Diploducus

Diploducus longus

  • Pronounced:  dip - Low - doh - cuss

  • Diet:  Herbivore (Plant-Eater)

  • Name Means:  "double beam"

  • Length:  90 feet (27 m)

  • Height:  22 feet (7 m)

  • Weight:  20 tons (18,000 kilos)

  • Time:  Late Jurassic - 152 mya

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in Western United States

Diplodocus is a very famous giant Jurassic plant-eater. It was a huge, long-necked dinosaur, almost 100 feet long! In fact, it is the longest complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered. Since its hind legs were longer than its front legs, this tells us that Diplodocus probably ate plants that were low to the ground. It was so big, however, that it could push trees over in order to get the leaves at the top down to the ground! It would probably stand on its hind legs to push, but it could not hold that pose for very long.

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had a lot to do with making dinosaurs popular and, in particular, the Diploducus. The team of scientists who discovered this huge creature was working for Carnegie when they made the discovery. Carnegie was so amazed at the size of the dinosaur that he had copies made and sent to 11 museums around the world. This helped make many millions of people aware of this great creature.

Diploducus is the namesake of the Diplodocid family - long neck, pillar like legs, long tapering tail and enormous size. It had, like the other family members, peg-like teeth in an elongated head that seemed very small for such a large creature. There is much speculation about how much these creatures needed to eat and how such a small head could ingest enough food to fuel such a large body. Some scientists have stated that these huge, small-headed creatures would have needed to eat every waking moment in order to provide enough food to keep such a large body alive.

Like many other large sauropods, Diploducus probably swallowed stones which it kept in a gizzard similar to that found in a chicken to facilitate digesting food. The tough plant fibers would spend time in the gizzard stewing and being ground up by the stones. There is some speculation about the use of the very long tail of Diploducus and other members of its family. If it was used as a weapon, it would be very deadly. Because of its length, the speed at the tip, if swung forcefully, would have been very high, possibly faster than the speed of sound.



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