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Could Carcharodontosaurus lift a sauropod?



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:

Donald M. Henderson and Robert Nicholls (2015)
Balance and strength - estimating the maximum prey lifting potential
of the large predatory dinosaur Carcharodontosaurus saharicus.
The Anatomical Record (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1002/ar.23164
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ar.23164/abstract

Motivated by the work of palaeo-art “Double Death (2011)”, a
biomechanical analysis using three-dimensional digital models was
conducted to assess the potential of a pair of the large, Late
Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Carcharodontosaurus saharicus to
successfully lift a medium-sized sauropod and not lose balance.
Rayosaurus tessonei from the Late Cretaceous of South America was
chosen as the sauropod as it is more completely known, but closely
related to the rebbachisaurid sauropods found in the same deposits
with C. saharicus. The body models incorporate details of the low
density regions associated with lungs, systems of air sacs, and
pneumatised axial skeletal regions. These details, along with the
surface meshes of the models, were used to estimate the body masses
and centres of mass of the two animals. It was found that a 6 t C.
saharicus could successfully lift a mass of 2.5 t and not lose balance
as the combined CM of the body and the load in the jaws would still be
over the feet. However, the neck muscles were found to only be capable
of producing enough force to hold up the head with an added mass of
424 kg held at the midpoint of the maxillary tooth row. The jaw
adductor muscles were more powerful, and could have held a load of 512
kg. The more limiting neck constraint leads to the conclusion that
two, adult C. saharicus could successfully lift a R. tessonei with a
maximum body mass of 850 kg and a body length of 8.3 m.