Swamp-dweller or landlubber? Science News, January 30, 1971

Through the years paleontologists have progressed a photo of the appearance and habits of numerous dinosaurs … Giant herbivores with long necks and tails, such as the Brontosaurus, have actually almost invariably been presented as swamp-dwelling semiaquatic animals … A young Yale University paleontologist, nevertheless, now maintains that the anatomy of the Brontosaurus points clearly to a life on land.


Argument over whether Brontosaurus and its fellow sauropods splashed through swamps or ambled over dry land has persisted for years. That suggested Brontosaurus and its kin were resilient, though the finding did not prove the dinos swam ( SN: 4/29/89, p. 261). Later research studies of pollen and plants protected near Brontosaurus fossils have shown that the dino stomped through a semiarid landscape, no floaties needed.

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A variation of this short article appears in the January 30, 2021 concern of Science News


C. T. Gee, Ed. Plants in Mesozoic Time: Morphological Innovations, Phylogeny, Ecosystems. Bloomington: Indiana University Press,2010 muse.jhu.edu/book/1554

G. F. Engelmann et al. The implications of a dry environment for the paleoecology of the fauna of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Development. Sedimentary Geology, Vol. 167, May 15,2004 Doi: 10.1016/ j.sedgeo.200401008

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R. T. Bakker. Ecology of the Brontosaurs. Nature, Vol. 229, January 15, 1971, p.172 doi: 10.1038/229172 a0.

Bethany Brookshire

Bethany is the staff author at Science News for Students She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medication.


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