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RE: a really big bite



Cool.  I thought Lipluroden was also Late Jurassic?  I've dug out my old WWD
books and apparently the estimate was based on scaled up isolated bones (a
bone in Peterborough museum scaled up to 17-20m) plus a bit for luck.

It's funny how the producers of WWD were so speculative about this but did
not have feathers on Utahraptor and Dromaeosaurus.

-----Original Message-----
From: Colin McHenry [mailto:cmchenry@westserv.net.au] 
Sent: 17 March 2009 11:10
To: john.bass@ntlworld.com
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu; Patrick Druckenmiller
Subject: Re: a really big bite

john hunt wrote:
> Is this the mega Liplurodon that was featured in WWD?  I recall it caused
a
> bit of a stir when the series came out but the size estimate was based on
> scaled up isolated bones IIRC 
>   
No, it's based upon new material from the Late Jurassic (i.e., strata 
from which /Liopleurodon /is unknown) of the Norwegian Arctic. There's 
more info (from previous field seasons) at 
http://www.plesiosaur.com/plesiosaurs/svalbard.php

It is becoming clear that the largest pliosaurs of all were swimming 
around in the Late Jurassic; if not species of /Pliosaurus /itself, they 
were presumably a very similar animal. Exactly how big these L. Jurassic 
things got has been a topic of discussion amongst pliosaur workers; all 
of the material is (as far as I am aware) incomplete, so there is 
necessarily some guesswork involved. The palaeontologists involved (Jørn 
Hurum, Espen Knutsen and Pat Druckenmiller) have been involved with a TV 
documentary about this material, so the story might be based upon 
preliminary results featured in that program - I haven't seen any recent 
papers, and Espen is still working on his PhD, so it might be a case of 
waiting for the paper (although I'd be happy to be corrected in this).

Whatever the details of the methods that they've used for the estimates 
of body mass and bite force, this thing is likely to have been both the 
biggest biting carnivore of all time, and the biggest carnivore of all 
time. But note that the size estimates are still way below the WWD 
accounts of /Liopleurodon /(which are completely ficticious).

-- 
Colin McHenry
Computational Biomechanics Research Group http://www.compbiomech.com/
School of Engineering (Mech Eng)
University of Newcastle
NSW 2308

t: +61 2 4921 8879