|“||There are many different types of these gigantic, long-necked creatures. These are Diplodocus, the longest of them all.||„|
| — Allen, on Diplodocus|
in Time of the Titans
Diplodocus ("Double Beam") was a large, 30 meter long, 25 tonne sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (165-145 MYA) that lived on the territory of the modern Western United States. It could have reached a length of up to 30 meters, though the oldest individuals could attain a size of over 40 meters. Therefore, it is arguably the longest Sauropod that ever walked the Earth.
Diplodocus lived during the Late Jurassic Era from 165-145 million years ago. And it shared its environment with small dinosaurs, large dinosaurs, and even other sauropods. They were often attacked and preyed upon by Allosaurus.
While they may not have been that largest, Diplodocus is known for being the longest of all sauropod dinosaurs ever discovered. They averaged 90 feet (30 meters) long and weighed 25 tons. But in herds, some of the older members were known to measure over 120 feet (40 meters) in length. They used their very strong but stiff necks to graze over large areas with little effort. To balance their necks, they had long tails with elegant whip-like ends they were used for communication between members of the herd.
When they were newly hatched, they weighed no more than a few kilograms. Therefore, they would have to grow one ton every year until they became adults. That's an astonishing 2-3 kilograms a single day. When faced with danger the hatchlings, these baby Diplodocus, or "Sauropodlets", stood very still and depended on their camouflage for protection.
After a year would go by, baby Diplodocus could already measure over 3 meters in length and would have weighed half a ton, as much as a full-grown horse. And they stuck together with others in a crèche for safety.
After five years, Diplodocus can measure twelve meters long and weigh over five tons. They also developed the spines and long whipped tails of adult hood.
These creatures can reach full grown adult size in less than 10 years. Diplodocus could have lived for at least a full century and once over a certain size, they had no natural predators, not even adult Allosaurus.
Each adult Diplodocus dropped over a ton of dung on the prairie every day. Their teeth were more suited for soft, green leaves rather than woody branches. One of the reasons Diplodocus were so massive is that it allowed them to have and extremely long gut which allows them to digest even the toughest of Jurassic vegetation. Like the ancient reptile Scutosaurus, about 100 million years earlier, whole leaves passed into the Diplodocus' guts where stones they had swallowed helped grind their food down so that bacteria fermented it and released nutrients. It was a process that produced a lot of excuses gas.
For protection, like many herbivores, Diplodocus lived and traveled in herds of 30 or more individuals in a single herd. Diplodocus herds contained a range of members, from 12-metered-long adolescents to gigantic old adults more than three times their size. A large herd of dinosaurs on the move attracted a variety of smaller animals, like Dryosaurus and Othnielia.
As they ate and trampled the vegetation, insects swarmed around them. When Diplodocus were newly hatched, they usually rested for an instant and then, along with other hatchlings, headed for the deep forest as fast as their legs could carry them. After hatching, for the next few months, they needed the cover of the deep forests and their only chance of survival were to hide from predators among the vegetation. They hid beneath a dense layer of ferns and started their life-long obsession with eating.During mating season, the Diplodocus males rocked back on their tails, virtually standing upright, to impress potential females. Occasionally, fights broke out. With creatures their size, the forces of work during these confrontations were colossal –– enough so to shatter ribs and shake the ground.
Diplodocus were capable of living for a hundred years and above a certain size, they had no natural predators, not even Allosaurus. Even a sick and exhausted Diplodocus is a fearsome adversary.