Sauropod Fossils

Part of Orientation Center.

Three extremely large vertebrae are displayed side-by-side on a shelf against a printed backdrop depicting the Museum's actual bone storage shelves. Never-before-displayed Sauropod fossils.
© AMNH/D. Finnin

These sauropod specimens are drawn from the Museum's extensive paleontology collection and include dozens of fossil bones, along with elements of the very first dinosaur fossil collected by the Museum more than a century ago. Most of these fossils are from the Museum’s legendary Big Bone Room, where fossils of sauropods and other large dinosaurs are stored on open shelving.

The earliest fossil find on display—an incomplete skeleton of the long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur Diplodocus longus—was unearthed by legendary Museum dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown along with Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1897 at Como Bluff, Wyoming.

Barnum Brown wears a hat, holds a pick-axe, and kneels next to large fossilized bones; Henry Osborn, hat in hand, sits nearby.
Barnum Brown and Henry Fairfield Osborn sit beside partially excavated Diplodocus fossils.
© AMNH Library 17808

Brown, then 24 and at the start of his career, was on an expedition in search of ancient mammals, but his discovery launched the Museum’s dinosaur collection. Since then, the Museum has sent paleontologists to every continent in search of traces of ancient life, continuing to build this invaluable fossil library. Museum scientists also use the latest technology to ask fresh questions of cataloged specimens.

Three Museum staff members surround extremely large fossilized vertebrae and prepare to use a hydraulic life to move them onto a display shelf.
Museum staff install sauropod fossils for exhibition.
© AMNH/D. Finnin

In addition to the Diplodocus longus pelvis and femur, fossils on view include over 30 sauropod vertebrae, representing several different species from the late Jurassic period (about 150 million years ago) and from several parts of the body, including neck, back, and tail; and a neck and skull from a juvenile Kaatedocus siberi