Project E6: Evolution of Locomotion
|Title||The evolution of sauropodomorph locomotion and its adaption to a giant body size: insights from CAD and kinematical computer modelling|
|Principal Investigator||Dr. Heinrich Mallison|
The development of giant body sizes requires major adaptations in the skeleton, influencing locomotion significantly. In this project, the methods developed to investigate the locomotion of Plateosaurus in the previous project (C6) will be applied to other prosauropods and to sauropods. These include detailed computer aided determination of body masses and mass distribution (position of center of gravity), kinematical computer modeling of posture and gaits as well as comparison of these through the phylogenetic tree of the Sauropodomorpha. Where necessary, detailed analyses of joint mobility will be undertaken with the aid of 3D computer models of individual bones.
The evolution of sauropodomorph locomotion and its adaptation to giant size are more complex than previously expected, and a thorough analysis of cursorial and weight bearing adaptations of the main groups of sauropods and their stem line will allow new insights into the ecological roles of these important herbivores.Also, the kinematical modeling approach for locomotion will be extended to analyze sauropodomorph trackways, both by predicting track patterns from models and by forcing models to walk fossil tracks. This serves on one hand as a check on the accuracy and reliability of the modeling. On the other hand, new conclusions will be possible about the completeness of the ichnological record of sauropodomorphs and its interpretation.