Dicraeosaurus ("double-headed lizard or double-forked lizard") is a genus of small diplodocoid sauropod dinosaur. There are two known species; Dicraeosaurus hansemanni and Dicraeosaurus sattleri. It was named for the spines on the back of the neck. The first fossil was described by paleontologist Werner Janensch in 1914.
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 3 metres (9.8 ft). It also lacked the whiplash tail that other diplodocids had. It was smaller, at only reached 12 metres (39 ft) 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. Dicraeosaurus is pronounced Die-cray-oh-sore-us.
Dicraeosaurus`s family, Dicraeosauridae, is named after itself. The family also features more known dinosaurs such as Amargasaurus. Dicraeosaurus was small for a sauropod, as it was only about 39 feet in length, although it was still larger than Amargasaurus, which was only 33 feet long.
Dicraeosaurus lived in the Late Jurassic, 155 million years ago. 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.
The Land Before Time
A Dicraeosaurus appears during Littlefoot's sleep story in The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration. Due to the fact that it is seen in a sleep story, the Dicraeosaurus is strangely seen floating over the ground.