Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




EARLY EARTH
Research team discovers eating habits of Jurassic age dinosaur
by Staff Writers
Columbia MO (SPX) Aug 03, 2012


Diplodocus was a giant, herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic period

A team of researchers from the University of Bristol, Natural History Museum of London, the University of Missouri and Ohio University has discovered the eating habits of Diplodocus using a three-dimensional model of the dinosaur's skull.

The eating habits of the herbivore have been uncertain since its discovery more than 130 years ago. Understanding these behaviors could help scientists better understand extinct and modern ecosystems and what it takes to feed these giant herbivores, as well as today's living animals.

Diplodocus was a giant, herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic period, which was around 150 million years ago. The dinosaur, which was more than 170 feet long and weighed more than 12 tons, was the longest animal ever to walk the planet. Its neck was about 20 feet in length.

"Since Diplodocus was such a huge animal, its eating habits and behavior have always been a question in the paleontology community," said Casey Holliday, an assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at MU.

"With the 3D model of the skull, we were able to simulate three eating scenarios using a computer-based analysis to determine the stresses that the skull would experience in each situation."

Using data from a CT scan, the team of researchers designed a three-dimensional model of the 2.5-foot-long Diplodocus' skull and tested it using finite element analysis (FEA).

FEA, which is commonly used to aid in mechanical engineering and design, revealed the stresses on the dinosaur skull from three different eating behaviors: a normal bite, "branch stripping" and "bark stripping."

"Originally, some scientists in the early 1900s thought that Diplodocus would strip bark off of trees using its jaws to close down on the bark," Holliday said.

"However, we found that this process places a lot of stress and strain on the dinosaur's teeth and skull, which could result in bone damage or breaking of teeth.

"The model and the scans showed that branch stripping, which is when the dinosaur would place its mouth on a branch and pull all the leaves off the branch, placed little to or no stress on the teeth and skull."

While the feeding habits of the Diplodocus have largely been resolved, the behaviors of other extinct animals also could be tested using FEA.

"Sauropod dinosaurs, like Diplodocus, were so weird and different from living animals that there is no animal we can compare them with," said Mark Young, a doctoral student at the University of Bristol and lead author on the research.

"This makes understanding their feeding ecology very difficult. That's why biomechanically modeling is so important to our understanding of long-extinct animals."

Holliday thinks that findings from the Diplodocus feeding habits can help determine the ways extinct animals live, but he also said that understanding large, extinct animals will continue to help scientists' understanding of large animals today.

"Sauropods tell us about the evolution of gigantism, or giant body size, because they enable us to understand how much range or space giant animals really need to get around, and how much food they need to survive," Holliday said.

"The findings on sauropods also help us understand today's giant herbivores, such as elephants and giraffes, and how they interact with their environments."

The study's authors included Paul Barrett, merit researcher at The Natural History Museum in London; Emily Rayfield, senior lecturer at University of Bristol; and Lawrence Witmer, professor of anatomy at Ohio University. The study was published in Naturwissenschaften, a natural sciences journal.

.


Related Links
University of Missouri-Columbia
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EARLY EARTH
Drilling discovers ancient Antarctic rainforest
Sydney (AFP) Aug 2, 2012
Drilling of the seabed off Antarctica has revealed that rainforest grew on the frozen continent 52 million years ago, scientists said Thursday, warning it could be ice-free again within decades. The study of sediment cores drilled from the ocean floor off Antarctica's east coast revealed fossil pollens that had come from a "near-tropical" forest covering the continent in the Eocene period, 3 ... read more


EARLY EARTH
US flags still on the moon, except one: NASA

Another Small Step for Mankind

Russia starts building Moon spaceship, eyes Lunar base

Plans to revisit Moon impeded by financial difficulties

EARLY EARTH
The fractured features of Ladon basin

Curiosity's Search for Organics

India set to launch Mars mission in 2013

Curiosity's First Daredevil Stunt

EARLY EARTH
NASA Goddard's Innovation Lab: Creating a Future

Space tourism seen as billion-dollar biz

NASA to Announce New Agreements for Next Phase of Commercial Crew Development

Science fiction comes to life in Italian lab

EARLY EARTH
China's Long March-5 carrier rocket engine undergoes testing

China to land first moon probe next year

China launches Third satellite in its global data relay network

Looking Forward to Shenzhou 10

EARLY EARTH
Microgravity Science Glovebox Marks Anniversary with 'Hands' on the Future

Russia Launches Space Freighter to Orbital Station

A Fish Friendly Facility for the ISS

Russian cargo ship manages to dock at ISS on second try

EARLY EARTH
Boeing Delivers 2nd Intelsat 702MP Satellite to Sea Launch Home Port

The Indian GSAT-10 satellite is prepared for Arianespace's fifth Ariane 5 flight of 2012

Arianespace: 50 successful Ariane 5 launches in a row!

Avanti announces successful launch of its HYLAS 2 Satellite

EARLY EARTH
RIT Leads Development of Next-generation Infrared Detectors

UCF Discovers Exoplanet Neighbor

Can Astronomers Detect Exoplanet Oceans

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Dust

EARLY EARTH
Too cool to follow the law

Lockheed Martin Submits Final Proposal for Air and Missile Defense Radar

Lockheed Martin-ARINC Team Submit Bid for USAF Rapid Deployment Air Traffic Control Radar System

Samsung set to debut new Note phone




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement