Diplodocus carnegii. Wyoming, USA. Cast. 150 million years.
The Diplodocus skeleton is the biggest exhibit at NHM, and was one of the first almost complete skeletons of the large dinosaurs to be discovered.
The sauropods were the largest land animals in the Earth’s history. From the late Triassic, over 220 million years ago, these giants expanded to all the continents. Extremely long necks and tails, tiny skulls and massive bodies where characteristic of these herbivores. At almost 30 meters, Diplodocus was the longest of these giants.
Diplodocus carnegii got its name from the industrial tycoon Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). The American billionaire used his wealth to establish libraries and support scientific projects. He financed the excavation of the dinosaur that was to be named after him, and the assembly of the skeleton in Pittsburgh. In his enthusiasm over the massive size of the Diplodocus, he had ten copies made and donated them to the most important museums in the world at that time. The note in the inventory of the Vienna Natural History Museum says, “Diplodocus carnegii, presented to His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty by Dr. Andrew Carnegie, 1909.”
An extremely popular family, the dinosaurs are a constant subject of scientific research, and their presentation is constantly changing to keep pace with new scientific information. For example, Diplodocus was previously reconstructed with a neck curving up, while today the prevailing opinion is that the neck was mostly kept straight. A relatively new finding is that its back was protected with a row of narrow, pointed horny spines.