ScienceShot: Dinosaurs Just Got Taller

Dinosaurs just got a bit more intimidating. Researchers have found that Tyrannosaurus Rex may have stood a few centimeters taller than previously thought, and Brachiosaurus—already a colossus at over 13 meters tall—may have towered by another 30 centimeters or so. The reason is that dinosaur legs probably contained thicker pads of cartilage at the bone joints than scientists assumed. Cartilage and other soft tissues generally do not survive fossilization, so in the new study researchers compared dinosaur bones to castings of the dissected bones and joints of alligators and ostriches. They also studied how certain bone features relate to the thickness of cartilage at the joints. Based on those comparisons, the team reports online today in PLoS ONE that theropod (three-toed) dinosaurs such as T. Rex, and the sauropod (lizard-footed) creatures such as Triceratops and Brachiosaurus deserve a lift. Next question: Are taller dinosaurs faster or slower?

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