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Monday, June 6, 2011

Diplodocus

Diplodocus was a long-necked, whip-tailed giant, measuring about 90 feet (27 m) long with a 26 foot (8 m) long neck and a 45 foot (14 m) long tail, but its head was less than 2 feet long. It was among the longest land animals ever. Its nostrils were at the top of its head and it had peg-like teeth, but only in the front of the jaws. Its front legs were shorter than its back legs, and all had elephant-like, five-toed feet. One toe on each foot had a thumb claw, probably for protection. A fossilized Diplodocus skin impression reveals that it had a row of spines running down its back.


Lived Late Jurassic period, about 156-144 million years ago. Found in Western U.S.A.
Diplodocus was more lightly built than the other giant sauropods, and may have weighed only about 10-20 tons. Its backbone had extra bones underneath it, which had bony protrusions running both forwards and backwards (anvil shaped), a "double beam", probably for support and extra mobility of its neck and tail. It may have used its whip-like tail for protection. A recent Diplodocus skin impression was found, showing a row of spines running down the back.

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