How Dinosaurs Evolved To Stand On Their Own Two Feet

Posted: Mar 4 2017, 4:59am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

How Dinosaurs Evolved to Stand on Their own Two Feet
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  • The Story of How Ancient Dinosaurs Evolved to Stand on their Own Two Feet

The story of how ancient dinosaurs evolved to stand on their own two feet is an interesting one.

A group of scientists have developed a theory as to why dinosaurs evolved from walking on all fours towards a bipedal lifestyle. This bipedalism was a borrowed trait from even more ancient proto-dinosaurs that were tiny to boot.

The authors of the study mentioned how the tails were the main factor in this evolution towards bipedalism. These tails had large muscles that were driven by the legs. These stabilizing muscles that were so powerful allowed these dinosaurs to stand on their two hind feet without any kind of support.

This trend is also seen in some lizards in modern times. Proto-dinosaurs not only ran at a fast pace but covered large distances. They were a hardy species that were born tough and built for endurance. T

heir hind legs evolved to become longer with time. This increased their sprinting speed as well. The relatively smaller forelimbs ensured that overall poundage decreased and their center of gravity was improved in the process as well.

Ultimately, with the passage of time, these dinosaurs gave up the quadruped lifestyle and adopted bipedalism on a wholescale manner.

The study explodes the myth of proto-dinosaurs standing upright in order to free their forelimbs for tearing up their prey. Such was not the case despite its beauty as an explanatory theory.

That is because many of these ancient dinosaurs were plant-eaters. The dinosaurs that were meat-eaters in fact seized their prey with their big and powerful jaws that had a vice-like grip.

The only question left is why modern animals that run very fast, such as horses and cheetahs, do not happen to be bipedal in their behavior.

This is actually because mammals do not have these large tail-powered legs to begin with. The fossil archives show us that our earliest mammalian ancestors lost these large leg-based tail muscles right from the start.

We are talking about the Permian Period in prehistory some 252 million years ago. These proto-mammals lived in dens and had bodies that were adapted to burrowing underneath the ground.

They thus had strong forelimbs. The hind legs were not very large since that would have been a hindrance in their burrowing capabilities. The tail-bone vanished for this reason alone that while escaping from a predator, these mammals had to save their skin.

As they entered their burrows in a hurry, the predator didn’t have a chance at catching them by their tails. Rabbits, badgers and moles all show this characteristic.

Furthermore, this underground existence saved these proto-mammals from surefire extinction. While the dinosaurs died out, these mammals survived.

This research got published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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