Diplodocus in the Grand Lobby

Around 150 to 147 million years ago, at the end of the Jurassic Period, enormous sauropod dinosaurs roamed wide portions of the planet.

Around 90 feet in length from head to tip of the tail, the Diplodocus would have needed massive amounts of food to sustain its huge size. Diplodocus likely grazed its way through the western North American conifer forests using its peg like teeth to strip foliage from trees and low growing cycads and club mosses. Their long necks may have allowed them to reach into thick-treed forests where their bodies were too big to enter, reach foliage higher up in trees or even be able to graze on soft water plants while still standing on dry land that would support their 10-16 tons of weight. The heads of these massive dinosaurs measure less than two feet in length, leaving only a tiny amount of space for a brain.

First discovered in 1877 by Earl Douglass and Samuel W. Williston, diplodocus fossils have been found throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Montana. Diplodocus, meaning "Double-beamed", was named by paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh in 1878 for the chevron shaped bones on the underside of its tail.

The MOSI Grand Lobby houses two full sized Diplodocus skeletons which are actually casts of the same fossilized Diplodocus. One is shown in a standing position and the other placed in a rearing position with its head reaching high up toward the ceiling. During the Assemble a Sauropod project over 500 donors came together and along with two grants MOSI was able to purchase two Diplodocus casts!
Because the are so fantastically large, there are literally dozens of angles from which to view the Diplodocus. Great spots to see these skeletons are the Grand Lobby, 2nd floor balcony near Weather Quest, Grand Staircase, 2nd floor Lobby overlook and the 3rd floor balcony by Science Works Theater.

The Diplodocus have been known to wear the occasional Santa hat around the winter holidays. On their tiny heads an average person-sized Santa hat works quite nicely!

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