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Science: Heavy Going

1 minute read
TIME

Last week a paleontologist announced that he had found the answer to a question which has preoccupied paleontologists for years: could the sauropod walk out of water? It is fairly well established that the sauropods, big vegetarian dinosaurs weighing up to 40 tons, were dependent for their existence on bodies of water in which grew vast quantities of water plants. Some fossil men have also supposed that, on account of their great weight, the monsters had to stay in the water all the time for its buoying effect—that on dry land their legs would buckle. Others disagreed.

Paleontologist Roland T. Bird of Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History found a sauropod trail near Glen Rose, Texas. Taking twelve feet at a stride, the creature had ambled down to the edge of an ancient river, crossed it, walked out on the other side. Thus it was clear that the sauropods could travel overland, for short distances at least. But the feet of Dr. Bird’s great sauropod sank into the soggy ground two feet at every step.

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