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Dinosaur biomechanics review paper



1: Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Aug 7;273(1596):1849-55.  
Dinosaur biomechanics.Alexander RM.
Institute for Integrative and Comparative Biology,
University of Leeds, Miall Building, Leeds LS2 9JT,
UK.

Biomechanics has made large contributions to dinosaur
biology. It has enabled us to estimate both the speeds
at which dinosaurs generally moved and the maximum
speeds of which they may have been capable. It has
told us about the range of postures they could have
adopted, for locomotion and for feeding, and about the
problems of blood circulation in sauropods with very
long necks. It has made it possible to calculate the
bite forces of predators such as Tyrannosaurus, and
the stresses they imposed on its skull; and to work
out the remarkable chewing mechanism of hadrosaurs. It
has shown us how some dinosaurs may have produced
sounds. It has enabled us to estimate the
effectiveness of weapons such as the tail spines of
Stegosaurus. In recent years, techniques such as
computational tomography and finite element analysis,
and advances in computer modelling, have brought new
opportunities. Biomechanists should, however, be
especially cautious in their work on animals known
only as fossils. The lack of living specimens and even
soft tissues oblige us to make many assumptions. It is
important to be aware of the often wide ranges of
uncertainty that result.