Dinosaurs grew to outpace their young
Ancient reptiles owed huge size more to their eggs than to a benign environment.
Some dinosaurs grew to gigantic sizes to avoid competition from their own young, rather than to take advantage of abundant oxygen, high temperatures and large territorial ranges, say two studies. But their largeness may also have proved their undoing.
Some have argued that dinosaurs were able to grow quickly and fuel large bodies when temperatures were warm, oxygen levels were high, and land masses such as the supercontinent Gondwana provided abundant living space.
But although the idea that certain environmental conditions favoured the growth of enormous dinosaurs has been popular among palaeontologists, there is little evidence for it.
Friendly environment: To see whether the link could be supported, Roland Sookias, a biologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, and his colleagues examined whether changes in body size followed changes in environmental factors. Their findings are published in Biology Letters today 1.
The team used thigh-bone lengths to work out the body sizes of more than 400 species alive during the Permian, Triassic and Jurassic periods (299 million to 145 million years ago). This included dinosaurs and their predecessors, as well as contemporaries such as flying pterosaurs and the ancestors of mammals.
Interesting read! Dinosaur growth is a topic I’ve always enjoyed, especially when it comes to how fast they would grow. A nice read for anyone interested.
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