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Dinosaur weight estimates

Andreas Johansson writes:
 > I was wondering if anyone here knows of an online source, or
 > failing that a book, that gives weight estimates of a good
 > selection of (mesozoic) dinsosaurs, with discussion of how the
 > numbers were arrived at, error bars, etc. The discussion should be
 > accessible to the educated layman.

The classic paper on estimating dinosaur masses via the volume of
scale models is Colbert (1962); the method was updated by Alexander
(1985, 1989) and has subsequently been used by many others including
Paul (1988, 1987).  Anderson et al. (1985) proposed another method
based on regression between limb-bone dimensions and mass, but that
does not give good results.  Henderson (1999) explained a mathematical
approach.  All of these papers include various results (many of them
contradictory).  Maybe the best recent discussion of dinosaur masses
is Mazzetta et al. 2004., which talks more than the others about
possible causes of error.  Hope this helps.


Alexander, R. McNeill.  1985.  Mechanics of posture and gait of some
large dinosaurs: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 83: 1-25.

Alexander, R. McNeill.  1989.  Dynamics of Dinosaurs and Other Extinct
Giants.  Columbia University Press, New York.  167 pp.

Colbert, Edwin H.  1962.  The weights of dinosaurs.  American Museum
Novitates, 2076, pp. 1-16.

Henderson, Donald M.  1999.  Estimating the masses and centers of mass
of extinct animals by 3-D mathematical slicing.

Mazzetta, Gerardo V., Per Christiansen and Richard A. Farina.  2004.
Giants and Bizarres: Body Size of Some Southern South American
Cretaceous Dinosaurs.  Historical Biology, 2004, 1-13.

Paul, G. S. 1988. The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison and Tendaguru
with a description of a new subgenus, Giraffatitan, and a comparison
of the world's largest dinosaurs.  Hunteria 2 (3): 1-14.

Paul, G. S.  1997.  Dinosaur models: the good, the bad, and using them
to estimate the mass of dinosaurs. Pp. 129-154 in D. L.  Wolberg,
E. Stump, and G. D. Rosenberg, eds. DinoFest International:
Proceedings of a Symposium Sponsored by Arizona State
University. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Yeah, I just don't buy it" -- Phoebe Buffay.