Navigation Links
A shrunken giant
Date:5/3/2010

This release is available in German.

In 1895, the sister of an eccentric palaeontologist called Franz Baron Nopcsa discovered small dinosaur bones on their family estate in Transylvania. Nopcsa interpreted these as the remains of dwarfed animals that had once lived on an island. Among these finds were a number of bones belonging to a sauropod dinosaur which Nopcsa named Magyarosaurus dacus, after his native country.

A team of scientists led by Koen Stein and Professor Dr. Martin Sander from the University of Bonn, decided to cut up the fossil bones of the dwarfed dinosaur and study their microstructure. "It's astonishing that the microanatomy of these bones has been preserved for us to study after 70 million years," says Stein, who carried out the research as part of his PhD studies. "Bone is a living tissue, and throughout an animal's life it is constantly dissipating and building up again." Humans, for example, have completely resorbed and rebuilt their skeleton by the time they are fully grown. This also occurred in sauropod dinosaurs. "We were able to distinguish these rebuilding features in Magyarosaurus, which prove that the little dinosaur was fully grown," Koen Stein explains.

A dwarf among giants

Over the years, palaeontologists have frequently debated the question of whether or not the Magyarosaurus was a dwarf. Martin Sander, spokesperson of the Research Group on Sauropod Biology funded by Germany's central research funding foundation the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) notes, "An animal the size of a horse may not seem like a dwarf to most people but, in sauropod terms, it's tiny!" When Magyarosaurus was discovered in Transylvania (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the palaeontologist Nopcsa advanced the idea that Magyarosaurus was an island dwarf, but he could not prove it back then, at the beginning of the 20th century. Many discoveries have since indicated that his theory might be correct, especially the fossils of dwarf elephants and hippopotamuses found on Mediterranean islands like Sicily, Malta and Cyprus.

However, scientists first pursued a different theory. For in the subsequent decades, other researchers found big sauropod bones on the Transylvanian site. They therefore concluded that Magyarosaurus was simply a youngster, while the larger bones came from fully grown adults.

The study now being published provides conclusive evidence that Nopcsa's hunch had been right all along. "Our study shows that dinosaurs on islands were subject to the same ecological and evolutionary processes that shape modern mammals," explains Martin Sander. "We were also able to demonstrate that the bigger bones found in that area belong to a different dinosaur species." Whether they come from stray animals who swam to the island from the mainland, or from large ancestors of the dwarf Magyarosaurus, remains a secret shrouded in the mists of pre-historic time.


'/>"/>

Contact: Koen Stein
koen_stein@yahoo.co.uk
49-228-736-0051
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Giant sequoias yield longest fire history from tree rings
2. Sequencing, annotation and comparative analysis of nine BACs of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
3. Giant panda genome reveals new insights into the bears bamboo diet
4. Canopy giants and miniature fungi among 250 new species discovered in Kews 250th anniversary year
5. Microorganism may provide key to combating giant salvinia throughout Louisiana
6. Report documents the risks of giant invasive snakes in the US
7. Scientists rebuild giant moa using ancient DNA
8. Doubling a gene in corn results in giant biomass
9. Tall tale of giant stingray circles the globe
10. Doubling a gene in corn results in giant biomass
11. Discovery of giant roaming deep sea protist provides new perspective on animal evolution
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
A shrunken giant
(Date:4/11/2017)... DUBLIN , Apr. 11, 2017 Research ... Tracking Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at ... The report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... -- NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and ... furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer ... guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... , April 27, 2017  Pendant Biosciences, Inc. (formerly ... surface modification and drug delivery technologies, today announced that ... JLABS @ Toronto . ... of Pendant Biosciences, noted, "We are excited to become ... community, and are honored to be the first ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 25, 2017 , ... LABS, Inc. ... were added to its extensive test menu: Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) for ZIKV; ... LABS was only able to offer NAT screening for blood donors under an Investigational ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... ... As part of the Stago EdVantage Virtual University Virtual Event, ... order to illuminate this clinical problem for people unfamiliar with the topic. , DIC ... high degree of morbidity and mortality. DIC is a confusing disorder from both diagnostic ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... Los Gatos, California (PRWEB) , ... April 25, ... ... of business, Analytical Services and Metrology Partners.     , Covalent’s Analytical Services ... labs. Most samples can be measured within 24 hours of receipt. There are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: