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

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.

In January 2017, Dippy left the Museum to prepare for a natural history adventure across the UK. The famous cast will be back visiting the Museum in 2022, from the summer until Christmas.

Taxonomic details

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

Step back in time

Find out more about dinosaurs' lives and the world they lived in.

Dippy Returns

The nation's favourite dinosaur is back for a short visit and sharing memories of nature from across the UK.

Free installation. Now open.

Dinosaurs gallery

Roarrr. Come face-to-face with some of the Museum's most famous dinosaurs.