How Did the Largest Dinosaurs Grow Such Long Necks?
by Charles Choi
How did the largest of all dinosaurs evolve necks longer than any other creature that has ever lived? One secret: mostly hollow neck bones, researchers say.
The largest creatures to ever walk the Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods. These vegetarians had by far the longest necks of any known animal. The dinosaurs’ necks reached up to 50 feet (15 meters) in length, six times longer than that of the current world-record holder, the giraffe, and at least five times longer than those of any other animal that has lived on land.
“They were really stupidly, absurdly oversized,” said researcher Michael Taylor, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Bristol in England. “In our feeble, modern world, we’re used to thinking of elephants as big, but sauropods reached 10 times the size elephants do. They were the size of walking whales.”
To find out how sauropod necks could get so long, scientists analyzed other long-necked creatures and compared sauropod anatomy with that of the dinosaurs’ nearest living relatives, the birds and crocodilians…
(read more: Live Science)
(images: T - Alamosaurus by Dmitry Bogdanov; Bttm 3 - Taylor, Weddel 2013)
always wondered why dinosaurs were so “stupidly, absurdly oversized.” could one of the reasons be that the earth’s gravity was different at the time?