An Australian dinosaur seems to have walked on a pure form of “excessive heel,” researchers counsel.
The Rhoetosaurus brownei — a 24-ton, or 52,910-pound sauropod, which is a long-necked herbivorous dinosaur — walked with an elevated heel, College of Queensland (UQ) Ph.D. candidate Andréas Jannel mentioned in a press launch Friday.
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“Wanting on the bones of the foot, it was clear that Rhoetosaurus walked with an elevated heel, elevating the query: how was its foot in a position to help the immense mass of this animal, as much as 40 tons?” Jannel mentioned.
His findings had been revealed in April within the Journal of Morphology.
“Our analysis means that regardless that Rhoetosaurus stood on its tiptoes, the heel was cushioned by fleshy pad,” Jannel mentioned. “We see an analogous factor in elephant ft, however this dinosaur was not less than 5 occasions as heavy as an elephant, so the forces concerned are a lot better.”
Jannel and his colleagues on the UQ Dinosaur Lab studied the fossil of a Rhoetosaurus — Australia’s solely named Jurassic sauropod — which was present in southwest Queensland and had been dated between 160-170 million years in the past.
The scientists used a reproduction of the fossil to assist them check and perceive how the bones of the dinosaur’s foot moved when it walked and used 3D modeling to investigate completely different postures of the foot.
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In addition they studied different sauropod footprints around the globe, which additionally confirmed indicators of a naturally padded heel.
“The addition of a cushioning pad that helps the raised heel seems to be a key innovation through the evolution of sauropods, and possibly appeared in early members of the group a while through the Early to Center Jurassic Durations,” he mentioned.
“The benefits of a tender tissue pad might have helped facilitate the pattern in the direction of the big physique sizes we see in these dinosaurs,” Jannel added.
Jannel is now finding out stress distribution inside the bones of the foot so as to give “mechanical proof for the presence” of the padded heel.
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“It may be a tedious and time-consuming course of, however I’ve at all times been fascinated by paleontology, significantly the hyperlink between type and performance in extinct animals,” he mentioned.
“There’s a lot extra to know, but it surely’s wonderful to find that turning into ‘high-heeled’ may need been an necessary step within the evolution of sauropod dinosaurs,” he added.