It’s not easy being extinct. Case in point: — the Giraffatitan. Lost its family (used to be considered the African version of the brachiosaurus.) Lost its claim as the largest dinosaur known (to three species of titanosaurians). Now it’s lost 61 tons!
The traditional method of estimating dinosaur mass was to measure the circumference of leg bones, compare that with the circumference in modern animals, and scale up the result to the size of a dinosaur. These calculations were simplified by modeling leg bones as columnar beams – which may have underestimated the stresses experienced in animal limbs by up to 142 percent.
Researchers have been at work on a new and more accurate system of mass prediction. The new method shows Giraffatitan’s body massed only 25 tons – dramatically less than in previous estimates, which ranged from 31 to 86 tons.
Twenty five tons – 50,000 pounds? That’s not even half the weight aboard the average illegally-loaded tractor-trailer riding an Ohio interstate on its way to Michigan!