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Sophie the Stegosaurus: Scientists Use 3-D Scanning Equipment to Estimate Dinosaur Weighed About 3,527 Pounds

First Posted: Mar 05, 2015 11:34 AM EST
Dinosaur exhibit

Photo : Nicky Loh/Getty

Scientist in London have become more capable of accurately estimating the weight of a Stegosaurus dinosaur by using 3-D scanning equipment. 

According to the Washington Post, paleontologists from the Natural History Museum of London estimate that Stegosaurus weighed some 3,527 pounds – coincidentally the same weight they initially guesstimated for the creature Sophie using their old, traditional methods.

The Post added researchers scanned all 360 bones of the animal's skeleton, or roughly 80 percent of the base she had in life. Once digitized, all the bones were studied for density and translated into mass using the dimensions of living animals.

"Now we know the weight, we can start to find out more about its metabolism, feeding requirements and the growth rates of Stegosaurus," Paul Barrett, the museum's chief dinosaur expert, told the Associated Press. "We can also use the same techniques on other complete fossils to find out much more about the wider ecology of dinosaurs."

All the recent findings were published in the current issue of the periodical Biology Letters

Up until around 2014, scientists hypothesized the mass of dinosaurs by making calculations based on the size of the bones in the upper arms and thighs of the creatures.

Still, critics point out just how the fickle the nature of some of the research tactics continue to be. They point out that initially the traditional method produced a weight estimate for the animal nearly twice the weight gauged by the new formula. The numbers only aligned after researchers factored in Sophie was still growing when she died and made added calculations.

Through it all, Charlotte Brassey, lead author and Natural History Museum paleontologist, insists the useful information culled from such studies is immeasurable.

"If we want to estimate how fast an animal runs, you need body mass; if you want to say something about their metabolism, you need to know their body mass," she said, adding that her next project will seek to add muscles which ultimately may be able to determine how the 150-million year-old creatures came to walk and move about.

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