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You are here: Home Individual Projects First Funding Period (2004-2007) Project C6: Plateosaurus in Motion

Project C6: Plateosaurus in Motion

Title Plateosaurus quantified: New mathematical method to estimate body mass mass distribution and kinematic analysis of locomotion
Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Pfretzschner
Researcher Heinrich Mallison


In this project, highly accurate calculations of the bodymass and the mass distribution in the body of Plateosaurus engelhardti will be the basis for biomechanical analyses of the locomotion. Plateosaurus is a good model for the evolutionary grade just at the root of the sauropod lineage. A better understanding of its biomechanics allows deeper insight into the cursorial and weight-bearing adaptations of the later sauropods.

For the first time, a 3D-laser scanner is used to digitize the shape of the skeleton. The outline of the body surface is modeled as three-dimensional polynomal regression equations, which are fitted to the skeleton dimensions. This new technique allows the calculation of surface areas, volumes, and of the mass distribution of this dinosaur species. On the basis of these data, a biomechanical model of Plateosaurus is being created with the software package MSC.visualNastran 4D. With this program, the kinematics of the locomotion of Plateosaurus will be analysed. This will include studies of the posture and of the gait. Additionally, the musculature of the front leg and hand will be reconstructed for a better understanding of the function of the front limb during walking and during feeding.

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