Neck length and mean arterial pressure in the sauropod dinosaurs
Hughes, Stephen, Barry, John, Russell, Jeremy, Bell, Robert, & Gurung, Som (2016) Neck length and mean arterial pressure in the sauropod dinosaurs. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219(8), pp. 1154-1161.
Administrators only until 15 April 2017 | Request a copy from author
How blood was able to reach the heads of the long-necked sauropod dinosaurs has long been a matter of debate and several hypotheses have been presented. For example, it has been proposed that sauropods had exceptionally large hearts, multiple ‘normal’ sized hearts spaced at regular intervals up the neck or held their necks horizontal, or that the siphon effect was in operation. By means of an experimental model, we demonstrate that the siphon principle is able to explain how blood was able to adequately perfuse the sauropod brain. The return venous circulation may have been protected from complete collapse by a structure akin to the vertebral venous plexus. We derive an equation relating neck height and mean arterial pressure, which indicates that with a mean arterial pressure similar to that of the giraffe, the maximum safe vertical distance between heart and head would have been about 12 m. A hypothesis is presented that the maximum neck length in the fossil record is due to the siphon height limit. The equation indicates that to migrate over high ground, sauropods would have had to either significantly increase their mean arterial pressure or keep their necks below a certain height dependent on altitude.
Impact and interest:
Citation counts are sourced monthly from and citation databases.
These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.
Citations counts from theindexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||dinosaur, sauropod, siphon, circulation, internal jugular vein, vertebral venous plexus|
|Divisions:||Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2016 The Company of Biologists Ltd|
|Deposited On:||17 Apr 2016 23:53|
|Last Modified:||26 Apr 2016 05:32|
Repository Staff Only: item control page