BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new study from the University of Alberta, Canada, discovered the mystery behind the strong muscles found in the tail of some dinosaurs. It appears that these strong muscles in the tail are the reason why dinosaurs became bipedal.
The Canadian scientists published their study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. They stated that the strong tails of the proto-dinosaur ancestors were the ones that prompted dinosaurs to start standing on two feet.
Scott Persons and Phil Currie, one of the authors of the study and renowned paleontologists, said that their study could disprove the previous conviction that dinosaurs became bipedal driven by the need to catch prey. The tail muscle explanation is far more plausible than other theories.
The scientists say that dinosaurs inherited these traits from their ancestors, some smaller proto-dinosaurs, which had strong muscles that helped them gather all the strength they needed to stand up on two feet and start moving around.
After quite a lot of time passed, these proto-dinosaurs evolved so that they were not only walking on two legs, but they started running long distances. They suffered adaptations, such as the elongation of the hind limbs, which was what allowed them to run faster.
The forelimbs reduced in size, and this helped them reduce their weight and improve their balance. In the end, many proto-dinosaurs remained only bipedal and gave up quadrupedal walking completely.
As mentioned before, there was the previous explanation that the reason why dinosaurs became bipedal was to free their forelimbs so that they could catch prey. The researchers explained that such an explanation could not be possible, since there were herbivore dinosaurs that were bipedal, too.
Also, many carnivore dinosaurs adapted and evolved small forearms which they no longer used to grab their prey. Instead, they developed strong jaws to seize the prey.
Now you may wonder why some present-day mammals which run faster, like the horse or the cheetah, did not develop bipedal walking. The explanation is simple. These mammals do not have strong tail muscles, so they are not able to stand and walk on two feet.
Also, proto-mammal ancestors developed stronger forelimbs and the researchers suggested that, at the time, they were adapting to dig and live in burrows. Thus, a muscular tail and strong back legs would have made it more difficult for them to dig.
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