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Dinosaur weight/mass

Dinosaur weights are generally estimated by calculating the volume of a dinosaur that has been based on its skeletal structure and then using an average weight of bone and tissue per unit volume to calculate mass. The accuracy of the models obviously can have considerable bearing on the results, as can assumptions about the average weight of tissues in reptiles, birds, and mammals; but this method provides a general idea of how heavy extinct animals were.

Weighing a Dinosaur. Lawrence, R. Everest Junior High School, Schofield, WI.  School activity for grades 6-8 (or older) that shows students how to measure the volume of toy dinosaurs in water, scale their toy to the actual length of the dinosaur, and then calculate the mass of the actual dinosaur from the volumes they estimated.

Estimating the Live Mass of Dinosaurs. Tim Culp and Harry Wolf. Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute. High School activity that shows students how to measure the volume of toy dinosaurs in water, scale their toy to the actual length of the dinosaur, and then calculate the mass of the actual dinosaur from the volumes they estimated.

Why do dinosaur weight estimates vary so much?  Mike Taylor. Brief explanation of methods for determining dinosaur weights and the reasons for variations in the weights interepreted.

Dinosaur Size. Wikipedia. Online encyclopedia reference of the longest, most massive, and smallest dinosaurs in each of several dinosaur groups. Check most massive sauropods to discover the heaviest dinosaurs (and land animals) of all time. A large list of heavy sauropods provides estimates of weights for different genera and the technical references for the weights.

Mike Taylor provides the following technical references for estimating dinosaur weights from the dinosaur mailing list. Some may be available online. Colbert (1962) developed the original calculations that have been used or modified by many scientists.

• Alexander, R. McNeill.  1985.  Mechanics of posture and gait of some large dinosaurs: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 83: 1-25.
• Alexander, R. McNeill.  1989.  Dynamics of Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Giants.  Columbia University Press, New York.  167 pp.
• Colbert, Edwin H.  1962.  The weights of dinosaurs.  American Museum Novitates, 2076, pp. 1-16.
• Henderson, Donald M.  1999.  Estimating the masses and centers of mass of extinct animals by 3-D mathematical slicing.
• Mazzetta, Gerardo V., Per Christiansen and Richard A. Farina.  2004. Giants and Bizarres: Body Size of Some Southern South American Cretaceous Dinosaurs.  Historical Biology, 2004, 1-13.
• Paul, G. S. 1988. The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison and Tendaguru with a description of a new subgenus, Giraffatitan, and a comparison of the world's largest dinosaurs.  Hunteria 2 (3): 1-14.
• Paul, G. S.  1997.  Dinosaur models: the good, the bad, and using them to estimate the mass of dinosaurs. Pp. 129-154 in D. L.  Wolberg, E. Stump, and G. D. Rosenberg, eds. DinoFest International: Proceedings of a Symposium Sponsored by Arizona State University. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.