ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2010) — It might seem obvious that a dinosaur’s leg bone connects to the hip bone, but what came between the bones has been less obvious. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and Ohio University have found that dinosaurs had thick layers of cartilage in their joints, which means they may have been considerably taller than previously thought. The study is being published this week in the journal PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science).
“Our study of the limbs of modern-day relatives of dinosaurs shows that dinosaurs were significantly taller than original estimates,” said Casey Holliday, lead author of the study and an anatomy professor in the MU School of Medicine. “The ends of many dinosaurs’ long bones, which include leg bones such as the femur or tibia, are rounded and rough and lack major articulating structures like condyles, which are bony projections. This indicated that very thick cartilages formed these structures, and therefore the joints themselves, and would have added significant height to certain dinosaurs. This study offers new data into how and why reptiles, and mammals, such as humans, build their joints with such different amounts of bone and cartilage.”
Loggerhead nesting season started this year, as usual, in May. Across the northeastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, female sea turtles began plodding out of the water and up the beach, each burying a clutch of a hundred or more leathery eggs beneath the sand. The eggs incubate for about 60 days. Then a throng of tiny black loggerhead hatchlings, each only about two inches long, frantically boils out of the ground, all paddling clumsily with their outsize, winglike flippers. They scuttle down the beach en masse, capitalizing on a one-time frenzy of energy to rush into the water and push past the breakers into offshore currents.