back to article Dinosaurs actually slimmer than we thought, say boffins

American researchers say they have uncovered a mathematical mistake made by the dinosaur boffinry community, meaning that the weight of live dinos has long been massively overestimated. In a development with devastating consequences for various much-fancied works of fiction, it now appears that in fact the dinosaurs were …


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  1. LaeMi Qian

    Please Please Please

    make this apply to my bathroom scales too!


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious really... the dinosaurs didn't have TV, cars or snack-foods.

  3. Simon Neill

    I can see it now...

    "Oh no! I'm being chased by a dinosaur!"

    "Don't worry, they overestimated the weight by about 50%!"

    "Oh good, so its only a 16ton dinosaur chasing us not 32? This changes everything!"

  4. Ray0x6

    So what if, right...

    Men and dinosaurs actually WERE alive at the same time? Does this mean we'd have had more chance to kill them before they ate us? Or would this mean they were MORE hungry, and therefore more dangerous? C'mon, give us the dope! What's the real-world conclusion, here?

  5. AndrewG

    Oh great

    So the velociraptors were event faster and jumped higher, and the T-Rexs could outrun a range rover...note that slimmer dosn't mean less teeth.

    Odd for Americans to be putting their dinosaurs on a diet though (Cheese hadn't been invented?)

  6. TeeCee Gold badge


    So, what's the maximum speed of a T-Rex these days and can you still outrun one in a 4x4 on rough terrain like they could in the movies with the lardier version?

    I'd hate to be the one who got this one wrong......

  7. Robert Ramsay


    would that be an African or a European T-Rex?

  8. A J Stiles


    Americans ..... they are the ones who think the Earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed at the same time, aren't they?

    Why should we believe a word they say about dinosaurs?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Simon Neill

    "Oh good, so its only a 16ton dinosaur chasing us not 32? This changes everything!"

    Too right it does: it means the damn thing is going to catch you, and quickly.

  10. Gianni Straniero

    Palaeontologists apply scientific menthod: shock report

    This research appears to be a good deal more, er, robust than that nonsense about dinosaurs holding their heads a bit higher "because geese do it."

    Regarding Jurassic Park, there's no need for Spielberg et al. to feel bad about this. The dinosaurs on Isla Nublar were not the genuine article, having been fashioned from fragmentary dino DNA liberally seasoned with the genes of other animals.

    The novel is explicit about this: Dr Henry Wu felt free to mess with the saurian genome to create animals which met the expectations of park visitors, even assigning version numbers to successive iterations just like software (and there's your IT angle). Early versions of the velociraptors were too fast, for example, so he slowed them down a bit, the better to take their pictures.

    In the film, somewhat inexplicably, the palette of animals from which Wu painted the Jurassic Park exhibits was reduced to a single species: a frog. This allowed the film-makers to retain the plot device in which the dinosaurs spontaneously changed sex.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @what's the maximum speed of a T-Rex

    African or European?

  12. Annihilator Silver badge


    Well there was no bread back in those eras (from what we assume) so it was presumably a low-carb diet all round for the carnivores.

    Although they were faster, from my experiences of the people on Atkins, you would be able to smell them coming a mile off.

  13. John Latham

    @Simon Neill

    If the 16t dino had been estimated at 32t, the weight would have been overestimated by 100%, not 50%.

    Punchlines with unintentional mathematical/semantic errors are much less funny.


  14. Jason 56

    "... dainty and light on their feet" ?!

    @Lewis Page,

    I for one would not imply a slenderer, and therefore faster - much, much faster! - razor-toothed killing machine as being gay (ref. your comment on being light on their feet).

    In fact, may I be the first to welcome our new slenderer, faster - much, much faster! - razor-toothed and very clearly heterosexual killing machine overlords...

    Sorry about that. Mine's the one with the Men's Health magazine in the pocket...


  15. Mark Lawson

    The T plan

    So dinosaurs were never fat, they were just big boned...

    I'll get my coat - its the one made out of genetically-modified T-Rex skin.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AA J Stiles

    "Americans ..... they are the ones who think the Earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed at the same time, aren't they?"

    And you think they coexisted at different times?

  17. Ann Elk

    A Theory

    My theory states that dinosaurs were thin at both ends , but thicker in the middle. This is well known theory ( its been shown on the telly long ago when i woz longer ).

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: A Theory

    "its been shown on the telly long ago when i woz longer"

    What happened? Did a 32 ton (or even only 16 ton) dinosaur stand on you?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AJ Stiles

    <quote>A 2006 survey for the BBC found that more than a fifth of those polled were convinced by the creationist argument. Less than half - 48% - chose evolution.</quote>

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I agree with...

    ...Ray0x6. Does this mean we could jump higher, run faster, be stronger?

    Could we go mano a mano with a raptor? More info please.

  21. A B 3

    So does make them High Octane?

    Oil being composed of dead animals and assorted amoeba colonies (coral?) A useful gift nature (or does God run a Petroleum refinery?). lol

  22. Ann Elk



  23. Anonymous Coward

    Ok, who doesn't see a problem here?

    After all, the article states they were doing these statistical number games with an elephant; a mammal; not a lizard or reptile in sight.. Two entirely different body types and metabolisms. Let's see...I'm gonna make up a new set up numbers that makes them fatter than all get out...

    Skull and crossbones 'cuz that's all that would be left once t-rex got it's lardy body on you anyway.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Christoph

    @ Robert Ramsay

    Both the African and the European dinosaurs were slim. What caused all this problem was the American dinosaurs, which were massively fat and weighed twice as much as other dinosaurs.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @@what's the maximum speed of a T-Rex

    >"African or European?"

    Oh, I dunno, err....yyeEEAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh >plummet<

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    You don't recognize the world famous Anne Elk (sic), author of Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses?

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So more like the last Godzilla?

    Sorf of a Michael Jordan dino, not a Meatloaf dino.

    You know what's in my side pocket.

  29. Anonymous John


    If the EU had existed then, it might have insisted on dinosaur passports, and agreements not to eat your own dinos. . With photos and detailed info that could settled the arguments.

  30. Barrie Swan


    Anne Elk (Miss)

    yes I'm old and sad...

  31. Steven Jones

    A counter-example

    Two words proving that dinosaurs really are that porky:-

    John Prescott

    Case proven I feel...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC for African or European

    Given that I didn't know what a Merkin was until someone was polite enough to explain it...

    You need to watch Monty Python's Grail movie (really... all of them would be preferable).

  33. Greg Trocchia

    @A J Stiles

    "Americans ..... they are the ones who think the Earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed at the same time, aren't they?

    Why should we believe a word they say about dinosaurs?"

    It may, though it shouldn't, come as a surprise to find that in a country with over 300 million people, there is a considerable diversity of opinion. While I know that the Young Earth Creationists are definitely noisy and make good subjects for articles or other forms of journalism, there are plenty of Americans who are as appalled at their blanket rejection of scientific fact as anyone overseas. For every Ben Stein, Kent Hovind, or Casey Luskin that you can blame on America there is a P. Z. Meyers, Steven J. Gould, or Ken Miller that we can claim to our credit. (Big Hint- Americans publishing articles like "Allometric equations for predicting body mass of dinosaurs" in places like Journal of Zoology belong in the second category).

    While I will agree that, to our shame, the percentage of Americans who subscribe to "Flintstones Paleontology" is way too high, still, blanket condemnation of the entire country is not called for.

  34. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Otherwise known as ...

    ... the anorexisaurus

  35. RichardSmith

    That would explain how Bontosaurous can walk...

    I read somewhere that calculations of the amount of oxygen that they could get with their lungs was not sufficient to allow them to walk. A slimmer dino would presumably be able to walk, run, gambol, cavort & frolic. But could they tango?

  36. Sancho

    Title required

    I am an American who can attest to the ignorance of fundamentalism as my father and two uncles are preachers. Dinosaurs are always a difficult subject for them to explained. Maybe now that their thinner they could cram many more on Noah's imaginary boat.

    It depresses me but I must agree with the BBC. Half of American's do believe the earth was created in 6 days 6,000 years ago. Logic eludes them.

  37. displacedtexan

    @Greg Trocchia

    "While I will agree that, to our shame, the percentage of Americans who subscribe to "Flintstones Paleontology" is way too high, still, blanket condemnation of the entire country is not called for."

    I consider myself to be a fairly religious, or spiritual, person (especially when compared to our heathenistic European and British friends) but I don't see any incompatibility with Biblical teachings and science. The Bible isn't a book of science, it's a book of religion / philosophy / life lessons, whatever, and I see the Biblical story of the creation as more metaphor than literal truth. To try to make it a book of science does a disservice to both spiritual matters as well as to science.

  38. Greg Trocchia


    You might be interested in a YouTube video (by another American, I might add) which addresses this topic:

  39. Ed Gould

    re:So what if, right...

    Does this mean Rachel Welsh was even skinnier than some dinosaurs ??!!!

    Stop the presses its time to rewrite films.

  40. _Sky_

    The upshot

    The Upshot is that everybody can be bamboozeled by "Science" if enough fellow scientists will climb on board with what you are saying. Global Climate Change is a current example. CO2 MAY actually play a minor role in temps. With Sunspotrs being the most likely cause of temp fluctuation. Who's ever thought to question the dino bone formula? Very few it seems.

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