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Supersized fun facts.


Big, bigger, biggest--"The World's Largest Dinosaurs" exhibition has supersized sauropods on display, and even soma little guys ... that is if you consider anything as big as a rhinoceros small.


* One of the largest sauropods, Argentinosaurus may have weighed as much as 90 tons and grown to as much as 140 feet in length--almost 10 times bigger than the largest known land mammals.

* Not all sauropods were big. Some dwarf sauropod species, Europasaurus holgeri, for instance, weighed less than one ton, or about as much as a modern rhino.

* Mamenchisaurus had one of the longest necks for its body size of any dinosaur. Sauropods used their long necks like construction cranes to avoid having to move their heavy bodies more than necessary

* The heavier an animal, the thicker its weight-bearing bones. Supersaurus--a particularly large sauropod--had huge leg bones. At its narrowest, the thigh bone was the diameter of a large dinner plate.


* In humans, skin is the biggest organ--an average adult's skin weighs 7.5 pounds, or about as much as a gallon of milk. In comparison, the skin of a Mamenchisaurus would have weighed nearly 2,400 pounds, or about as much as a small car.

* Sauropod skin was almost certainly dry and warm and, because dinosaurs had no sweat glands in their skin, they did not perspire.

* Sauropods were covered with small scales that protected the dinosaur's body and prevented evaporation of water from inside. These scales were bumpy and knobby and did not overlap like snake scales do.


* Newly hatched sauropod chicks typically were no larger than an adult goose. Mamenchisaurus chicks may have weighed less than you did as a newborn but, in just a few decades, they could grow into adults that were as much as 10,000 times heavier.

* Sauropod mothers laid between 15 and 40 basketball-sized eggs at a time, but few of their chicks survived to adulthood.


* Sauropods inhaled only four times each minute, moving about 80 quarts of air into their bodies with each breath.

* Sauropods had a highly efficient bird-like system of air storage sacs that made up part of their breathing apparatus. These pockets of air lightened their enormous bodies, perhaps by as much as 10%. In modern birds, air sacs like these can account for as much as one-third of the volume of their body cavities.


* A Mamenchisaurus heart moved an estimated total of about 630 quarts of blood through its body, compared to the seven quarts a human body contains.


* Though its body weighed 13 tons, the Mamenchisaurus' tiny head was surprisingly light, perhaps only 45 pounds.


* People once thought some sauropods had trunks, like elephants, but, in a sauropod braincase, the opening for the facial nerve is very small--much more so than in a modern elephant. This means sauropods probably had no trunks.


* Sauropods did not chew food; they swallowed it whole after tearing the tips off branches or stripping the leaves from trees with rakelike teeth.

* Mamenchisaurus had 19 neck vertebrae--more than any other sauropod. A human has seven neck vertebrae, and so does almost every other mammal--including giraffes.

* A young adult Mamenchisaurus required up to 100,000 calories a day--up to 1,150 pounds of plant matter--compared to the 2,200 calories needed daily by an adult human male.

* Like sauropods, large, living herbivorous reptiles such as Galapagos tortoises eat plants without the benefit of chewing. An inner "fermentation tank" in their gut holds food for up to 11 days, giving bacteria plenty of time to break fodder down and extract its energy. Scientists surmise sauropod "fermentation tanks" could have held much greater quantities of plant matter for as long as two weeks.

* The amount of tough plant food sauropods raked in would wear down their teeth like sandpaper. That is why some sauropods replaced them as often as once a month.
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Title Annotation:World of Science
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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