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Diplodocus had a long neck that it would have used to reach high and low vegetation, and to drink water. There has been some debate over how such a long neck would have been held.

Scientists now think that ligaments running from the hip to the back of the neck would have allowed Diplodocus to hold its neck in a horizontal position without using muscles. The vertebrae (back bones) are split down the middle and this space could have held ligaments like these.

As shown in our model, Diplodocus may have had narrow, pointed bony spines lining its back.

A Museum icon

In 1905 a cast of a Diplodocus skeleton was donated to the Museum by the wealthy businessman Andrew Carnegie, based on the original specimen in the Carnegie Museum in the USA.

King Edward VII had requested a copy of the newly discovered dinosaur after seeing a picture of it in Carnegie's Scottish castle. From 1979 to early 2017 the cast - known affectionately as Dippy - was on display in the Museum's Hintze Hall.

In 1993, Dippy's tail was lifted from the ground after research revealed that Diplodocus tails would have been raised high to balance the neck.

Every 2 years or so, Museum experts used specialist equipment to clean the 292 bones that make up Dippy. It takes 2 staff 2 days to clean the cast and make sure it is maintained for future generations to enjoy.

Dippy has now been taken off display to enable conservators to prepare the delicate cast for a tour of the UK, which will begin in 2018.

  • Buy

    Diplodocus toys and games

  • Read the news

    Find out about where Dippy will be visiting on the UK tour

  • Discover

    More about this iconic dinosaur's history

  • Investigate

    Explore dinosaurs with the same body shape as Diplodocus in the Dino Directory

  • Extra

    There may be more details in Wikipedia

Fact file

DIP-low DOCK-us
Meaning of name
double beam
20000kg - 25000kg
rows of teeth like a comb
leaves from trees and soft plants
How it moved
on 4 legs
When it lived
Late Jurassic
(155 - 145 million years ago)
Found in

Taxonomic details

Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropodomorpha, Sauropoda, Eusauropoda, Neosauropoda, Diplodocoidea, Diplodocidae, Diplodocus
Named by
Marsh (1878)
Type species