Estimating the mass of a long-extinct creature is not an easy task for scientists. Experts from the University of New England found more accurate values for dinosaurs’ weight, using two different methods.
Scientists have repeatedly tried to estimate the mass of prehistoric creatures by various calculations. However, the results carried too wide a range of results. They could not consider the measurements acceptable. For example, the giant long-necked dinosaur genus Brachiosaurus weight has been estimated between 15 and 100 tons.
Pioneers Nicolas Campion and David C. Evans of the University of New England broke the ice. The pair of scientists calculated the most inaccurate data so far thanks to accurate methods of measuring and modeling objects. Thanks to these methods, they have achieved much more accurate results than paleontologists of previous generations.
Dinosaur Mass Determined by Two Methods
The first method is to estimate the weight from the femur’s circumference. Because the bones of the legs must be a certain size to carry creatures of different sizes, the femur’s circumference can be compared, for example, between dinosaurs and contemporary elephants.
The second method is to create a computer 3D model of a dinosaur and calculate its volume and, subsequently, its weight.
At first, the two methods did not seem to correspond very well – for example, in the giant Argentine dinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani, the first method showed an estimate of between 44 and 74 tons, while the second only estimated 27 to 38 tons. And that’s a huge difference.
Small Dinosaurs Measurements Are More Accurate
Campione continued to compare available estimates for different dinosaurs species. He found out an interesting thing – Dreadnoughtus was an unusual case; almost all other estimates were much closer.
Especially for smaller dinosaurs weighing hundreds of kilograms, the results differed by only a few kilograms. Therefore, if both methods are used together, we can get closer to the dinosaurs’ actual mass than ever before.
Source: https://www.une.edu.au/connect/news/2020/08/how-to-weigh-a-dinosaur, fratured photo by Dariusz Sankowski z Pixabay