The largest animals ever to have walked the face of the earth may not have been as big as previously thought, reveals a paper published today in the Zoological Society of London’s Journal of Zoology.

[UKPRwire, Mon Jun 22 2009] Scientists have discovered that the original statistical model used to calculate dinosaur mass is flawed, suggesting dinosaurs have been oversized.

Widely cited estimates for the mass of Apatosaurus louisae, one of the largest of the dinosaurs, may be double that of its actual mass (38 tonnes vs. 18 tonnes).

"Paleontologists have for 25 years used a published statistical model to estimate body weight of giant dinosaurs and other extraordinarily large animals in extinct lineages. By re-examining data in the original reference sample, we show that the statistical model is seriously flawed and that the giant dinosaurs probably were only about half as heavy as is generally believed" says Gary Packard from Colorado State University.

The new predictions have implications for numerous theories about the biology of dinosaurs, ranging from their energy metabolism to their food requirements and to their modes of locomotion.


Editorial Notes

• The Journal of Zoology, published by the Zoological Society of London, is a leading scientific journal publishing hypothesis-driven papers that advance our knowledge of animals and their systems. For further information please visit http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=0952-8369

• Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. The Society runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, carries out scientific research at the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation overseas. For further information please visit www.zsl.org.

Allometric equations for predicting body mass of dinosaurs

For interviews, contact:

Brad Bohlander, Executive Director of Public Relations, Colorado State University
Tel: +1 970 4911545 E-mail: Brad.Bohlander@colostate.edu

Catherine Ferraro, Coordinator, Office of Media and Public Relations, George Mason University
Email: cferraro@gmu.edu

The paper will be published online on Monday 22nd June. For advance copies, Contact: Victoria Picknell, Zoological Society of London press office, t: 02074496361 or victoria.picknell@zsl.org

Company: Zoological Society of London

Contact Name: Victoria Picknell

Contact Email: victoria.picknell@zsl.org

Contact Phone: 02074496361

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