Lighter Dinosaurs Could Have Been 75% Lighter
A team of international scientists have discovered that dinosaurs were actually much lighter in weight that previously though. Some of which weighed less than half of what was first estimated.
Lighter Dinosaurs Calculated with Laser Technology
Biologists at the University of Manchester in England together with U.S scientists have developed a new technique and mathematical formula to accurately measure the weight and size of dinosaurs by using laser technology to calculate their body mass.
Through this new method it has been discovered that the giant Brachiosaurus, which lived in the late Jurassic period about 200 million years ago and was originally estimated to weigh up to 80 tons, would have actually only have weighed 23 tons making it 75% lighter than previously thought.
Lighter Dinosaurs Discovery Was Surprisingly Difficult
Lead author Dr Bill Sellers who is based in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Science said that finding out about the lighter dinosaurs weight and body mass was was surprisingly difficult yet it was one of the most important things that palaeontologists needed to know.
In the past palaeontologists didn’t have the technology that is available today so the way dinosaurs were depicted and described (as slow lumbering giant lizards) was very much subjective and the weights of each dinosaur was grossly overestimated.
Previous Methods of Dinosaur Depiction
One previous method of measuring dinosaur mass was based on artistic interpretation – A reconstructed sculpture of the dinosaur would have been made and then dipped into water to measure the volume. Then the volume would have been multiplied by the density resulting in the mass. However the problem with this method was the artist’s reconstruction, which would vary slightly in form from person-to-person making it rather inaccurate so it was decided to try and find a new method of calculation that wasn’t based on estimating soft tissues.
Lighter Dinosaurs: Animals Have 21% More Body Mass than Expected
Dr Bill Sellers study, which was published in the journal Biology Letters, explained how the biologists used 14 modern-day mammal skeletons (the mammal being the closest model to the dinosaur, similar in the way that they stand and move) to measure the minimum amount of skin needed to cover a skeleton through laser scanning each one. From this investigation they discovered that reindeer, giraffes, elephants as well as polar bears had almost exactly 21% more body mass than the minimum skeletal skin and bone wrap volume required.
When they applied this technique to a Brachiosaur (Giraffatitan brancai) skeleton in the Berlin museum of Natural History, Germany, by calculating the skin and bone wrapping volume and then adding 21% it was discovered that this equates to this dinosaur having weighed 23 tons when alive supporting the view that these prehistoric animals were much lighter than previously thought.
The Importance of the Lighter Dinosaurs Discovery
This new technique can now be applied to other dinosaurs as well as other extinct animals where there is a whole skeleton to analyze. This allows palaeontologists to get a better understanding of the extinct creatures that once roamed our land and to get a more accurate reading of their weight.
Though not all dinosaurs are expected to weigh as much as 75% less they are going to be lighter than in previous estimates, meaning the traditionally portrayed dinosaurs, ferocious in looks and a gigantic heavy lumbering beast with thundering footsteps will need to be updated to portray much lighter dinosaurs.