Scientists might have finally concluded what Sophie the Stegosaurus might have weighed while she was alive. Historically known as one of the most well-known dinosaurs in the history of science, as well as one of the most-complete dinosaur skeletons that humans have ever obtained – this event will mark as one of the most-significant for the study of dinosaurs. Sophie currently resides in London’s Natural History Museum, which is where the research and analysis actually took place to determine her actual weight when she was a living, breathing, dinosaur.
The team determined that she was likely 1.6 tons when she died, and was likely a young adult – being approximately 25-30% through her potential lifespan. Impressively, the skeleton is 85% in tact, and that means scientists were able to use a 3D computer system to actually put Sophie together again and determine how much she probably weighed when she died. This is all impressive because before now, scientists have been forced to project what the weight of a dinosour might have been based on the things they recovered and the information they knew about the weight of those bones.
The challenge though, according to the scientists involved was actually making an accurate determination. The team pointed out that really it came down to the growth and the size of the bones that were recovered. Depending on what the team found, they would then be able to make a decision regarding the overall weight of the animal. Interestingly, this 3D mapping that the team executed was the first of its kind, and produced a figure for Sophie’s weight that was literally about half of what the original projections were.
Charlotte Brassey, lead author and Natural History Museum paleontologist pointed out that really this is important to determine what is real, and what is fiction when it comes to these dinosaurs. Getting a proper weight estimate is key, as she pointed out that, “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.”
The research that was conducted and found though proves that there is still a lot to be learned from dinosaurs, and when it comes to growing the base of knowledge that we currently have on prehistoric creatures – getting accurate weight measurements is going to be key in this process.