What more can we learn about long-necked dinosaurs that we don’t already know? A Macalester professor and her colleagues have found that Madagascar dinosaurs carried giant, hollow bones in their skin that may have helped them survive the harsh environments they inhabited. This discovery has shed new light on the anatomy and function of these bones in the biggest animals to ever walk on land.
“This is the biggest osteoderm ever found for any backboned-animal,” said Biology/Geology Prof. Kristi Curry Rogers, “The fact that it’s hollow debunks all sorts of ideas about how these bones functioned in long-necked dinosaurs.”
Osteoderms are bones embedded within the skin and are common among reptiles and some mammals. They create the unique pattern on the backs of crocodiles, the armor body covering on armadillos, and the distinctive plates of dinosaurs like Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus.