Hollow Bones in Long-Necked Dinosaurs Linked to Survival of the Species

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Research into the rapetosaurus, a long-necked dinosaur, has revealed new knowledge about its behaviour and living habits, particularly their survival in a harsh, drought-prone environment.

The existence of hollow bones in these dinosaurs is an anatomical revelation that sheds new light on their function, said Kristi Curry Rogers, lead author of a paper published in Tuesday's Nature Communications.

These insights may help solve one of the many mysteries surrounding the 50-foot long sauropod, an infraorder of saurischian or long-necked dinosaurs. The current understanding seems to be that the bones were used as reservoirs for vital minerals like calcium, which were needed to survive and reproduce.

dinosaur fossils

Rogers, an assistant professor in geology and biology at Macalester College in Minnesota, and her colleagues, investigated a riverbed in Madagascar where they found several osteoderms (bony deposits forming scales, plates or other structures in the dermal layers of the skin). These create unusual patterns like those on the backs of crocodiles or the body covering of an armadillo. The dinosaur in question was an herbivore, much like the brachiosaurus, and lived in the late Cretaceous period.

It should be noted that among sauropods, osteoderms are found in one globally distributed subgroup - the titanosauria.

"It's a theory at this point, but it's also a small contribution to the much larger dilemma that is just as relevant today as it was 65 million years ago," Rogers said, continuing, "This is the biggest osteoderm ever found for any backboned-animal. The fact that it's hollow debunks all sorts of ideas about how these dinosaur bones functioned in long-necked dinosaurs."

For more information related to dinosaurs, visit rareresource.com.


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