WASHINGTON, October 1, 2010 (AFP) – Some dinosaurs may have been at least 10 percent taller than previously thought, US paleontologists said Thursday in a study that found the creatures had large amounts of cartilage. The dinosaurs had thick layers of cartilage in their joints that may have added more than a foot (30 centimeters) to their height, according to researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) and Ohio University, who said this may have changed their speed and posture.
“Our study of the limbs of modern-day relatives of dinosaurs shows that dinosaurs were significantly taller than original estimates,” said study lead author Casey Holliday, an anatomy professor at the MU School of Medicine.
She explained that many dinosaurs’ long bones, such as the femur or tibia, lack major articulations and have rounded ends with rough surfaces.
“This indicated that very thick cartilages formed these structures, and therefore the joints themselves, and would have added significant height to certain dinosaurs,” Holliday added.
In contrast, mammal bones have small protrusions at their ends that help them connect with other bones at a joint. The bones are then linked with a very thin layer of cartilage.