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Dicraeosaurus (Gr. δικραιος, dikraios "bifurcated, double-headed" + Gr. σαυρος, sauros "lizard") is a genus of small diplodocoid sauropod dinosaur. It was named for the spines on the back of the neck. The first fossil was described by paleontologist Werner Janensch in 1914.


File:Dicraeosaurus hansemanni22.jpg

Restoration of D. hansemanni

Unlike most diplodocoids, Dicraeosaurus had a large head with a relatively short and wide neck. The neck contained 12 unusually short vertebrae, so it could probably browse vegetation only from ground level to a height of about Template:Convert.[1] It also lacked the whiplash tail that other diplodocids had. It was smaller, at only reached Template:Convert in length. It gets its name, which means two-forked lizard, from the spines that came from the vertebrae. They were not straight as in some members of the family. Each one was “Y” shaped, like a fork. These spines also provided muscle attachment points.[2]


Dicraeosaurus lived in the Late Jurassic. It was herbivorous; however, it didn’t compete with other dinosaurs for vegetation. Fossils have been discovered in the rocks of Tendaguru Hill in Tanzania. The rocks also yield fossils of Giraffatitan and Kentrosaurus. As there was a distinct difference in size between these animals, they would probably have browsed for vegetation at different levels, allowing them to co-exist without significant competition.[2]


File:Dicraeosaurids BW.png

Dicreosaurids shown to scale

File:Dicreosaurus headDB.jpg

Restoration of the head

The following cladogram follows an analysis by Sereno et al. in 2007.[3] Template:Clade


  1. Template:Cite book
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite book
  3. Sereno PC, Wilson JA, Witmer LM, Whitlock JA, Maga A, et al. (2007) Structural Extremes in a Cretaceous Dinosaur. PLoS ONE 2(11): e1230.

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