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More Dinosaur Fact Sheets
Diplodocus Fact Sheet
Dinosaur/Paleontology Dictionary
NAME: Meaning - Diplodocus means "Double-beamed"
Pronounced - di-PLOD-o-kus
Named By - Othniel C. Marsh
When Named - 1878
DIET: Herbivore (plant-eater). Its main food was probably conifers, which were the dominant plant when the large sauropods lived. Secondary food sources may have included gingkos, seed ferns, cycads, bennettitaleans, ferns, club mosses, and horsetails. Diplodocus had blunt teeth (but only in the front of the jaws), useful for stripping foliage (leaves).
SIZE: Length - 90 feet (27 m) long
Height - 16 ft (5 m) tall at the hips
Weight - 10-20 tons
WHEN IT LIVED: Late Jurassic period, about 155-145 million years ago
WHERE IT LIVED: Many Diplodocus fossils have been found in the Rocky Mountains of the western USA (in Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming).
FOSSILS: The first Diplodocus fossil was found by Earl Douglass and Samuel W. Williston in 1877. Many Diplodocus fossils have been found, including a skin impression.
  • Kingdom Animalia (animals)
  • Phylum Chordata (having a hollow nerve chord ending in a brain)
  • Class Archosauria (diapsids with socket-set teeth, etc.)
  • Order Saurischia - lizard-hipped dinosaurs
  • Suborder Sauropoda - large, long-necked, quadrupedal herbivores
  • Superfamily Neosauropoda - advanced sauropods
  • Family Diplodocidae - whip-tailed, peg-toothed sauropods with high spines on the vertebrae.
  • Genus Diplodocus
  • Species D. longus (type species named by Marsh, 1878)
Diplodocus had a 26 foot (8 m) long neck and a 45 foot (14 m) long, whip-like tail. Its head was less than 2 feet long and its nostrils were at the top of the head. The front legs were shorter than its back legs, and all legs had elephant-like, five-toed feet. One toe on each foot had a thumb claw, probably for protection.

It has been determined that Diplodocus (and the other diplodocid saropods, like Apatosaurus) could not hold their necks over about 17 feet (5.4 m) off the ground.

It used to be thought that the sauropods (like Diplodocus) had a second brain. Paleontologists now think that what they thought was a second brain was just an enlargement in the spinal cord in the hip area. This enlargement was larger than the animal's tiny brain.

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