Some dinosaurs have upper and lower parts of the vertebrae for greater strength was connected to the toothed surfaces.

Probably many who had to look at the skeleton of a Brontosaurus – or himself, drawn in the book or movie – I thought about how this reptile can withstand your weight. But, except for the Brontosaurus, there were other giants: Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus and others – they all belonged to the group of sauropods that reached nearly forty yards in length, and weighed one hundred tons and more (although there were sauropods and dwarf species, with a total length of 5-6 meters). Despite the fact they were not aquatic animals: they live completely in the water, it would support their weight. At the same land all their weight literally fell on their own bones.

Brahiozavry. (Photo: Peter Montgomery /

The remains of Spinophorosaurus nigerensis, was found in Africa. (Photo: UNED Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia / Flickr .com.)

Gear connection between the arc of the vertebra and the body of Spinophorosaurus nigerensis. (Photo: John Fronimos / University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.)”

Obviously, in the course of natural selection at the giant reptile was supposed to be some features that allowed them to cope with their own weight: the particular design of the legs and a small head, and relatively low weight of the bones and is permeated by air cavities. In an article in ameghiniana is paleontologists from the University of Michigan describe another anatomic trick that helped sauropods to become big, which is a special structure of the vertebrae.

As you know, dinosaurs (and animals too) the vertebrae consist of two parts: the lower vertebral body, and the upper, so-called arcing between the arc and the body is a hole through which passes the spinal cord. In the adult animal the arc of the vertebra is firmly connected with the body, but between them from time to time remains cartilaginous layer, in which the new cells. The time when both parts of the vertebra are fused, depending on the type: the person they ultimately joined in 6-7 years, sauropods same arc and the body together much later when the reptile had grown to its adult length.

For the dinosaurs it would be a big problem: the cartilage layer weakens the connection, and a big load on the spine is made to disperse both sides of the vertebra. But sauropods (at least some of them), contact between the vertebral arch and the body was serrated, and the teeth did not allow the arc and the body to disperse. And the serration were different: in the skeleton Spinophorosaurus nigerensis, worked with the authors in the cervical vertebrae closest to the head, the contact between the arc and the body was relatively simple, but the closer the vertebrae were to the shoulders, the more rough, rugged became the surface of the connection. What is clear – the lower cervical vertebrae had to withstand more weight than the top.

In the future, the researchers intend to study the vertebral bones of other dinosaurs, not just sauropods, but also predators, including the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex Tyrannosaurus rex, weighed about 9 tons, which is also quite a lot. If others will be able to find the same teeth, it will be possible to conclude that it was a General “know-how” for most of the large prehistoric reptiles.

On materials Science.