July 28, 2017
If you’ve ever had the chance to visit some of the best dinosaur museums in the U.S., chances are you’ve seen a huge skeletal dinosaur roaring in the central lobby. These massive animals once probably once thrived right where these museums stand today. Ironic right? Anyway, have you ever wondered why and how these animals, and so many others from the prehistoric era, got so big? Let’s find out.
(By the way, if you ever want to photograph these majestic skeletons, you can use the HDR functionality of your camera to produce some really detailed images, or visit this website to learn how to make HDR photos manually.)
Generally Accepted Explanations
Not before long, there were two simple explanations that hoped to answer this question. One of these stated that the larger sizes of the animals were due to environmental factors, like a higher rate of oxygen in the air and larger land masses. Another widely accepted theory, known as Cope’s Rule, stated that these animals had evolved such long periods of time that they grew bigger and bigger. This Rule basically said that animals keep growing larger the longer they evolve. So when the dinosaurs perished, newer and smaller animals took their place.
Other theories suggested that the herbivorous dinosaurs evolved to be so large because the flora of that time was extremely tough, so a larger frame was needed to involve more bacteria in the longer digestive tract to break down the food. Bulky bodies would also have been an asset to the dinosaurs in colder climates, so that can also be a reason for their larger sizes.
Recent Theories Differ
After recent studies of various fossils, it has been found that dinosaurs of different sizes coexisted, and many species actually grew smaller as time passed, not larger. After these evidences put the previous theories in doubt, scientists came up with a newer idea that related to the bone and lung structure of the large prehistoric animals.
This new theory suggest that large animals, like the Supersaurus that might have weighed as much as 45 tons, had bones with pockets of air inside them. These air pockets helped them from collapsing as their sizes grew over time. Another factor that contributed to their larger sizes was the efficiency of their respiratory systems.
Our Own Massive Animal
However, when we take into account the might blue whale, it puts even the Supersaurus to shame. The whale is between 89 and 98 feet long, weighing around 150 tons. It’s the largest animal that has ever lived on this planet, which is a very clear indication of the fact that such massive animals were not only confined to the prehistoric times. The whale can get so heavy without collapsing because of the buoyancy that helps it in the water.
No one really knows why exactly the prehistoric animals got so big, but whatever the answer is, you cannot help but get awestruck by the presence and size of these animals every time you visit a museum that showcases their history and anatomy.