Nation World News – Sauropods are known as one of the largest dinosaurs to have ever lived on the planet. However, there are many mysteries that remain a question for many, one of which is how can they support their enormous body weight?
Now scientists have solved this puzzle. They discovered how sauropod dinosaurs such as Brontosaurus and Diplodocus were able to support their massive bodies on the ground.
In this study, a team led by the University of Queensland and Monash University used 3D modeling and engineering methods to digitally reconstruct and test the function of the leg bones of various sauropods.
derive from science daily, Tuesday (16/8/2022) Dr. Andreas Janel, one of the researchers in the study, found that the hind legs of sauropods had soft tissue cushions under the heels. Foot pads were used to absorb their heavy weight.
“We have finally confirmed a long-held idea and for the first time we are providing biomechanical evidence that soft tissue cushioning, particularly in their hind legs, plays a key role in reducing bone tension, Janelle explains.
“It’s amazing to imagine that these huge creatures are able to support their own weight on the ground,” he said again.
The Mystery of the Dinosaurs That Supported Its Massive Body
Sauropods were the largest land animals to have roamed the earth for over 100 million years. So, how did dinosaurs support their massive bodies?
They were thought to be the first semi-aquatic creatures, with the buoyancy of the water supporting the enormous weight of their bodies.
However, this theory was later disproved by the discovery of traces of sauropods in terrestrial deposits in the mid-twentieth century.
Meanwhile, Dr Olga Panagiotopoulou of Monash University said sauropods are believed to have legs similar to those of modern elephants.
“Popular culture often depicts these giants as elephants with almost cylindrical, thick legs,” Panagiotopoulou said.
However, when it comes to the structure of their skeleton, elephants have ‘toes’ on all four feet. As for sauropods, these giant dinosaurs had distinct foot configurations between the legs and the hind legs.
The forelimbs of this giant dinosaur looked more like pillars and were more cushioned on the back supported by large soft tissue cushions.
This difference occurs because sauropods and elephants have different evolutionary origins.
Elephants belong to an ancient order of mammals called proboscidians that appeared in Africa about 60 million years ago as small, inconspicuous herbivores.
In contrast, sauropods, whose ancestors first appeared 230 million years ago, are more closely related to birds.
“They (sauropods) were agile bipedal herbivores (dinosaurs) and later in their evolution they walked on four legs. Most importantly, the transition to become the largest land animal on Earth involved a heel-padding adaptation,” says Stace. Salisbury said of the University of Queensland.
The researchers now plan to use 3D modeling and engineering methods to explore further.
“I wanted to apply a similar model to all organs and to ensure that soft tissues such as muscles are rarely preserved in fossils,” Janel said.
Researchers are also excited to study the limbs and feet of other prehistoric animals.
The study will enable them to answer various questions about the biomechanics of extinct animals and to better understand their environmental adaptations, movements and lifestyles.
A study of how the giant dinosaur supported its body is published in the journal science advance.
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