Ostrich Necks Hints of Flexibility in Dinosaurs

OstrichA study published in the journal PLOS ONE based on modern day ostriches suggests that the neck movements of dinosaurs were stiff. According to the researchers, neck muscles of sauropods dinosaurs had a thick mass, thus, posing constraints in their movements. The research was conducted at the University of Utah.

Before this, scientists have been studying sauropod flexibility and neck postures on the basis of a computer model. However, the recent study suggests that the computer model does not help the scientists to understand that the soft tissues like cartilage were not present in dinosaur bones.

According to Matthew Cobley, Research Author, less flexibility in the ostriches is because of the muscle mass in their neck. The research team first observed and measured the flexibility of three ostriches with all the muscle tissues; later on they removed the tissues gradually in order to see the changes. It was found that neck of these female ostriches were less flexible when the tissues were intact.

"That demonstrates that a computer model that doesn't take soft tissues into account can't be adequate, when you look at extinct animals, you have to consider soft tissue," said Cobley. He added that computer models need to be made on the real data of living animals otherwise they only lead to the confusion.