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Strong Tails of early Dinosaurs helped them move about on all fours and rise up on just their two back feet: Research

Bipedalism in dinosaurs was inherited from ancient and much smaller proto-dinosaurs.

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Skeleton of a dinosaur, pixabay

Toronto, March 4, 2017: Big muscles in the tails of early dinosaurs helped them move about on all fours and rise up on just their two back feet, new research suggests.

Bipedalism in dinosaurs was inherited from ancient and much smaller proto-dinosaurs.

The trick to this evolution is in their tails, said lead study author Scott Persons, postdoctoral fellow at University of Alberta in Canada.

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“The tails of proto-dinosaurs had big, leg-powering muscles,” Persons said.

“Having this muscle mass provided the strength and power required for early dinosaurs to stand on and move with their two back feet. We see a similar effect in many modern lizards that rise up and run bipedally,” Persons added.

Over time, proto-dinosaurs evolved to run faster and for longer distances.

Adaptations like hind limb elongation allowed ancient dinosaurs to run faster, while smaller forelimbs helped to reduce body weight and improve balance, according to the study published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Eventually, some proto-dinosaurs gave up quadrupedal walking altogether.

The research also debunks theories that early proto-dinosaurs stood on two legs for the sole purpose of freeing their hands for use in catching prey.

“Those explanations don’t stand up,” Persons said.

“Many ancient bipedal dinosaurs were herbivores, and even early carnivorous dinosaurs evolved small forearms. Rather than using their hands to grapple with prey, it is more likely they seized their meals with their powerful jaws,” Persons explained.

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But, if it is true that bipedalism can evolve to help animals run fast, why aren’t mammals like horses and cheetahs bipedal?

“Largely because mammals don’t have those big tail-based leg muscles,” Persons said. (IANS)

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Dinosaurs Once-in A Lifetime Fossil Saved from Australian Floods

Steve Poropat, a paleontologist at Swinburne University in Melbourne says the footprints were saved from recent monsoonal flooding in Queensland.

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A small dinosaur fossil is seen in this undated handout photo from Australian customs. The largest-ever haul of illegally exported fossils was formally handed back from the Australian Government to the Chinese Government during a ceremony in Perth, Sept. 30, 2005. VOA

A team of Australian paleontologists and volunteers has saved a once-in a lifetime fossil discovery from devastating floods in Queensland state.

The dinosaur tracks give a rare insight into an ancient world. Found on an outback farm near the Queensland town of Winton, 1,100 kms from Brisbane, they are estimated to be almost 100 million years old.

The footprints are stamped into a large slab of sandstone rock, and were made by a sauropod, a giant creature with a long neck and tail, and by two smaller dinosaurs. Some of the footprints are up to a meter wide and come from the Cretaceous period.

Scientists were alerted to the danger posed to this remarkable collection when it was partly damaged by severe flooding last year.

For three weeks scientists and volunteers worked to carefully dig up and relocate the dinosaur tracks.

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Scientists were alerted to the danger posed to this remarkable collection when it was partly damaged by severe flooding last year. Pixabay

They are being stored at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum in Winton, where they will eventually go on display.

David Elliott is the museum’s executive chairman.

“We really want to preserve the integrity of the tracks. We do not want to just tear them up and go and lock them on the ground somewhere. You know, they have to be done a certain way. We cannot just leave it here because that is, you know, [a] find of a lifetime.”

Dinosaur tracks are rare in Australia.

Steve Poropat, a paleontologist at Swinburne University in Melbourne says the footprints were saved from recent monsoonal flooding in Queensland.

“The imperative was to get those soft footprints out of the ground because they just would not have lasted in another flood now that they have been fully exposed. To get it all out of the ground, to ma

fossils
The dinosaur tracks give a rare insight into an ancient world. Found on an outback farm near the Queensland town of Winton, 1,100 kms from Brisbane, they are estimated to be almost 100 million years old. Pixabay

ke sure that it is safe from future floods is fantastic,” he said.

 

Monsoonal rains in Queensland have caused chaos, flooding hundreds of homes and drowning several hundred thousand livestock. Officials said it was a one-in-100-year event, and they have warned it could take years to rebuild the local cattle industry.

Also Read: Frequent High-Tide Flooding May Affect Coastal Communities’ Economy

As the floodwaters recede on land, they are polluting parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Experts say plumes of polluted water are stretching up to 60 kms from the coast, putting more pressure on coral that has suffered mass bleaching in recent years. When ocean temperatures increase, corals can expel the algae that live in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white.

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s greatest natural treasure and stretches 2,300 kms down Australia’s northeast coastline. (VOA)