Possibly the largest sauropod species to ever exist, at least that has been found so far. At an estimated 198 feet long and 135 tons, it is by far the longest vertebrate animal to have ever been found. If the size estimates are correct, and they seem most likely to be. Based on notes and detailed measurements, this would make Amphicoelias the largest land animal species to have ever lived, as well as the largest vertebrate.
The holotype species Amphicoelias Altus was named by Edward Drinker Cope in 1877, though not published until 1878. The find consisted of a pubis (hip bone), two vertebrae, and a femur (upper leg bone). In the same paper, Cope named another species Latus but all other researchers since have considered the two to be the same species.
In 1921 Osborn and Mook assigned more bones to A. Altus. These included a scapula (Shoulder blade), a coracoid (shoulder bone), a tooth, and an ulna (lower arm bone). Osborn and Mook went on to note the many similarities and several differences between Amphicoelias and Diplodocus. It is likely that Amphicoelias is the fully mature form of Diplodocus and therefore the title Amphicoelias may one day replace Diplodocus if they are truly one in the same species.
A third "species" known as A. Fragillimus was also discovered by Oramel Lucas, a young fossil collector who Cope hired in 1877. It consisted of an enormous single vertebrae with neural arch that measured 8.8 feet tall, and a large femur estimated to have been between 12-15 feet tall. The bones were discovered in Garden Park, near Canon City, Colorado. These bones have since been lost so only notes and sketches remain. It is believed by some the bones were discarded since they were in a poor state and were crumbling into pieces.
*Amphicoelias with a adult human.
The size of Amphicoelias has been met with skepticism by some, which while understandable, does not seem to hold up to the actual data. Firstly, Cope's reputation as a tactful researcher was at stake, as well as his reputation as an honest man (something not always considered important in this day and age sadly). The discovery was made during the 20 year period of mud slinging known as the "Bone Wars" in which Edward Drinker Cope and his rival Othniel Charles Marsh were constantly attempting to humiliate, defund, or ridicule each other. However even Cope's bitter rival Marsh accepted the measurements and size of Amphicoelias openly. Marsh was even known to have employed spies to check on Cope's work and report back, so Marsh may well have confirmed the reality of the size of Cope's findings himself in this manner as well.
Amphicoelias is a Diplodocid Sauropod meaning that it had an extremely long neck with a small head, and an extremely long and whip-like tail and had a predominantly horizontal posture as opposed to other Families such as Brachiosaurids who had a much more vertical posture with shorter tails in relation to neck length as well as forelimbs and hind limbs of very different lengths.
Some people ask how such a large animal could have eaten enough food to stay alive, and part of the problem with this issue is based on the Evolutionary beliefs of history. Evolutionary history states that grass and indeed many other plants such as flowers, and therefore fruit, were not around during the time of the Dinosaurs (at least many species) because they had simply not evolved yet. However, Biblical history professes that all basic Kinds of organisms have been on earth since the very first week of life (Creation week). If all types of vegetation were around while these animals were alive they would have had a much easier time acquiring the needed nutrition for such massive bodies. Combine this with the fact that Dinosaurs were ectothermic (cold blooded) reptiles, they would have had to acquire much less food than a warm blooded animal like a mammal or bird, since ectothermic animals often have slower metabolisms.
It has also been pointed out that large size in herbivorous animals tends to mean greater efficiency at digestion since large herbivores have long digestive tracts, meaning that food will stay in the tract longer and broken down more thoroughly. It has also been suggested that when Sauropods ate, they only moved their neck and head from plant to plant for much of the time, instead of their entire body, thereby expending much less energy by simply standing near a body of vegetation and moving along when finished.
It is unknown how much an Amphicoelias would have to eat each day but it would have had to have been a several tons of vegetation per fully grown animal. And considering that these animals (possibly fully mature Diplodocus) may have traveled in groups, they would have to move around a lot to keep from completely stripping an area of vegetation, especially since even though it was the largest land animal ever, it could not reach as high as some Brachiosaurs such as Sauroposeidon. This is because Diplodocids probably could not raise their head and necks as high off the ground. Some people think they could not raise even as high as their backs. But this seems to be a silly limit and cannot be dogmatically defended without observation of a living animal.
Evolutionary dating has placed Amphicoelias at 150 million years ago in the Late Jurassic period. However Biblical Creation believers do not accept such erroneous dates due to the highly speculative nature of the dates and methods used to arrive at them, as well as the fact that many Christians subscribe to the Genesis Account of the Bible as the foundation of origins for all life forms on Earth.
How can Christians view such an amazing animal said to be a trophy of Evolution? The same as any other animal, as one of God's creatures which He made with a wonderful and highly sophisticated design during Creation week. This means that Dinosaurs and their kin lived alongside the other animals throughout history, and even with humans. In fact, since Dinosaurs are land animals, they would have been made on the same day as Adam.
If God really did make these creatures we would expect them to be mentioned in Scripture, and they are, but not as Dinosaurs since the word Dinosaur wasn't invented until the 19th century. The Bible does however mention these animals as Dragons, reptiles of many different shapes and sizes, some enormous such as Sauropods. In fact one of the most detailed descriptions of an animal in the Bible is of an type of animal called Behemoth, an enormous reptilian animal that is vegetarian, spends much of it's time in or near water, and is the largest type of animal God ever made. This sounds to be a perfect fit for Amphicoelias.
Some Biblical scholars and literature say that the Behemoth in the book of Job may be an Elephant or a Hippopotamus. However, these identifications do not fit the description of the animal known as Behemoth due to several versus being interpreted in light of ALL animals, not just one's well known today and observed alive frequently. The problem of old ages and certain animals has eliminated the possibility of many animals being included in the running for the identity of some animals in ancient texts, yet this view is in serious error.Th Bible states that God created all animals on days 5 or 6 of Creation, this includes Dinosaurs and other animals that many people teach have been extinct for millions of years before humans came into being. Yet the Behemoth mentioned in the book of Job clearly states that Behemoth was not only a vegetarian, but it was the biggest animal God ever made. It also seems to have been a reptilian animal base on the description.
The Behemoth is said to be the biggest animal God himself ever made, has a large belly, bones likened to metal tubes and beams, a long tail of similar shape and size as a (mature)Cedar tree, lives in or near the fens (swamps) and spends a lot of time in or near the water of the swamps. It can drink an enormous amount of water. It is said to eat grass like an ox. Many have long said the Behemoth was a Hippo or an Elephant since they were long considered the biggest creatures humans ever saw, but this is due to the Evolutionary paradigm seeping in to even the most conservative Christians theology, causing many animals to be left out of the running that are said by Evolutionists to have died out "millions of years ago" before humans ever existed. But Elephants and Hippos do not have large tails like a giant Cedar, nor are they the biggest animals to ever live. Just as well, the bones of hippos and elephants are not nearly as large or tough as the bones of giant Sauropods, Elephant bones are readily crushed and consumed by Hyenas. It should also be noted that African elephants (the variant used to attempt to ID Behemoth by some) spend most of their time on the savannah and not swamps or rivers. An increasing number Christians are accepting that the Behemoth was a giant Sauropod Dinosaur since Sauropods like Amphicoelias were by far the largest animals God ever made.
15:Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. 16Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
17:He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
18:His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
19:He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
20:Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
21:He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
22:The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
23:Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that .
24:He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.he can draw up Jordan into his mouth
RED: Amphicoelias Fragillimus
GREY: Bruhathkayosaurus Matleyi
LITTLE BLUE GUY: Human
Certainly one of the most famous Dinosaurs in modern times, Diplodocus is a familiar sight to anyone who has frequented Dinosaur media since their childhood. It is one of the most intriguing and distinct Kinds of Dinosaur with not only it's large size, but a slender and graceful build and that unmistakeable whip-like tail.
The first fossil remains of this creature were discovered in 1877 in Colorado and was given it's name due to the double beamed chevron bones on the underside of it's tail. It's name translates as "Double Beam Lizard". Since it's discovery many more fossil remains have been discovered and examined leading to Diplodocus being one of the most well known fossil dinosaurs with many skeletons having only the skull missing. In fact Diplodocus is one of the most common fossils in the Morrison Formation and were apparently buried along with other Sauropods such as Camarosaurus, Barosaurus, Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus. It seems that these animals congregated in large herds in their attempts to escape the Flood as the waters rose and encompased the planet surface.
Diplodocus fossils are dated by Evolutionary means to the Late Jurassic period 154-150 million years ago, though Biblical Creationists do not allow for such ancient dates. This is because Creationists do not subscribe to the methods used to date strata layers or those used to date fossils, not because Creationists are "science deniers" as is often claimed.
Diplodocus is easily recognizeable due to it's size and shape, being 115 feet long, 20 of which was it's neck, with weight estimates between 11-17.6 tons. It had distinctive peg-like teeth in the anterior of the jaws that pointed forward that would have been used to rake plant matter off of branches and twigs into it's mouth. The skull itself was small, as was the braincase, and sat at the end of the long horizontal neck comprised of 15 vertebrae. It's tail was comprised of 80 vertebrae, nearly twice as many as many other Sauropods leading to speculation as to the purpose of such a design. Some have suggested it was used to counterbalance the neck, and it may well have, but many have speculated if it was used for defense, being slung like a whip at would-be predators, though it is unclear it this was actually done since there is no physical evidence for it. One other unusual feature of Diplodocus was it's manus aka front feet. The toe bone were arranged in vertical columns in a horseshoe shape at cross section and had only one claw on each foot that was abnormally large and whose function is still not known.
Since it's discovery, 4 species, more likely subspecies, have been named, one is now named Diplodocus Hallorum which was formerly named Seismosaurus and considered a different species. This type of reclassification has become more prominent in recent years due to increased finds and has led many dinosaurs to be reclassified as specimens of formerly known species.
As with most other Sauropods, they ahve been protrayed as being totally terrestrial since the 1970's based on the theory that the water pressure would have been too great on their bodies to breathe while submerged, though this theory is largely unsupported and most likely wrong since msot large reptiles and other animals frequent water and often stay submerged without any problems. In fact many reports throughout history of creatures sounding like Sauropods are reported in or near water explicitly supporting the aquatic lifestyle notion.
The posture of Diplodocus has also undergone it's own form of evolution having been originally portrayed as having splayed out legs like a lizard and holding it's neck high in the air. It is now known that Diplodocus had erect pillar-like legs and held their necks predominantly horizontal, as well as their tails which likely did nto drag except in certain circumstances where topography dictated. It is also now thought that They were unable to hold their heads far above the horizontal position based on the anatomy and physiology of the neck vertebrae.
Being a Sauropod, Diplodocus was a strict vegetarian with all the telltale design of an animal that consumed large amounts of plant matter. It is now thought that Sauropods stayed standing in one place while feeding and would move their neacks and heads from one plant to the next to feed before moving to another place, this would drastically reduce the energy needed and expended. Such conservation of energy is also a telltale sign of cold blooded animals such as reptiles. As with many other giant animals, Diplodocus owes a lot of it's size to it's diet since it takes much less plant matter to nourish and sustain an organism than than it takes animal matter.
As with other reptiles, Diplodocus grew and matured at a fast rate. It is believed that Diplodocus reached sexual maturity in a decade and displayed indeterminant growth, meaning it never stopped growing, another aspect of reptiles. It is known that they layed eggs but it is unclear as to how they made nests however.
Diplodocus is certainly a famous and well known Dinosaur and it is often heralded as evidence of Evolution when in fact it is no such thing. Diplodocus is a well designed animal with no evidence of evolution in it's natural history. It was designed to fill an ecological niche just like all other organisms. To the Biblical Creationist Diplodocus is just one of many marvelous creatures created by the loving God of the Bible and is no more evidence of Darwinian Evolution than anything else. It is just one more testament to the intelligent and loving Creator who made the plants animals and people we see today, and their fossils should remind us all of the judgement passed on mankind in the past that will occur once more.