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Dinosaurs may be lighter than previous thought: study

(Xinhua)

08:40, June 07, 2012

LONDON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Dinosaurs may not be as heavy as previously thought, according a study published Wednesday by British scientists who have developed a new technique to accurately measure the weight and size of dinosaurs.

Writing in the journal Biology Letters, scientists at the University of Manchester described a method whereby lasers are used to measure the minimum amount of skin required to wrap around the skeletons of modern-day mammals, including reindeer, polar bears, giraffes and elephants.

They discovered that the animals had almost exactly 21 percent more body mass than the minimum skeletal "skin and bone" warp volume, and applied this to a giant dinosaur skeleton in Berlin's Museum fur Naturkunde.

Previous estimates of its weight have varied, with estimates as high as 80 tons. But the new study reduced that figure to just 23 tons. The team says the new technique will apply to weight measures for all species of dinosaurs.

"We tested this method on 14 large-bodied mammalian skeletons and demonstrated that it consistently underestimated body mass by 21 percent," said lead author Dr Bill Sellers from the University of Manchester.

"Our method provides a much more accurate measure and shows dinosaurs, while still huge, are not as big as previously thought," he added.

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