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Bonn scientists simulate dinosaur digestion in the lab
Date:2/6/2008

This release is also available in German.

Scientists from the University of Bonn are researching which plants giant dinosaurs could have lived off more than 100 million years ago. They want to find out how the dinosaurs were able to become as large as they did. In actual fact such gigantic animals should not have existed. The results of the research have now been published in the journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B'.

Take 200 milligrammes of dried and ground equisetum, ten millilitres of digestive juice from sheep's rumen, a few minerals, carbonate and water. Fill a big glass syringe with the mix, clamp this into a revolving drum and put the whole thing into an incubator, where the brew can rotate slowly. In this way you obtain the artificial 'dinosaur rumen'. With this apparatus (also used as a Menke gas production technique in assessing food for cows) Dr. Jrgen Hummel from the Bonn Institute of Animal Sciences (Bonner Institut fr Tierwissenschaften) is investigating which plants giant dinosaurs could have lived off more than 100 million years ago, since this is one of the pieces which are still missing in the puzzle involving the largest land animals that ever walked the earth. The largest of these 'sauropod dinosaurs' with their 70 to 100 tonnes had a mass of ten full grown elephants or more than 1000 average Germans.

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How the dinosaurs could ever attain this size is something which scientists from Germany and Switzerland are investigating. The Bonn palaeontologist, Professor Martin Sander, the coordinator of the research group 'Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs: The Evolution of Gigantism', says, 'There is a law to which most animals living today conform. The larger an animal, the smaller the density of the population, i.e. the fewer animals of the same species there are per square kilometre.' The larg
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Contact: Juergen Hummel
Jhum@itw.uni-bonn.de
49-022-873-2281
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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