Diplodocus ‭(‬Double beam‭)

Short Info

Diplodocus ‭(‬Double beam‭)

Phonetic : Dip-low-doe-cus.

Named By : Othniel Charles Marsh‭ ‬-‭ ‬1878

Diet : Herbivore

Size : D. carnegii estimated 22-24 meters long. D. hallorum up to 33 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod

Type Species : D.‭ ‬longus‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬D. carnegii,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬hallorum

Found in : USA,‭ ‬Colorado,‭ ‬Montana,‭ ‬Utah,‭ ‬Wyoming‭ ‬-‭ ‬Morrison Formation

When it Lived : Late Jurassic, 155-145 million years ago

Diplodocus (/dI’plad@k@s/ Diplodocus (/dI’plad@k@s/ diploU’doUk@sDiplodocus (/dI’plad@k@s/) is the name given to a species belonging to diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs whose fossils first came to light in the year 1877, in the hands of S. W. Williston. The term “generic name,” coined by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878 was a neo-Latin name that is derived by the Greek diplolos (diplos) “double” and dokos (dokos) “beam”, in reference to the double-beamed bones of chevron found in the lower part of the tail. These bones were considered to be the only ones.


CM DiplodocusScottRobertAnselmo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The dinosaurs of this genus lived in the present-day mid-western region of North America, at the beginning in the Jurassic period. It is among the most well-known dinosaur fossils discovered in the middle and the upper Morrison Formation that was discovered between 15 million and 152 million in the late Kimmeridgian age. Morrison Formation Morrison Formation records an environment and time dominated by huge sauropod dinosaurs like Apatosaurus, Barosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Camarasaurus. Its size could be a deterrent to those predators Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus Their remains were found in the same strata suggesting that they lived together with Diplodocus.


Hatcher DiplodocusJohn Bell Hatcher, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Diplodocus is one of the dinosaurs that are easily identified because of its distinctive sauropod-like shape, its the long tail and neck as well as four strong legs. For a number of years it was considered to be the biggest dinosaur to be identified.


Diplodocus carnegii SkeletalSlate Weasel, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


One of the most well-known sauropods is Diplodocus were huge long-necked quadrupedal species that had long, whip-like tails. Their forelimbs were a little smaller than their hind legs which resulted in a mostly horizontal position. The skeletal structures of these long-necked creatures, supported by four sturdy legs has been compared with suspension bridges. Actually, Diplodocus carnegii is currently one of the dinosaurs with the longest length with a complete skeleton having a total length of 24 to 26 meters (79-85 feet). Modern mass estimates for Diplodocus carnegii have tended to be in the 12-14.8-metric-ton (13.2-16.3-short-ton) range.

Diplodocus hallorum is discovered from fragments of remains, was much largerand is thought to be as big as four elephants. The first time it was described in 1991, the discoverer David Gillette calculated it may be up to 52 meters (171 feet) in length, making it the longest-known dinosaur (excluding the ones found in extremely poor remains, like Amphicoelias as well as Maraapunisaurus). There were estimates of weight at the time were up to 113 tonnes (125 shorter tons). The length estimate was later adjusted downwards to 33-33.5 meters (108-110 feet) and then to 29-32 meters (95-105 feet) Based on research evidence that showed that Gillette was originally unable to locate vertebrae 12-19 in the context of vertebrae 20-27. The almost completely Diplodocus carnegii skeleton in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the size estimates for D. hallorum are mainly on, was also found to have the 13th tail vertebra from a different dinosaur, which threw off the size estimates of D. hallorum even further. While dinosaurs like Supersaurus were likely to be longer but the fossil remains of these species are fragmentary.

Diplodocus was a hugely long tail made up of caudal vertebrae that totalled around 80 that are nearly more than the sauropods of earlier times were able to have within the tails (such as Shunosaurus with 43) in addition to being much higher than the macronarians of the time (such such as Camarasaurus which had 53). There is some speculation about whether it might be the purpose of a noise-making or defensive (by breaking it up like a whip) purpose. The tail could be used as a counterbalancer for the neck. The middle portion of the tail contained “double beams” (oddly shaped bone chevron on the underside that provided Diplodocus his name). They could have served as the vertebrae with support or even prevented blood vessels from getting crushed when the heavy tail was placed on the ground. The “double beams” are also observed in other related dinosaurs. Chevron bones of this specific shape were originally believed to be exclusive to Diplodocus however, they’ve been discovered within other species of the diplodocid family, as well as in non-diplodocid sauropods for instance Mamenchisaurus.

Like other sauropods the like other sauropods, the manus (front “feet”) of Diplodocus were highly altered by having the fingers and hand bones being arranged in the shape of a horseshoe in cross-section. Diplodocus did not have claws on every digit on the front limb. Additionally, this claw was atypically large in comparison to other sauropods. It was which was flat from the side and separated from bones in the hands. The purpose of this special claw is not known.

There has never been a skull found that could be claimed to be belonging to Diplodocus however skulls of other diplodocids that are closely related with Diplodocus (such such as Galeamopus) are widely known. Diplodocid skulls were extremely small in comparison to the size of the animals. Diplodocus was a small animal with peg-like teeth that pointed upwards and were present only in the anterior portions in the jaws. The braincase of Diplodocus was tiny. The neck consisted of at most 15 vertebrae. It could be fixed by the ground, and could not be raised far above the horizontal.

Many kinds of Diplodocus were discovered between 1878 until 1924. First skeletons were discovered in Canon City, Colorado, by Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston in 1877. The skeleton was identified as Diplodocus longus (‘long double beam’) by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878. While not the species of type, D. carnegii is the most well-known and most well-known due to the huge number of castings of its skeletons in museums across the globe. Diplodocus remains have been discovered within the Morrison Formation of the western U.S. States of Colorado, Utah, Montana and Wyoming. Fossils from the animal are widespread with the exception of the skull that was never discovered with skeletons that are otherwise complete. D. hayi, known by a skeleton that was only a portion of the skull found from William H. Utterback in 1902 close to Sheridan, Wyoming, was identified in 1924. It was in 2015 designated as a separate Genus Galeamopus and a variety of Diplodocus specimens were classified under this genus, but there were no definitive Diplodocus skulls.

Two Morrison Formation sauropod genera Diplodocus and Barosaurus were very similar in bones of the limbs. At one time, a number of fragments of limb bones had been assigned to Diplodocus however, they could be in fact been part of Barosaurus. The fossil remains from Diplodocus have been found in stratigraphic zone 5 in the Morrison Formation.

Source: Wikipedia