Downsizing Dreadnought reported in Science Shots and ScienceDaily, 9 June 2015 and Biology Letters 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0215. In 2014 an enormous sauropod dinosaur was found in Patagonia in South America. There were enough bones preserved for the scientists to estimate the length of this huge long-necked creature as 26 metres, making it the largest ever found. Because of its large size it was given the name Dreadnoughtus.
To get an estimate of its weight they used a method based on the size of its limb bones, and their initial estimate was a massive 59.3 tonnes. This seemed out of proportion for the ratio of soft tissue to bone based on studies of living quadrupeds, so a team of scientists from several British universities have now used a three-dimensional skeletal modelling technique that involves building up the mass of skin, muscle, and other tissue around the whole skeleton. Their new estimate indicates a maximum of 38 tonnes.
Karl Bates of University of Liverpool commented: “Estimatingthe body mass of an extinct animal from approximately 77 million years ago of this size from only itsfossilised bones is extremely challenging and relies on the availability of certain data from living animalsand modelling techniques.”. He went on to explain, “Using digital modelling and a dataset that took inspecies, alive and dead, we were able to see that the creature couldn’t be as large as originally estimated”.
Links: Science Shots
Editorial Comment: Estimating the body mass of an extinct animal certainly is challenging, irrespective of how old you believe it to be, especially when the actual evidence about most dinosaurs consists only of bones, skin impressions and footprints. In such cases everything else about dinosaurs is based on assumptions, manmade theories and computer modelling. Even with this significant downsize, there is enough real data in this case to show that Dreadnoughtus was still an incredibly large beast.
An animal this size would not be able to survive on land in today’s conditions, and it serves as a reminder that the world has gone a long way downhill since the original very good world that God made, where animals could grow to very large sizes and be sustained by a very good environment.
Remember this estimation process when you see all those impressive, apparently living creatures in movies and documentaries. They are mostly creative imagination, and are wonderful evidence that man was made in the image of the Creator God as we love to create as well.
P.S. This means the size and weight record still belongs to a living creature which logs in at 30 metres (98ft) in length and 180 tonnes – the Blue Whale. (Ref. sauropods, dinosaurs, computer modelling.
Evidence News vol.15, No. 10
26 June 2015
Creation Research Australia