More than any other sauropod dinosaur group, the long-necked herbivores belonging to Diplodocoidea have been defined by their skulls. Their unique skull shape, which is extremely elongate antorbitally, with a transversely broad, square snout packed at its anterior extreme with narrow-crowned, pencil-like teeth, has served as a touchstone for describing the biology of these animals ever since the discovery of the first skull in the late 19th century. In particular, the unusual diplodocoid skull has been discussed frequently in the context of examining feeding behavior, spawning hypotheses ranging from branch stripping, propalinal shearing, and aquatic plant ‘grazing.’ Here, we describe a juvenile skull of Diplodocus (Carnegie Museum 11255) that does not share the unusually blunted snout and anteriorly sequestered teeth seen in adult specimens, suggesting that adults and juveniles may have differed greatly in their feeding behavior, an ontogenetic distinction that may be unique among sauropodomorphs.
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Vol. 30 • No. 2