Reveals how dinosaur skeletons withstood the enormous load of their bodies

“The structure of trabecular or cancellous bone that forms within the bones that we have studied

unique to dinosaurs, ”said Tony Fiorillo, SMU paleontologist and co-author of the study. Trabecular bone tissue surrounds tiny gaps or holes in the interior of the bone.

Unlike mammals and birds, cancellous bonedoes not increase in thickness as dinosaurs increase in body size. Instead, the density of cancellous bone formation increases. Without this adaptation to reduce weight, the skeletal structure required to support the hadrosaurs would be so heavy that it would be very difficult for dinosaurs to move around.

Spongy bone tissue (cancellous substance,trabecular substance, lat. substantia spongiosa) - bone tissue of a cellular type, formed by loosely lying bone trabeculae. The spongy substance has a large surface area, lightness, lower density and strength.

Interdisciplinary research teamused the theory of material destruction and the allometry scale, which describes how the characteristics of a living thing change with size, to analyze computed tomography of the distal femur and proximal tibia of dinosaur fossils.

A team funded by the Polar Authorityprograms of the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, was the first to use these tools to better understand the structure of bones of extinct species, and the first to assess the relationship between bone architecture and the movement of dinosaurs. They compared their results to scanning live animals such as Asian elephants and extinct mammals called mammoths.

Understanding the mechanics of dinosaur trabecular architecture could help scientists better understand other light and dense structures, they conclude.

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