|“||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 (name meaning "Double Beam") is a genus of large diplodocid sauropod dinosaur that originated during the Late Jurassic period in western North America. It could have reached a length of up to 27 meters and weigh as much as 25 tons, though the oldest individuals could attain a size of over 40 meters in length. Therefore, it is arguably the longest Sauropod dinosaur that ever walked the Earth.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Diplodocus lived in western North America 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.
The first skeleton of Diplodocus was found at Cañon City, Colorado, by Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston in 1877, and was named Diplodocus longus ('long double-beam'), by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878.
While they may not have been that largest, Diplodocus is known for having been the longest of all sauropod dinosaurs ever discovered. They averaged 90 feet (27 m) long and weighed 25 tons (50,000 lbs.). However, some specimens were discovered to have measured over 130 feet (40 m) in length. They used their stiff, however, very strong necks to graze over large areas with little effort. To balance their necks, they possessed very 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 10 feet (3 m) in length and weigh 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 over 40 feet (12.3 m) long and weigh over 5 tons (10,000 lbs.). 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.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
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.
|“|| Of all the sauropod dinosaurs, Diplodocus ("Double Beam") is said to be the longest ever discovered. Though on average, adults measured over 90 feet long at maximum and weighed more than 22000 kilograms, some larger and older adults grew to reach 130 feet long. Additionally, similar to crocodilians, Diplodocus could live for over a full century, assuming they aren’t killed.
Living in large herds, these sauropods were able to defend themselves and their young from attack, especially using their long necks and long tails. When feeding, these dinosaurs could not chew, so they swallowed stones into their stomach, which grind their food down. During mating season, the males rocked back on their tails to impress mates. And when fights between males were brought out, these large dinosaur were able to cause tremors.
When females were laying eggs, much like some turtles, female Diplodocus possessed a sort of "egg tube", which extended from her body, allowing the eggs to gently slide to the ground. Once the eggs hatched, the group of hatchling diplodocus, or creche, stuck to the safety of the first fore about 5 years. Once they were big enough, they ventured out into the open areas to join an adult herd.
|— Allen, in his Journal, about Diplodocus|