocus Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Diplodocus:
  1. Diplodocus was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "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.

  3. 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.

  4. Diplodocus was a Sauropod - a member of a group of related large quadrupedal herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur with long necks.

  5. Diplodocus lived between about 155 million years ago and 145 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.

  6. Diplodocus lived in North America.

  7. Diplodocus was a herbivore (plant-eater).

  8. Diplodocus is thought to have been a grazer, and probably could not have raised its head very far above the ground level.

  9. Diplodocus was usually about 85 feet (25.9 meters) long, although sometimes it grew as long as 100 feet (30.5 meters).

  10. Diplodocus weighed about 11 tons.

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