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Why did dinosaurs grow to such a large size?


Posted on Sunday, 27 October, 2013 | Comment icon 33 comments

Some sauropod dinosaurs weighed upwards of 30 tons. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Gerhard Boeggemann
The key to explaining why some dinosaurs were so big may lie in the structure of their bones and joints.
Scientists have long pondered over what made it possible for some dinosaurs to grow to immense sizes and why land-based mammals have never been able to do the same. Some sauropod dinosaurs weighed up to 30 tons, far heavier than the largest land mammals.

New research has suggested that the key may lie in differences between the bones and joints of large mammals and large dinosaurs. Researcher Matthew Bonnan and colleagues investigated and compared the joints of large land mammals, dinosaurs and their modern-day descendants, birds.

What they found was that as size increases, the bones of mammals become rounded at the ends and the cartilage is stretched thin across the joint. By comparison, in larger dinosaurs the bones appeared to grow wider and flatter at the ends and the cartilage appeared to develop multiple layers.

It is thought that this difference would have been a major contributing factor in making it possible for dinosaurs to grow to a much larger size than their mammalian counterparts.

Source: Fox News | Comments (33)

Tags: Dinosaurs


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by Emeraldgemheart on 29 October, 2013, 14:06
Maybe they got big because... That's how they were made?
Comment icon #25 Posted by ~C.S.M~ on 29 October, 2013, 16:22
Honestly I dont know, dont think there is on reason above all, but combination of factors that created the mega fauna. But is there a remote chance that the flora of the Mesozoic had fewer nutrients than the ones before and after that time period? that means herbivores had to eat more vegetables to get the necessary nutrients, that means they needed bigger belly's to process all the green food they could eat. Meat eaters evolved then either in size to cope with these large creatures or in cooperative ways (flocks).
Comment icon #26 Posted by SameerPrehistorica on 30 October, 2013, 17:47
Actually this is a old news.I read this same news before many days.
Comment icon #27 Posted by spud the mackem on 30 October, 2013, 22:57
These Dino's grew huge because there was no Human predators around to turn them into Burghers and Sausages. I think all the talk here about Gravity being less dense is total fubar but that's only my opinion.If anything the Earth has got a few million tons heavier since them days due to all the space dust, debris,meteorites and such hitting us every day an night.
Comment icon #28 Posted by ~C.S.M~ on 31 October, 2013, 8:43
And what about the age before the dinos? ;-) In my opinion the reason is more complex than just oxygen levels gravity and orbital ice sheets. IMO the alimentation plays a role, maybe minor maybe major I cant say.
Comment icon #29 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 1 November, 2013, 15:51
Tot it was bcos super high levels of oxygen made them giganto..?
Comment icon #30 Posted by Calibeliever on 1 November, 2013, 15:58
I have heard this theory relating to insects.
Comment icon #31 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 1 November, 2013, 18:03
Not just insects. Practically every living thing was huge during the jurassic dayz. Our earth had a very high concentration of oxygen that time n it was this that made animals big... Think thats y some stars (eg.micheal jackson...) sleep in oxygen tanks. Hoping they be nephilim the nex day...
Comment icon #32 Posted by KhanDoShijt Sensi on 2 November, 2013, 20:39
I dont know, but the Carboniferous period was the time with the largest oxygen level ever seen. And the fauna (beside insects) didnt grow large. No gigantism. But if we consider the flora in the Triassic all the way through the Jura had a low level of nutrient, and we take in consideration the skeletal structure of the dinosaurs compared to the predecessors (archosaurs) we can put two and two together and maybe get a plausible explanation.


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