How to weigh a dinosaur

Largest and Smallest: Dinosaurs reached an amazing range in size through the Mesozoic era. Sincerely: Vittor Silva

How do you weigh a long extinct dinosaur? There are several ways, as it turns out, neither of which involves actual weight – but according to a new study, different approaches still yield similar results.

New research published today in the prestigious journal Biological review This included a review of dinosaur body mass estimation techniques performed for over a century.

The study Dr. Nicholas Campione says the findings should lead to some belief that scientists are drawing an accurate picture of these prehistoric animals, especially knowledge of more massive dinosaurs, which have no connection in the modern world.

“England’s size, especially body mass, determines almost all aspects of an animal’s life, including their diet, reproduction, and locomotion,” said Dr., a member of the University of New England’s PaleoScience Research Center. Campione said.

“If we know that we have a good estimate of the body mass of dinosaurs, then we have a strong foundation from which we can study and understand our lives retrospectively.”

Estimating the mass of the dinosaur as a symbol Tyramonosaurus rex is no small feat – it is a creature that breathed its last about 66 million years ago, and for the most part, only its bones remain today. This is a challenge that has taxed the simplicity of palaeobiologists for more than a century. Scientific estimates of the mass of all-time land predators vary from about three tons to 18 tons.

How to weigh a dinosaur

Compared to approaches, reconstructions of dinosaurs projected on the periphery for body mass scaling relations of living and mammals and reptiles. Sincerely: Dr. Nicholas Campion

Dr. The research team led by Campione, back in 1905, compiled and reviewed a comprehensive database of large-scale estimates of dinosaur bodies to assess whether different approaches to calculating dinosaur mass make science explicit or complex. Was doing.

Although several methods have been tried to estimate body mass, they all fall for two fundamental approaches. Scientists either measure and measure bones in living animals, such as the circumference of the hand (humerus) and foot (femur), and are compared to dinosaurs; Or they calculate the amount of three-dimensional reconstructions that can almost look like an animal in real life. Which method is better debated in the literature.

Researchers found that once methods of scaling and reconstruction are compared to en warts, most estimates agree. The obvious difference is the exception, not the rule.

“In fact, both approaches are more complementary than the adversary,” Dr. Campion said.

The bone scaling method, which relies on relationships obtained directly from living animals of known body mass, provides a measure of accuracy, but often of less precision, while reconstructions that consider the entire skeleton are accurate, but Provide unknown accuracy. The reason for this is that reconstructions depend on our own subjective views of what extinct animals look like, which have changed admirably over time.

How to weigh a dinosaur

At the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in 2009, with the cast of Tyrannosaurus rex, Dr. Nicholas Campion stood. Credit: David Evans

“There will always be uncertainty around our understanding of long-extinct animals, and their weight is always going to be a source of that,” Dr. Said David Evans, temporary president of Temibrate Paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. On new paper. “Our new study shows that we are bettering the weight of dinosaurs, and this paves the way for more realistic dinosaur body mass estimates in the future.”

Researchers recommend that future work seek to estimate the size of Mesozoic dinosaurs and other extinct animals to better integrate approaches to scaling and reconstruction to reclaim their benefits.

Campione and Evans suggest that an adult T. The Rex will weigh about seven tons – an estimate similar to the reconstruction and scaling of the limb bone. But research emphasizes the importance of the inaccuracy of such single values ​​and the inclusion of uncertainty in large-scale estimates, not least because dinosaurs, like humans, did not come in a neat package. Such uncertainty suggests an average minimum weight of five tons for a ‘king’ of dinosaurs and a maximum average weight of 10 tons.

“It is only through the combined use of these methods and understanding their limitations and uncertainties that we can begin to reveal the lives of these, and other, long-extinct animals,” Dr. Campione said.

Key to unique bone structure of dinosaurs for lifting weights

more information:
Campione, NE and Evans, DC 2020. Accuracy and precision of body mass estimation in non-avian dinosaurs. Biological review. DOI: 10.1111 / brv.12638

Provided by the University of New England

Quotes: How to weigh dinosaurs (2020, 31 August) Retrieved 1 September 2020 from

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