OmBut this is another aspect of their anatomy that always amazes scientists: their neck. Researchers estimate that the giraffe is more than three meters long, raising the mystery of how this animal can support its weight. Thanks to the analysis of specimens of well-preserved vertebrae, from excavations in Morocco, the team of scientists thinks they have the answer.
Inside this vertebra there seems to be a tangle in the complex assembly of the beams, which, although ultra-light, supports the weight of the tetosar’s head and neck. Cariad Williams, editor-in-chief of the journal article iScience, Before a comprehensive examination, the research team already told AFP that it suspected that the animal had an advanced internal structure on the inside of the spine.
After analyzing the scan results, the doctoral student said, “We could not believe what we found – this is one of the most unique structures we have ever seen.” States from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States. There is no similarity to this structure in the modern or extinct animal kingdom, and the researcher said she was “surprisingly unprecedented.”
The neural tube, which contains the nerves through the spine, is located in the center of the vertebrae and connects to the outer walls of the latter via fine bones called trabeculae, arranged in beams and crossing each other, like a bicycle wheel. The spokes are also arranged along the length of the vertebrae, giving it a helical appearance and further strengthening the structure.
The team of researchers then collaborated with biomechanical engineers, who calculated that with 50 bones in the shape of these beams, the weight that could support the tetosaurs increased by 90%.
The study’s co-author, David Myrtle of the University of Portsmouth in the UK, said in a statement that “these creatures solved many biomechanical questions about how they could mount their huge heads – more than 1.5 meters – with necks longer than modern giraffes – retaining flying ability”.
Relatively little is known about tetosaurs, which have previously been overlooked in scientific studies because they have not shown much interest in evolutionary research. However, David Martell and the research team say the findings are “formidably complex” and deserve further study.