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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 03:39 GMT 04:39 UK


Sci/Tech

Dinosaurs kept their heads down


It has always been thought that long-necked dinosaurs like the brontosaurus ate from the tree tops like giraffes.


Christine McGourty reports on the new findings
But scientists who have modelled their movements with computers say the animals would have had difficulty lifting their heads and must have grazed along the ground for food instead.

It is thought that it would have been difficult to pump sufficient blood up a long near-vertical neck to the dinosaur's head if it was browsing from tree tops.

Now scientists have made computer models of the neck postures of two dinosaurs - the brontosaurus and the diplodocus.

When they put the virtual dinosaurs through their paces they found the most relaxed posture for the neck was pointing slightly downward and the head was close to the ground.

The conclusion, reported in Science magazine, was that the animals must have grazed along the ground and not among the treetops.



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