The Diplodocidae were a family of Saurischian sauropod dinosaurs first named by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878 after fossils of the same were discovered by S.W. Williston the prior year. The name granted to the specimen derives from the double-beamed chevron bones distributed along the underside of its tail (the Greek terms “diplos”-double; “docos”=beam).

While initially believed to be unique to Diplodocus, subsequent discoveries revealed this finding to be manifest both amongst other of the Diplodocid family as well as among non-diplodocid sauropods.

Derived from the Upper Morrison Formation (Kimmeridgian and Tithonian stages), Diplodocus longus is one of the more common dinosaurs whose remains may be found in these deposits. Thought for years to be the longest dinosaur extant, and still the longest dinosaur known from a complete specimen, contemporary estimates indicate a weight of from 11-17.6 tons and a length of up to 35 meters (115 feet).

The tail of dipodocids was extremely long, comprised of nearly twice the number (80) of caudal vertebrae observed in earlier sauropods. The skull and braincase were quite small, however, particularly in comparison to the size of the animal, and the dentary (jaws) exhibited anteriorly-directed small, peg-like teeth.

Four species are currently recognized (D. longus; D. carnegii; D. hayi; and D. hallorum).

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