Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how the world we call home, with its big cities and peaceful gardens, was ruled by dinosaurs as big as buses and five-story buildings.
But recent research has improved our understanding of why dinosaurs succeeded: the answer may lie in their unique bones, shaped like Aero chocolate.
A Brazilian paleontologist, Tito Aureliano, discovered that hollow bones filled with air sacs were so important to the survival of dinosaurs that they changed several times over the generations.
According to the study, air-powered skeletons evolved in three distinct lineages: the pterosaurs, the technically flightless reptiles, and two dinosaur lineages, the theropods (from the crow-sized Microraptor to the giant). Tyrannosaurus Rex) and sauropodomorphs (long-necked herbivores including Brachiosaurus).
The researchers focused on the late Triassic period, about 233 million years ago, in southern Brazil.
Every time an animal reproduces, evolution produces different versions of the genetic code. Some of these differences are passed on to children and develop over time.
Charles Darwin believed that evolution created “infinite species of great beauty”. But some changes happen automatically from time to time, like getting the same hand of cards more than once.
When the same hand continues to grow, it is a sign that evolution has touched an important and useful path.
The difference that the Brazilian team studied was the bones of the vertebrae aerated, which would have boosted the strength of the dinosaurs and reduced their body weight.
Light but strong
The ones you usually send from Amazon or other online sellers come packed in tin boxes, which have the same advantages as aerated bones. It is light, yet strong.
Corrugated cardboard, or as it was once known, corrugated paper, was a man-made experiment that was very successful and is now a part of our daily lives. It was patented in England in 1856 and was originally designed to support top hats, which were popular in Victorian England and the US at the time.
Three years later, Darwin published his book On the Origin of Life which explains how an evolution that results in goodness is more likely to be passed on to future generations than variants that are not.
CT scan technology allowed Aureliano and his colleagues to peer inside the hard rock fossils they studied. Without technology, it would be impossible to look inside fossils and identify air pockets in the spinal cord.
The study found that none of the normal parents had this condition. All three groups may have developed air pockets independently, and each time in different ways.
Air sacs may have increased the amount of oxygen in the dinosaurs’ blood. The Triassic period had a hot and dry climate. Therefore, the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood can cool the dinosaur’s body properly. It would also help them move faster.
Air sacs would have reinforced and reinforced the inside of the bones of the dinosaurs while making room for larger, stronger muscle fibers.
This would allow the bones to grow larger without the weight of the animal.
In live birds, aerated bones reduce their weight and volume, while promoting bone strength and stiffness – important factors for flight.
Paleontology not only tells about what the world would have been like, had it not been for that famous atmosphere, but it also helps us to study the evolution of the creatures that are still alive.
Similarities to this dinosaur’s heritage are found in many animals that are alive today. It’s not just long-dead animals that have found this type of evolution useful. Many species of birds living today rely on falcon bones to fly.
Some animals use the air sacs to strengthen and strengthen their large bones and skulls, without weighing them down.
The best example of this is the elephant skull. Inside the skulls of elephants are large air sacs that allow the animal to move its large head and heavy tusks without straining the neck muscles.
The human brain is also protected by two layers of hard, fused bones (the internal and external tables) that enclose a soft, spongy bone, with air in between, called the diploe. This allows our skulls to be light, yet strong and able to absorb craniums.
These are examples of adaptive evolution in which animals repeatedly face the same problem, producing similar responses – but not always the same. Today animals are playing with the same evolutionary playbook as dinosaurs.
Sally Christine Reynolds, Principal Academic in Hominin Palaeoecology, Bournemouth University
This article is reprinted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the first article.