Long-necked dinosaurs didn't reach for the skies
April 2, 2009, 11:44 am TWN
PARIS -- A fondly-held belief about long-necked sauropods, the giant four-footed dinosaurs beloved of monster movies and children, is most probably untrue, a dino expert said on Wednesday.
At the zenith of the dinosaurs' reign, some sauropods evolved necks of extraordinary length — more than nine meters (29.25 feet) in the case of the Mamenchisaurus, a titan of the Late Jurassic period around 150 million years ago. Prevailing wisdom has it that these leviathans used their necks like giraffes today. They reached up high into the trees, munching leisurely on forest canopy that was out of reach for rival herbivores.
Not so, says a paper appearing in Biology Letters, a journal published by Britain's prestigious Royal Society.