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Re-Sizing Dinosaurs

July 6, 2009

Dinosaurs may have been smaller than previous estimates.


Dinosaurs slim down. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Imagine a T. Rex and the word "enormous" probably springs to mind. But dinosaurs may not have been nearly as heavy as previously estimated, according to environmental physiologist Gary Packard of Colorado State University. He says researchers often estimate the mass of dinosaurs using a statistical model that’s based on the mass of living mammals. But Packard and his colleagues recently discovered a major flaw in this model.

GARY PACKARD (Colorado State University):
So it can’t possibly be expected to provide reasonable estimates for the mass of dinosaurs. If you apply an appropriate method, then you come up with estimates that are considerably smaller weight-wise than the estimates that have been repeated on numerous occasions in textbooks and other accounts.

He says the finding has broad implications and could revise estimates of other animals as well. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.