That tail isn’t just for looks; This helped some dinosaurs cling to the genre.
Dinosaurs have been around for millions of years, but we are still learning more about them. Some small-armed, two-legged dinosaurs may have wagged their tails from side to side to help them walk, much like humans swing their arms when walking, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. .
Experts often theorize that non-flying dinosaurs used their tails in a variety of ways, but this study is the first to examine the role of tails in helping them move.
“As a key aspect of behavior in many animals, understanding locomotion is integral to understanding the biology of extant and extinct species,” the study said.
Researchers created a 3D computer simulation of a dinosaur called Coelophysis bauri, which lived 200 million years ago, using a model of the elegant crested tinmau, a South American bird that is very similar to a dinosaur.
By playing with simulations, they determined what body parts did while the dinosaurs walked, turning some on and off to test theories. And they found something surprising.
“We assumed that [the tail] It would just hang in there,” lead study author Peter Bishop told Live Science. But it turned out that the tail was doing much more than hanging.
When the tail was taken out of the simulation, it was more difficult for the dinosaur to stay balanced while running. This helps researchers build a more complete picture of how these long-extinct creatures actually moved. This may not seem like important information to know, but it has opened a door for how scientists can continue to get a more complete picture of dinosaur anatomy and movement.
“We are now ready to explore locomotion and other behaviors in a whole host of other extinct critters, not just dinosaurs,” Bishop told Gizmodo. “Pretty much anything is fair game. This is the great power of simulations – that they allow us to explore anatomy that has no modern counterpart, and thus test questions that are impossible to answer.” “
The new information is probably not limited to Coelophysis bauri.
“We speculate that this mechanism is also present in many other bipedal non-avian dinosaurs, and our methodology provides new avenues for exploring the functional diversity of dinosaur tails in the future,” the report said.