A Scientist Who Studies The Fossils Of Plants And Animals Sauropod Dinosaurs With Their Heads Held High – The Debate Continues

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Sauropod Dinosaurs With Their Heads Held High – The Debate Continues

New report on sauropod posture

Sauropods, or to give them their correct taxonomic classification – Sauropoda, were long-necked, elephant-like plant-eaters, part of the Saurischia (fungi) group of Dinosaurs (dinosaurs). These animals are known as the largest land animals of all time, with some of these creatures such as Brachiosaurus and Titanosaurus, Paralititan reaching lengths in excess of twenty-five meters and possibly weighing more than fifty metric tons. They are the largest land-dwelling vertebrates of all time.

The debate about how these animals held their necks

How these large creatures carried their long necks has been the subject of much debate among paleontologists. In the past, it was believed that these animals were able to hold their necks quite high, almost vertically in what has been described as the “swan neck” position, but now most scientists are convinced of this point of view. Indeed, this interpretation of Sauropod fossil bones is very unfavorable, along with the view that these animals were so large that they had to live in water to support their enormous weight.

The most traditional appearance of sauropods

The sight of these large creatures living in swamps and lakes so that the water could help support their weight has largely been discredited, but the debate over how these animals used their necks continues. A study has just been published in the scientific and academic journal Biology Letters that examines the effect that the position of a dinosaur’s head has in relation to its heart and the implications for blood pressure.

Crocodiles provide evidence

Extant reptiles such as crocodiles and lizards have a very different anatomical structure from that of dinosaurs. Living reptiles standing in their natural posture have their heads practically level with their hearts. They can hold their heads up, of course, but no living reptile possesses the incredibly long neck or stance of a Sauropod like Brachiosaurus. The hearts of modern reptiles are different in design from the human heart. They cannot separate pulmonary blood (blood to and from the lungs) and systemic blood (blood that circulates around the rest of the body), they do not have a fully divided, chambered heart. Most dinosaurs, from the smallest theropods like Compsognathus to the huge brachiosaurs, carried their heads above their hearts. This implies that their hearts were completely separated ensuring that there would be enough blood pressure to pump blood to their elevated heads.

Australian scientists explore the dinosaur

This new study, led by Dr Roger Seymour, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Adelaide, shows that a dinosaur’s head would have been so far above its heart that lifting the head and neck would have caused the pressure to increase of blood – at potentially fatal levels. . This team argues that in the case of sauropods, for example, these large herbivores would not have fed on the branches of tall trees, but would have grazed like cows, keeping their heads and necks closer to the ground. Scientists found that the physical effort involved in raising such long necks, some of which could be over fifteen meters long, would have used almost fifty percent of the energy derived from a Sauropod’s diet just to circulate the blood .

Commenting on his study, Dr Seymour stated that the long, large necks of the giant Sauropod dinosaurs are generally assumed to have been used for browsing to help these large creatures obtain food. However, from an anatomical point of view is a high neck posture possible?

The scientists estimated the energy required by comparing the dinosaurs’ metabolic rate, blood flow and blood pressure. The research team concluded that their studies showed that a large, plant-eating sauropod would have had to expend half of its intake energy just to circulate the blood necessary to pump the volumes of blood up to the brain along the vertical neck. . Blood pressure would have to be very high in these reptiles.

In their conclusions, the team linked the results to the lifestyle and possible feeding habits of Sauropods. Instead of browsing the treetops, they comment that most would have fed lower on the ground, feeding on plants closer to the ground rather than from the treetops. The team concludes that most sauropods may not have raised their heads much higher than their shoulders.

Sir Richard Owen explored the Anatomy of Dinosaurs

This article contributes to the debate on the structure of dinosaur hearts and the resulting implications for metabolic rate and endothermic applications. Sir Richard Owen commented on the fact that dinosaurs may have led “more vigorous lives” than extant reptiles in 1841. He concluded that they must have had a completely separate heart like mammals and birds and hinted at the possibility that dinosaurs may have be warm-blooded with a high metabolic rate.

Sir Richard Owen said of Dinosauria being better adapted to a more upright terrestrial posture, it is likely that their hearts were more complex than those of modern reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes and lizards. Sir Richard, though writing in the 19th century, was convinced that dinosaur hearts resembled those of endothermic, highly active creatures such as mammals and birds. Over one hundred and seventy years later, most scientists agree with these conclusions. Dinosaurs were active animals and most of them were probably warm-blooded.

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