From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Not to be confused with Diplocaulus. Diplodocus
Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 154–150 Ma PreЄ Є O S D C P T J K


Mounted D. carnegii skeleton cast, Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Superorder: Dinosauria Order: Saurischia Suborder: †Sauropodomorpha Infraorder: †Sauropoda Family: †Diplodocidae Subfamily: †Diplodocinae †Diplodocus Genus:
Marsh, 1878

Type species Diplodocus longus
Marsh, 1878

2 Posture o 3. it was the longest dinosaur known. Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus. Contents [hide]    1 Description 2 Discovery and species o 2. with its classic dinosaur shape. hayi Holland. Its great size may have been a deterrent to the predators Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus: their remains have been found in the same strata.1 Valid species o 2.4 Other anatomical aspects .3 Diet o 3. 1991 [originally Seismosaurus]) Synonyms Seismosaurus Gillette. in what is now termed the Kimmeridgian and Tithonian stages (Diplodocus itself ranged from about 154 to 150 million years ago[3]). 1991 Diplodocus ( /dɪˈplɒdəkəs/. long neck and tail and four sturdy legs. 1924 D. a sequence of shallow marine and alluvial sediments deposited about 155 to 148 million years ago. is a Neo-Latin term derived from Greek διπλόος (diploos) "double" and δοκός (dokos) "beam". however. Diplodocus is one of the more common dinosaur fossils found in the Upper Morrison Formation.[1] in reference to its double-beamed chevron bones located in the underside of the tail. coined by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878. For many years. 1901 D. W. Barosaurus. Williston. they have since then been discovered in other members of the diplodocid family and in non-diplodocid sauropods such as Mamenchisaurus. The generic name.Species D. which suggests they coexisted with Diplodocus. hallorum (Gillette. longus Marsh.[4] Diplodocus is among the most easily identifiable dinosaurs. The Morrison Formation records an environment and time dominated by gigantic sauropod dinosaurs such as Camarasaurus.[2] or /ˌdɪploʊˈdoʊkəs/[1]) is a genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaur whose fossils were first discovered in 1877 by S. It lived in what is now western North America at the end of the Jurassic Period.2 Nomina dubia (doubtful species) 3 Paleobiology o 3. carnegii Hatcher. These bones were initially believed to be unique to Diplodocus. 1878 D.1 Habitat o 3.[1][2] /daɪˈplɒdəkəs/.

[7] 11. such as Amphicoelias). with a long. though not as much as previously thought. D.[9] and 16 tonnes (17.[5] The partial remains of D. throwing size estimates for Seismosaurus off by up to 30%. hallorum) have tended to be in the 10 to 16 tonne (11–17. hallorum have increased the estimated length.7 tonnes (14 tons). long-tailed animal with four sturdy legs has been mechanically compared with a suspension bridge. While dinosaurs such as Supersaurus were probably longer. when first described in 1991.[6] Modern mass estimates for Diplodocus (exclusive of D.5 tonnes (12. whip-like tail. Its forelimbs were slightly shorter than its hind limbs.[10] .6 Daily activity patterns 4 Classification 5 In popular culture 6 References 7 External links o o [edit] Description Diagram showing the size of different sauropods compared to a human.[5] In fact. The study shows that the complete Diplodocus skeleton at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.7 tons). hallorum in green One of the best-known sauropods. fossil remains of these animals are only fragmentary. Diplodocus was a very large long-necked quadrupedal animal. This review was based on recent findings that show that the giant tail vertebrae were actually placed further forward on the tail than Gillette originally calculated. Pennsylvania. had its 13th tail vertebra come from another dinosaur. making it the longest known dinosaur (excluding those known from exceedingly poor remains. Some weight estimates ranged as high as 113 tons (125 US short tons).[8] 12.    3. Diplodocus is the longest dinosaur known from a complete skeleton.6 ton) range: 10 tonnes (11 tons). on which estimates of Seismosaurus were based.5 Reproduction and growth 3. discoverer David Gillette calculated it may have been up to 54 m (177 ft) long. resulting in a largely horizontal posture.6 tons). The long-necked.

There has been speculation as to whether it may have had a defensive[16] or noisemaking (by cracking it like a coachwhip) function. with the finger and hand bones arranged into a vertical column.[12] Diplodocus had small. or perhaps prevented the blood vessels from being crushed if the animal's heavy tail pressed against the ground. The middle part of the tail had 'double beams' (oddly shaped bones on the underside. the manus (front "feet") of Diplodocus were highly modified. carnegii showing the double-beamed chevron bones that the genus name refers to. composed of about 80 caudal vertebrae. These 'double beams' are also seen in some related dinosaurs. 'peg'-like teeth that pointed forward and were only present in the anterior sections of the jaws. London.[11] of which over 6 m (20 ft) was neck. which gave Diplodocus its name). The neck was composed of at least fifteen vertebrae and is now believed to have been generally held parallel to the ground and unable to have been elevated much past horizontal. . compared with the size of the animal. Diplodocus had an extremely long tail. carnegii The skull of Diplodocus was very small.[15] which is almost double the number some of the earlier sauropods had in their tails (such as Shunosaurus with 43). Like other sauropods.[13] Its braincase was small.Restoration of D. which could reach up to 35 m (115 ft). and far more than contemporaneous macronarians had (such as Camarasaurus with 53). They may have provided support for the vertebrae. Natural History Museum.[17] The tail may have served as a counterbalance for the neck.[14] Caudal vertebrae of D.

Montana and Wyoming.[20] Fossil remains of Diplodocus have been recovered from stratigraphic zone 5 of the Morrison Formation. The first skeleton was found at Cañon City. known from a partial skeleton discovered by William H. flattened from side to side.S. Pennsylvania and described and named by John Bell Hatcher in 1901. Utah. except for the skull.[18] [edit] Discovery and species Several species of Diplodocus were described between 1878 and 1924.[21] [edit] Valid species Hatcher's original restoration of a D. in fact. was described in 1924. The function of this unusually specialized claw is unknown. by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878. mainly due to a near-complete skeleton collected by Jacob Wortman. Utterback in 1902 near Sheridan. hayi. many isolated limb bones were automatically attributed to Diplodocus but may. carnegii skeleton from 1901 D. Wyoming.[19] Diplodocus remains have since been found in the Morrison Formation of the western U.[11] D. is the best known. which is often missing from otherwise complete skeletons. Fossils of this animal are common. Although not the type species. and was named Diplodocus longus ('long doublebeam'). D. and this claw was unusually large relative to other sauropods. is known from two skulls and a caudal series from the Morrison Formation of Colorado and Utah. and detached from the bones of the hand. The two Morrison Formation sauropod genera Diplodocus and Barosaurus had very similar limb bones. States of Colorado.horseshoe-shaped in cross section. In the past. longus. named after Andrew Carnegie. Colorado by Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston in 1877. carnegii (also spelled D. hallorum (formerly known as Seismosaurus)    D. have belonged to Barosaurus. carnegii is the most completely known and most famous due to the large number of casts of its skeleton in museums around the world. carnegiei). D. Diplodocus lacked claws on all but one digit of the front limb. the type species. of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.[22] .

[25] The position that D.[24] This was followed by a much more detailed publication in 2006. [edit] Habitat Marsh and then Hatcher[29] assumed the animal was aquatic. citing incorrect grammar on the part of the original authors. Colorado. a recommendation that has been followed by others. Diplodocus is one of the best-studied dinosaurs.[27] These remains are now believed to have been from an immature animal. but also speculated that it could prove to be the same as D. as the water pressure on the chest wall would be too great. Similar aquatic behavior was commonly depicted for other large sauropods such as Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus. rather than from a separate species.[23] In 2004. refuting a previous hypothesis that Seismosaurus and Supersaurus were the same. longus was also taken by the authors of a redescription of Supersaurus. a 1951 study by Kenneth A. general consensus has the sauropods as firmly terrestrial animals. which not only renamed the species Diplodocus hallorum. hallorum should be regarded as a specimen of D. including Carpenter (2006). ferns and bushes. named by Marsh in 1884. However.[28] [edit] Paleobiology Due to a wealth of skeletal remains. Many aspects of its lifestyle have been subjects of various theories over the years. hallorum. because of the position of its nasal openings at the apex of the cranium. pelvis and ribs. hallorum. browsing on trees.[30] Since the 1970s. a presentation at the annual conference of the Geological Society of America made a case for Seismosaurus being a junior synonym of Diplodocus. longus. [edit] Posture . George Olshevsky later attempted to emend the name as S. Kermack indicates that sauropods probably could not have breathed through their nostrils when the rest of the body was submerged. D. first described in 1991 by Gillette as Seismosaurus halli from a partial skeleton comprising vertebrae.[26] [edit] Nomina dubia (doubtful species)  D. from remains of a smaller animal from Morrison. lacustris is a nomen dubium.

diplodocids were often portrayed with their necks held high up in the air. Hay depicts two Diplodocus with splayed lizard-like limbs on the banks of a river. However. with sprawled limbs[31] The depiction of Diplodocus posture has changed considerably over the years. J. flexible whip tails. and scientists such as Kent Stephens have used this to argue that sauropods including Diplodocus did not raise their heads much above shoulder level.[38] . Studies using computer models have shown that neutral posture of the neck was horizontal. Hay (1910).6 ton heart — a tenth of the animal's body weight. longus with horizontal necks. A 1992 Columbia University study of Diplodocid neck structure indicated that the longest necks would have required a 1. lizard-like gait with widely splayed legs. a classic 1910 reconstruction by Oliver P.[33] Finds of sauropod footprints in the 1930s eventually put Hay's theory to rest. who demonstrated that a sprawling Diplodocus would have needed a trench to pull its belly through. Hay argued that Diplodocus had a sprawling. alert posture. whose only purpose was to pump blood up to the next 'heart'. the very long neck of Diplodocus is the source of much controversy among scientists. For instance. A depiction of two D. keratinous spines and nostrils low on the snouts Later. with any other feeding benefits coming second.[32] and was supported by Gustav Tornier. subsequent studies demonstrated that all tetrapods appear to hold their necks at the maximum possible vertical extension when in a normal.[36] As with the related genus Barosaurus. and argued that the same would hold true for sauropods barring any unknown. One of the sauropod models in this study was Diplodocus. allowing them to graze from tall trees. However.[34][35] However. unique characteristics that set the soft tissue anatomy of their necks apart from other animals. this hypothesis was contested by W. which they found would have held its neck at about a 45 degree angle with the head pointed downwards in a resting posture. it was also suggested[37] that the oversized neck of Diplodocus and its relatives may have been primarily a sexual display.[5] While the long neck has traditionally been interpreted as a feeding adaptation. rather than vertical. a recent study refuted this idea in detail. The study proposed that animals like these would have had rudimentary auxiliary 'hearts' in their necks.An outmoded depiction by Oliver P. Holland.

[13] What this means is Diplodocus and other diplodocids had a radically different feeding mechanism than other sauropods. Such an ecological difference between adults and juveniles had not been previously observed in sauropodomorphs. Unilateral branch stripping is the most likely feeding behavior of Diplodocus.[13] With a laterally and dorsoventrally flexible neck.[edit] Diet D. up to approximately 10 metres (33 ft) from the ground. described a juvenile skull of Diplodocus (CM 11255) that differs greatly from adult skulls of the same genus: its snout is not blunt. while the other would act as a guide and stabilizer.[39][40][41] as it explains the unusual wear patterns of the teeth (coming from tooth–food contact).[42] The neck's range of movement would have also allowed the head to graze below the level of the body. and the possibility of using its tail and rearing up on its hind limbs (tripodal ability). leading some scientists to speculate on whether Diplodocus grazed on submerged water plants.[34] In 2010. Diplodocus would have had the ability to browse at many levels (low. though unlike all other wear patterns observed within sauropods.[13] Also the palinal (backwards) motion of the lower jaws could have contributed two significant roles to feeding behaviour: 1) an increased gape. This concept of the feeding posture is supported by the relative lengths of front and hind limbs. and high). longus skull from Bone-Cabin Quarry Diplodocus has highly unusual teeth compared to other sauropods. longer portions of stems could be stripped in a single action. elliptical in cross-section. and the teeth are not confined to the front of the snout. from riverbanks.[43] [edit] Other anatomical aspects . while the apex forms a blunt triangular point. and 2) allowed fine adjustments of the relative positions of the tooth rows. The crowns are long and slender. Whitlock et al. Furthermore.[13] The most prominent wear facet is on the apex. With the elongated preorbital (in front of the eyes) region of the skull. creating a smooth stripping action. its peglike teeth may have been used for eating soft water plants. In unilateral branch stripping. medium. one tooth row would have been used to strip foliage from the stem. These differences suggest that adults and juveniles were feeding differently. Diplodocus wear patterns are on the labial (cheek) side of both the upper and lower teeth.

other sauropods such as the titanosaurian Saltasaurus have been associated with nesting sites. The evidence suggests that the facial nerve is very small in Diplodocus.a) skull. Following a number of bone histology studies. is large as it innervates the trunk. such as an elephant. pointed keratinous spines lining their back.[44] A recent study[45] surmised there was no paleoneuroanatomical evidence for a trunk. while the nasal openings were high on the head. It is possible that Diplodocus may have done the same. b) classic rendering of the head with nostrils on top. the actual. It noted that the facial nerve in an animal with a trunk. [edit] Daily activity patterns .[51][52][53] Previous thinking held that sauropods would keep growing slowly throughout their lifetime. d) modern depiction with nostrils low on the snout and a possible resonating chamber The head of Diplodocus has been widely depicted with the nostrils on top due to the position of the nasal openings at the apex of the skull. c) with speculative trunk.[47][48] This radically different look has been incorporated into recent reconstructions. but it was pure speculation on the part of the documentary. taking decades to reach maturity. [edit] Reproduction and growth While there is no evidence for Diplodocus nesting habits. though continuing to grow throughout their lives. Diplodocus. grew at a very fast rate. along with other sauropods. each covered with vegetation. notably Walking with Dinosaurs. There has been speculation over whether such a configuration meant that Diplodocus may have had a trunk.[49][50] The titanosaurian nesting sites indicate that may have laid their eggs communally over a large area in many shallow pits. It is unknown exactly how many diplodocids had this trait. Studies by Lawrence Witmer (2001) indicated that. reaching sexual maturity at just over a decade. The documentary Walking with Dinosaurs portrayed a mother Diplodocus using an ovipositor to lay eggs. and whether it was present in other sauropods. much like those on an iguana. fleshy nostrils were situated much lower down on the snout.[46] Recent discoveries have suggested that Diplodocus and other diplodocids may have had narrow.

Diplodocids flourished in the Late Jurassic of North America and possibly Africa. such as the titanosaurs and brachiosaurs.Comparisons between the scleral rings of Diplodocus and modern birds and reptiles suggest that it may have been cathemeral.[12][59] [edit] In popular culture The original D.[27] Members of this family. active throughout the day at short intervals. was erected to include Diplodocus and its closest relatives. Suuwassea.[57][58] The Diplodocoidea comprises the diplodocids. the Macronaria.[12] This clade is the sister group to. which is still considered a diplodocid although not a diplodocine.[54] [edit] Classification Diplodocus is both the type genus of. and gives its name to Diplodocidae.[55][56] Amphicoelias[58] and possibly Haplocanthosaurus. as well as dicraeosaurids. the family to which it belongs.[59] and/or the nemegtosaurids. Diplodocinae. carnegii (foreground) at the Carnegie Museum . including Barosaurus. Camarasaurus. rebbachisaurids. while still massive. All are characterised by long necks and tails and a horizontal posture. brachiosaurids and titanosaurians. with forelimbs shorter than hindlimbs. as it is a member of the subfamily Apatosaurinae.[55][56] The Portuguese Dinheirosaurus and the African Tornieria have also been identified as close relatives of Diplodocus by some authors.[15] A subfamily. are of a markedly more slender build when compared with other sauropods. More distantly related is the contemporaneous Apatosaurus.

carnegii to the trustees of the British Museum of Natural History. Germany (replica. Casts of Diplodocus skeletons are still displayed in many museums worldwide. including an unusual D. unveiled in 1907) The Natural History Museum in London (replica. Diplodocus has been a famous and much-depicted dinosaur as it has been on display in more places than any other sauropod dinosaur. unveiled in 1909). unveiled in 1909) The Museum for Paleontology and Geology in Bologna. Argentina (replica.e. much as it was in 1908. unveiled in 1910) The Museo de la Plata in La Plata near Buenos Aires.Presentation of the first replica of D. 12 May 1905. unveiled in 1930) . Italy (replica. Lord Avebury speaking. 1908) The National Natural History Museum in Paris. hayi in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. unveiled in 1912) The National Natural History Museum in Madrid. and D. This includes donations by Carnegie or his trust to[62]:           The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh (original. unveiled in november 1913)[63] The Museo de Paleontología in Mexico City (replica.[60] Much of this has probably been due to its wealth of skeletal remains and former status as the longest dinosaur. However. carnegii in a number of institutions. carnegii replica in the Paris Musée d'histoire naturelle.. the donation of many mounted skeletal casts by industrialist Andrew Carnegie to potentates around the world at the beginning of the twentieth century[61] did much to familiarize it to people worldwide. unveiled on 15 June 1908) The Natural History Museum in Vienna. Russia (replica. 'second-generation') are on display in museums in Milan and Naples. Austria (replica. France (replica. Skulls from this cast (i. Holland's D. Petersburg. unveiled on 12 May 1905) The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. unveiled in early May. Spain (replica. The Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St.

...[68] . longus. James A.[66] [67] A mounted and more complete skeleton of D.. hallorum (formerly Seismosaurus). along with its association with 'big science'.] But even a much older gent • Sees itself forced to wander • Goes by the name Diplodocus • And belongs among the fossils • Mr. which may be the same as D. D.. Germany (replica. while a mounted skeleton of D.. can be found at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. philanthropism and capitalism. much as "brontosaur" is in English. The German satirical weekly Kladderadatsch devoted a poem to the dinosaur: [. Michener's book Centennial has a chapter devoted to Diplodocus. narrating the life and death of one individual. both factual and fictional. donated in 1932 and still unmounted) This project..] Auch ein viel älterer Herr noch muß Den Wanderburschen spielen Er ist genannt Diplodocus‚ und zählt zu den Fossilen Herr Carnegie verpackt ihn froh In riesengroße Archen Und schickt als Geschenk ihn so An mehrere Monarchen [. The Paleontological Museum in Munich. The episode "Time of the Titans" follows the life of a simulated Diplodocus 152 million years ago. D. Carnegie packs him joyfully • In giant arcs • And sends him as gift this way • To multiple monarchs [. In literature.])[64] "Le diplodocus" became a generic term for sauropods in French. Germany. carnegii is on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.C. drew much public attention in Europe. donated in 1907 by the American Museum of Natural History).[65] A further D. It was featured in the second episode of the award-winning BBC television series Walking with Dinosaurs.. Diplodocus has been a frequent subject in dinosaur films. longus is at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington. Additionally..] (Translation: [. longus is displayed the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt (a skeleton made up of several specimens.

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