Diplodocus

Diplodocus

Pronunciation:
DIP-low DOCK-us
Name meaning:
'double beam'
Diplodocus
sauropod silhouette
Type of dinosaur:
sauropod
Length:
26.0m
Weight:
20000kg
Diet:
herbivorous herbivorous food icon
Teeth:
rows of teeth like a comb
Food:
leaves from trees and soft plants
How it moved:
on 4 legs
When it lived:
Late Jurassic, 155-145 million years ago
Found in:
USA

Diplodocus had a long neck that it would have used to reach high and low vegetation, and to drink water. There has been some debate over how such a long neck would have been held.

Scientists now think that ligaments running from the hip to the back of the neck would have allowed Diplodocus to hold its neck in a horizontal position without using muscles. The vertebrae (back bones) are split down the middle and this space could have held ligaments like these.

Diplodocus may have had narrow, pointed bony spines lining its back.

A Museum icon

In 1905 a cast of a Diplodocus skeleton was donated to the Museum by the wealthy businessman Andrew Carnegie, based on the original specimen in the Carnegie Museum in the USA.

King Edward VII had requested a copy of the newly discovered dinosaur after seeing a picture of it in Carnegie's Scottish castle. From 1979 to early 2017 the cast - known affectionately as Dippy - was on display in the Museum's Hintze Hall.

In 1993, Dippy's tail was lifted from the ground after research revealed that Diplodocus tails would have been raised high to balance the neck.

Every two years or so, Museum experts used specialist equipment to clean the 292 bones that make up Dippy. It takes two staff two days to clean the cast and make sure it is maintained for future generations to enjoy.

Dippy has now left the Museum to go on a natural history adventure. From February 2018 to October 2020 Dippy will be visiting eight venues across the UK.

Taxonomic details

Taxonomy:
Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropodomorpha, Sauropoda, Eusauropoda, Neosauropoda, Diplodocoidea, Diplodocidae
Named by:
Marsh (1878)
Type species:
longus
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