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A dinosaur bigger than a T-Rex swims and hunts underwater

tries to To solve this heated debate, a group of researchers studied 380 bones belonging to 250 animals, some living, some extinct, including marine reptiles and flying reptiles, as well as mammals, lizards, crocodiles and birds.

There are certain laws that apply to any living creature on the planet. One of those laws has to do with density and the ability to sink in water, Matteo Fabri, a postdoctoral researcher at Chicago’s Field Museum, said in a press release. He was the lead author of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The study said that bone density can be used as evidence of adaptation to life in water, even aquatic animals that were not clearly formed for an aquatic lifestyle, such as hippopotamuses, have very dense bones.

Researchers have found that spinosaurs, a family of predatory dinosaurs that could reach a height of 15 meters (49 feet) In length (greater than T. rex): It had dense bones, indicating that it adapted to life in water. They said none of the other 39 dinosaurs the research team examined as part of the study were likely to be comfortable in the water.

Spinosaurus’ relationship with water

Within the Spinosaurus family, they concluded that Spinosaurus, which has a sail on its spine, and its relative Baryonyx, had a higher bone density and could swim and fish underwater, somewhat like a crocodile or a hippopotamus. Sucomimus, another dinosaur closely related to it, had lighter bones which made swimming more difficult. The study found that it likely lived in water and ate fish, as indicated by its crocodile-like nose and conical teeth, but judging by its bone density, it wasn’t actually swimming.

Thomas Holtz, Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Maryland, said the study confirmed that the ancestors of Spinosaurus and Baryonyx spent enough time in the water to develop ballast, To provide stability in the form of dense bones. However, he said His work on Spinosaurus He showed that food was more likely to hit from above, perhaps from shore, or while lazily floating on the surface of the water, rather than diving into the depths.

Spinosaurus’ gills It is not configured at all as is. in animals such as hippos and crocodiles that spend most of their time submerged in water; Instead, it reattaches itself to the skull as in herons and other foraging animals by dipping their noses in water to feed,” said Holz, who was not involved in the study.

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“The new evidence is consistent with his ability to dive, at least for a while. But as we showed in last year’s article, he couldn’t be a really fast swimmer with that huge sail, at least not in the water.”

Jason Ball, associate professor at Drexel University and director of fossil preparation at the Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute, said he would have liked to see more Spinosaurus specimens included in the study.

“Exotic dinosaurs tend to give an idea of ​​the extremes in dinosaur evolution,” says Paul, who was not involved in the research. And the more specimens there are, the better it is to understand how they became so rare.”

“I think this study is good at keeping things moving, but more work is always needed to get a better picture of life from something so exotic and far in time.”

Researchers studied the bone density of extinct animals and animals.

big data

Researchers, including scholars. From the United States, Europe and Morocco, he first compiled a database of femur and rib parts from a variety of animals to understand whether there is a global association between bone density and behavior.

They cast a wide net. “We have included seals, whales, elephants, mice and hummingbirds. We have dinosaurs of various sizes and extinct marine reptiles like mosasaurs and plesiosaurs. We have animals that weigh several tons and animals that weigh only a few grams. A very large spread,” Fabry said.

They found that animals that dive underwater to find food have almost completely solid bones, while the cross-sections of the bones of land dwellers are cake-like, with hollow centers.

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They found that other dinosaurs, such as herbivorous sauropods, also had denser leg bones, but other bones were lighter. This pattern has also been seen in very heavy live wild animals, such as elephants and rhinos, Fabry said.

Illustration of Baryonyx walkeri, a spinosaurid from the UK, hunting and feeding.

This research is an example of a big data approach to paleontology that has yielded intriguing insights into how dinosaurs experienced their world, something that is often difficult to verify by studying individual animal fossils.

Studies like this, according to Jingmaye O’Connor, field museum curator and co-author Studying the bone density of hundreds of specimens is the “future of paleontology.”

“It takes a long time to do, but it has allowed scientists to shed light on large patterns, rather than making qualitative observations based on a single fossil.”

a A study published last year Examination and reconstruction of the inner ears of ancient fossilized animals and their comparison with the ear canals of living animals. The researchers were able to conclude It follows from this exercise whether the creatures will be nocturnal hunters, vigilant parents, or clumsy flyers.

However, this type of research has limitations, because a single individual characteristic cannot give a complete picture of the animal’s lifestyle, Holz said.

Each path adds to the overall picture. In this particular case, they presented a fascinating new database of bone density in a variety of animals with different lifestyles. So in the future we can now compare other animals with lifestyles that are not well understood.”