Dinosauria Online

Say hello to: DIPLODOCUS

[ Skeliton ]

DIPLODOCUS (dih-PLOD-o-kus) "Double Beam" (Greek diplos = double + dokos beam, referring to the double beamed chevron bones under the middle part of the TAIL vertebrae)

A Late Jurassic SAUROPOD with a long, snaky neck, a long, whip-like tail, and front legs shorter than the hind legs. A complete skeleton of this dinosaur has been found. It is the longest dinosaur skeleton ever found. It is 90 feet (27 m) long, and has a 26-foot (8-m) neck and a 45-foot (13.7-m) tail. This Diplodocus stood 13 feet (4 m) tall at the hips and probably weighed 25 tons (22.7 metric tons).

The elephant-like feet and legs of this four-legged plant eater indicate that it was a land or swamp dweller. Because its nostrils were on top of its head, scientists once thought that it lived on the bottom of lakes with only the top of its head above the water, because the pressure of the water would have been too great.

Diplodocus may have used its tail as a weapon. The Y-shaped SPINES on the tail vertebrae could have provided extra places of attachment for muscles that made it possible to move the tail from side to side. Its long neck enabled the animal to lift its head to see and approaching enemy from a long distance. Many nearly complete skeletons and several partial ones have been found in the Rocky Mountain states of North America. Diplodocus may have lived into Early Cretaceous times.

Classification: Sauropoda, Sauropodomorpha, Saurischia