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You are here: Home Individual Projects First Funding Period (2004-2007) Project C2: Neck Posture

Project C2: Neck Posture

Title Reconstruction of the neck posture and neck utilisation in sauropods and prosauropods, and its relevance for body design
Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Andreas Christian
Researcher Dr. Gordon Dzemski
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Neck posture is a crucial feature in sauropods and prosauropods affecting biomechanics, physiology, ecology, and evolution of these animals. For various sauropods and some prosauropods, the neck posture is reconstructed using the method developed by Preuschoft (1976) which is based on a comparison of stress values in the intervertebral discs along the vertebral column. The mass distribution along the neck is estimated in different ways, assuming different degrees of pneumatisation and different amounts of soft tissue. For each species the range of possible stress values in the intervertebral discs along the neck is tested for different neck postures in order to find habitual postures which are characterised by more or less constant stress values along the neck. In order to reconstruct neck movements, lever arms of muscles, tendons, and ligaments and the articulation of adjacent neck vertebrae are analysed in selected specimens.

For comparison, neck anatomy and neck movements are being studied in long-necked vertebrates like giraffes, camels, and some birds (e.g., ostriches). Neck mechanics will be related to the overall construction of the dinosaurs studied. For this purpose, especially the dimensions of limb bones, the tail length, and the structure of the pelvis and the pectoral girdle will be analysed in some dinosaurs with different neck postures.

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