Sauropods, those huge plant-eating dinosaurs, possessed bodies that seem to defy every natural law. What were these creatures like as living animals and how could they reach such uniquely gigantic sizes? A dedicated group of researchers in Germany in disciplines ranging from engineering and materials science to animal nutrition and paleontology went in search of the answers to these questions. Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs reports on the latest results from this seemingly disparate group of research fields and integrates them into a coherent theory regarding sauropod gigantism. Covering nutrition, physiology, growth, and skeletal structure and body plans, Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs presents the most up-to-date knowledge about the biology of these enormous dinosaurs.
"While the book appears to be dauntingly scientific, it is actually remarkably accessible, even for the nonscientific reader. Dinosaur lovers will find it very interesting, while scientists will be deeply impressed by the research and results of the multidisciplinary approach."
– Library Journal, August 5, 2011
"Provide[s] much new information on the biology of Sauropod dinosaurs; information extrapolated from studies of extant animals and from unique, new methodologies for examining fossil material."
– Virginia Tidwell, Denver Museum of Nature and Science
"The 18 articles in this collection are the fruit of seven years of collaborative effort, and shed much light on sauropod anatomy and physiology [...] A valuable acquisition for college libraries [...] Highly recommended."
– Choice, September 2011
"Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs [...] is full of new hypotheses and will enliven debates on sauropods for many years to come."
– Geological Magazine
"This book is highly recommended for any library with natural history collections. It is a superb compendium of the latest sauropod research at a reasonable price."
– American Reference Books
"This is a beautifully produced volume that will prove invaluable to anyone interested in the biology of Mesozoic vertebrates."
– Qtly Review of Biology
List of Contributors
List of Institutional Abbreviations
1. Sauropod Biology and the Evolution of Gigantism: What Do We Know? / Marcus Clauss
Part 1. Nutrition
2. Sauropod Feeding and Digestive Physiology / Jürgen Hummel and Marcus Clauss
3. Dietary Options for the Sauropod Dinosaurs from an Integrated Botanical and Paleobotanical Perspective / Carole T. Gee
4. The Diet of Sauropod Dinosaurs: Implications of Carbon Isotope Analysis on Teeth, Bones, and Plants / Thomas Tütken
Part 2. Physiology
5. Structure and Function of the Sauropod Respiratory System / Steven F. Perry, Thomas Breuer, and Nadine Pajor
6. Reconstructing Body Volume and Surface Area of Dinosaurs Using Laser Scanning and Photogrammetry / Stefan Stoinski, Tim Suthau, and Hanns-Christian Gunga
7. Body Mass Estimation, Thermoregulation, and Cardiovascular Physiology of Large Sauropods / Bergita Ganse, Alexander Stahn, Stefan Stoinski, Tim Suthau, and Hanns-Christian Gunga
Part 3. Construction
8. How to Get Big in the Mesozoic: The Evolution of the Sauropodomorph Body Plan / Oliver W. M. Rauhut, Regina Fechner, Kristian Remes, and Katrin Reis
9. Characterization of Sauropod Bone Structure / Maïtena Dumont, Anke Pyzalla, Aleksander Kostka, and Andras Borbély
10. Finite Element Analyses and Virtual Syntheses of Biological Structures and Their Application to Sauropod Skulls / Ulrich Witzel, Julia Mannhardt, Rainer Goessling, Pascal de Micheli, and Holger Preuschoft
11. Walking with the Shoulder of Giants: Biomechanical Conditions in the Tetrapod Shoulder Girdle as a Basis for Sauropod Shoulder Reconstruction / Bianca Hohn
12. Why So Huge? Biomechanical Reasons for the Acquisition of Large Size in Sauropod and Theropod Dinosaurs / Holger Preuschoft, Bianca Hohn, Stefan Stoinski, and Ulrich Witzel
13. Plateosaurus in 3D: How CAD Models and Kinetic-Dynamic Modeling Bring an Extinct Animal to Life / Heinrich Mallison
14. Rearing Giants: Kinetic-Dynamic Modeling of Sauropod Bipedal and Tripodal Poses / Heinrich Mallison
15. Neck Posture in Sauropods / Andreas Christian and Gordon Dzemski
Part 4. Growth
16. The Life Cycle of Sauropod Dinosaurs / Eva-Maria Griebeler and Jan Werner
17. Sauropod Bone Histology and Its Implications for Sauropod Biology / P. Martin Sander, Nicole Klein, Koen Stein, and Oliver Wings
Part 5. Epilogue
18. Skeletal Reconstruction of Brachiosaurus brancai in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin: Summarizing 70 Years of Sauropod Research / Kristian Remes, David M. Unwin, Nicole Klein, Wolf-Dieter Heinrich, and Oliver Hampe
Appendix: Compilation of Published Body Mass Data for a Variety of Basal Sauropodomorphs and Sauropods
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Nicole Klein is a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Bonn who specializes in sauropodomorph dinosaur bone histology and marine reptiles from the Middle Triassic Muschelkalk deposits of Central Europe. She has done extensive fieldwork in many parts of the world, including Alaska and Nevada in the United States, and Ethiopia.
Kristian Remes has studied sauropodomorph anatomy, functional morphology, and phylogeny. He played a major role in the remounting of the famous Brachiosaurus skeleton in the newly renovated Dinosaur Hall at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. He is now a program director at the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Carole T. Gee, a senior research scientist at the University of Bonn, has worked on the Mesozoic flora for the last 25 years. She is the Research Unit's paleobotanist and answers questions on sauropod herbivory and the Mesozoic vegetation. Her research applies the knowledge of living plants and their ecological preferences to the interpretation of fossil plants and their habitats, and also includes studies on Eocene mangroves, Tertiary fruits and seeds, and plant taphonomy.
P. Martin Sander is a professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Bonn and head of the DFG Research Unit 533 "Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs: The Evolution of Gigantism." His research interests are the major events in the evolution of tetrapod vertebrates and how the fossil record helps us to understand them. His core expertise is the microstructure of dinosaur bone and the diversity and evolution of marine reptiles.