The untold story of the Carnegie Diplodocus

9th September 2023

Mike Taylor, Matt Lamanna2, Ilja Nieuwland3, Amy Henrici2, Linsly Church2, Steve Sroka4, and Ken Carpenter5

1University of Bristol
2Carnegie Museum of Natural History
3Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
4Utah Field House of Natural History
5University of Colorado Museum

The sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus is best known from the iconic Carnegie specimen, casts of which were sent around the world in the early 1900s. The original skeleton was mounted in 1907, but its composition was complex: it contained real bone from four individuals, with casts and sculptures from six further specimens — some of which were from distantly related camarsaurids. Cast/sculpted material includes the skull, forelimbs and forefeet. Published estimates of the skeleton's length have varied wildly: new measurements establish it at 26.1m. In 1957, a last cast was made, in concrete, by the Utah Field House in Vernal, Utah. It stood outside the museum for three decades. The molds, weighing three tons, were shipped to Rocky Rount, North Carolina, with the intention of casting another outdoor Diplodocus, but work eventually ground to a halt. The molds were probably lost or destroyed around 1965. However, in 1989, new moulds were made from the concrete cast. Second-generation casts have been made from these, and now inhabit Japan, Canada and several locations in Florida, as well as Vernal. Elements cast from these new moulds have also been incorporated into other mounts, such as the iconic rearing Barosaurus in the AMNH atrium.

[Slides PPT] [Slides PDF] [Abstracts volume].

Feedback to <> is welcome!