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Re: Dinosaurs lighter than thought: Giraffatitan 23 (not 80) tons
From: Ben Creisler
Here's the full ref, abstract, and link:
W. I. Sellers, J. Hepworth-Bell, P. L. Falkingham, K. T. Bates, C. A.
Brassey, V. M. Egerton and P. L. Manning (2012)
Minimum convex hull mass estimations of complete mounted skeletons.
Biology Letters (advance online publication)
Body mass is a critical parameter used to constrain biomechanical and
physiological traits of organisms. Volumetric methods are becoming
more common as techniques for estimating the body masses of fossil
vertebrates. However, they are often accused of excessive subjective
input when estimating the thickness of missing soft tissue. Here, we
demonstrate an alternative approach where a minimum convex hull is
derived mathematically from the point cloud generated by
laser-scanning mounted skeletons. This has the advantage of requiring
minimal user intervention and is thus more objective and far quicker.
We test this method on 14 relatively large-bodied mammalian skeletons
and demonstrate that it consistently underestimates body mass by 21
per cent with minimal scatter around the regression line. We therefore
suggest that it is a robust method of estimating body mass where a
mounted skeletal reconstruction is available and demonstrate its usage
to predict the body mass of one of the largest, relatively complete
sauropod dinosaurs: Giraffatitan brancai (previously Brachiosaurus) as