50 years in the past, a scientist pegged Brontosaurus as a landlubber

Swamp-dweller or landlubber? – Science Information, January 30, 1971

By way of the years paleontologists have developed an image of the looks and habits of assorted dinosaurs…. Large herbivores with lengthy necks and tails, such because the Brontosaurus, have nearly invariably been introduced as swamp-dwelling semiaquatic animals.… A younger Yale College paleontologist, nonetheless, now maintains that the anatomy of the Brontosaurus factors clearly to a life on land.


Debate over whether or not Brontosaurus and its fellow sauropods splashed by way of swamps or ambled over dry land has persevered for many years. In 1971, paleontologist Robert Bakker argued for a landbound dinosaur, based mostly on the resemblance of its nostrils to these of terrestrial lizards. By the late 1980s, scientists had found that sauropods had hole bones. That recommended Brontosaurus and its kin had been buoyant, although the discovering didn’t show the dinos swam (SN: 4/29/89, p. 261). Later research of pollen and vegetation preserved close to Brontosaurus fossils have proven that the dino stomped by way of a semiarid panorama, no floaties wanted.

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A model of this text seems within the January 30, 2021 challenge of Science Information.


C. T. Gee, Ed. Crops in Mesozoic Time: Morphological Improvements, Phylogeny, Ecosystems. Bloomington: Indiana College Press, 2010. muse.jhu.edu/guide/1554.

G. F. Engelmann et al. The implications of a dry local weather for the paleoecology of the fauna of the Higher Jurassic Morrison Formation. Sedimentary Geology, Vol. 167, Might 15, 2004. Doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2004.01.008.

D. M. Henderson. Tipsy punters: sauropod dinosaur pneumaticity, buoyancy and aquatic habits. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Organic Sciences, Vol. 271, Might 7, 2004. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0136.

Science Information Employees. Brontosaurus: Swamp-dweller or landlubber? Science Information, Vol. 99, January 30, 1971, p. 79.

R. T. Bakker. Ecology of the Brontosaurs. Nature, Vol. 229, January 15, 1971, p. 172. doi: 10.1038/229172a0.

Bethany is the workers author at Science Information for College students. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest College Faculty of Drugs.

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