Paleontologist Michael D’Emic found something interesting when he cut the bones of the Majungasaurus. He found that the dinosaur that measured up to 7 meters high grew “really, really slowly.” The prevalent idea amongst paleontologists was that big dinosaurs became big through rapid growth spurts, so what D’emic found through his investigation was rather surprising, which prompted him to look further into other dinosaur bones to see if there are different growth strategies in them. What followed was a decade-long study, and with the time that passed came new knowledge of the distant past. As it turns out, the strategy of carnivorous dinosaurs to get big fast was less predominant than what paleontologists previously assumed.
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Understanding an animal’s growth strategy may seem trivial at first, but it is essential in understanding a creature’s life and environment. Did the animal grow in a competitive environment? Was it a hot environment or a cold one?
Growth strategy also has a correlation to an animal’s lifespan and number of offspring.
More about this over at Quanta Magazine.
(Image Credit: Skye McDavid/ Wikimedia Commons)