If you love dinosaurs, you’re bound to be familiar with one of the world’s most famous sauropods, diplodocus. Alive during the late Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago, it was a huge plant-eater, and is one of the best-understood dinos thanks to the huge number of fossils that have been found.
Of course, you can understand more about many of your favourite dinosaurs – from triceratops to T-rex – at Dinosaur World Live, a fantastic stage show featuring stunning puppetry that’s aimed at kids aged three years and up. It’s one of the best things to do in Cardiff this summer, so don’t miss out.
But in the meantime, let’s take a look at some facts about diplodocus that you might not know.
Unlike the brachiosaurus, which lived at the same time, diplodocus’ front legs were shorter than its back legs. Some palaeontologists think this indicates that diplodocus preferred to eat the leaves of bushes and low lying shrubs as opposed to the vegetation of tall trees.
Us humans have a total of 33 vertebrae from the top of our neck to the tip of our tail bone. But diplodocus was so long that it had over 100 of these small bones just in its neck and tail. The neck had 15 elongated vertebrae, while the tail had 80 much shorter ones, which made it hugely flexible.
Diplodocus may have been among the largest dinosaurs to have lived, but its brain was really small. This plant munching beast weighed in at 25 to 30 tons, but its brain weighed a mere 0.1kg – which is about the same weight as a tennis ball. This suggests it wasn’t the brightest dinosaur around.
Adult diplodocuses were so large that even the most aggressive predators of the time wouldn’t brave an attack on one. Instead, meat-eaters are most likely to have preyed on eggs and young diplodocuses, as they would have made much easier meals.
Diplodocuses went from babies of around one metre in length to adults of up to 30 metres long in only ten years. That’s an awful lot of growing in a short amount of time! They’re thought to have spent their early years in the dense forests, which provided plenty of cover to hide from predators.
Diplodocus had small, peg-like teeth that were positioned at the front of its mouth. That means it couldn’t chew its food, so would’ve had to swallow any stones that it picked up with each mouthful. Its diet was so rough that diplodocus’ teeth were replaced about once a month.
The way diplodocus used its tail is still under debate by scientists, but it’s thought the sauropod may have sometimes used its tail as a tripod, to help it stand on two legs and rear up to reach food that was higher up.
If you’re looking for activities in Cardiff this summer, don’t miss the chance to discover some of your favourite dinosaur friends at Dinosaur World Live, one of the most roarsome Cardiff attractions around!