Dinosaurs much lighter than previously thought
Washington: Scientists have developed a new technique to accurately measure the weight and size of dinosaurs and discovered they are not as heavy as previously thought.
University of Manchester biologists used lasers to measure the minimum amount of skin required to wrap around the skeletons of modern-day mammals, including reindeer, polar bears, giraffes and elephants.
They discovered that the animals had almost exactly 21 percent more body mass than the minimum skeletal ‘skin and bone’ wrap volume, and applied this to a giant Brachiosaur skeleton in Berlin’s Museum fur Naturkunde.
Previous estimates of this Brachiosaur’s weight have varied, with estimates as high as 80 tonnes, but the Manchester team’s calculations reduced that figure to just 23 tonnes. The team says the new technique will apply to all dinosaur weight measurements.
“One of the most important things palaeobiologists need to know about fossilised animals is how much they weighed. This is surprisingly difficult, so we have been testing a new approach. We laser scanned various large mammal skeletons, including polar bear, giraffe and elephant, and calculated the minimum wrapping volume of the main skeletal sections,” said lead author Dr Bill Sellers.
“We showed that the actual volume is reliably 21percent more than this value, so we then laser scanned the Berlin Brachiosaur, Giraffatitan brancai, calculating the skin and bone wrapping volume and added 21percent. We found that the giant herbivore weighed 23 tonnes, supporting the view that these animals were much lighter than traditionally thought,” he added.
Dr Sellers, based in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, explained that body mass was a critical parameter used to constrain biomechanical and physiological traits of organisms.
“Volumetric methods are becoming more common as techniques for estimating the body masses of fossil vertebrates but they are often accused of excessive subjective input when estimating the thickness of missing soft tissue,” he said.
“Here, we demonstrate an alternative approach where a minimum convex hull is derived mathematically from the point cloud generated by laser-scanning mounted skeletons. This has the advantage of requiring minimal user intervention and is therefore more objective and far quicker.
“We tested this method on 14 large-bodied mammalian skeletons and demonstrated that it consistently underestimated body mass by 21percent. We suggest that this is a robust method of estimating body mass where a mounted skeletal reconstruction is available and demonstrate its usage to predict the body mass of one of the largest, relatively complete sauropod dinosaurs, Giraffatitan brancai, as 23,200 kg.
“The value we got for Giraffatitan is at the low range of previous estimates; although it is still huge, some of the enormous estimates of the past – 80 tonnes in 1962 – are exaggerated. Our method provides a much more accurate measure and shows dinosaurs, while still huge, are not as big as previously thought,” he added.
The study was published in the journal Biology Letters.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Heat ave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- Kenyan lawyer offers to marry Barack Obama's daughter Malia
- AIB: The 'Third Gender's right to dignity'
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya fire
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Death toll climbs to over 1400 as intense heatwave continues in India