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Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Dimensions
1.B. K. Ahlborn, Zoological Physics (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2006); J. T. Bonner, Why Size Matters: From Bacteria to Blue Whales (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2006); A. Shingleton, “Allometry: The study of biological scaling,” Nat. Educ. Knowl. 3 (10) 2, (2010).
3.P. Christiansen, “Long bone scaling and limb posture in non-avian theropods: Evidence for differential allometry,” J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 19, 666–680 (1999).
4.P. Larson, “Variation and sexual dimorphism in Tyrannosaurus rex,” in Tyrannosaurus rex: The Tyrant King, edited by Peter Larson and Kenneth Carpenter (Indiana University Press, 2008), pp. 103–128.
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6.A. A. Biewener, “Biomechanical consequences of scaling,” J. Exp. Biol. 208, 1665–1676 (2005).
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Finding topics that inspire students is an important aspect of any physics course. Virtually everyone is fascinated by Tyrannosaurus rex, and the excitement of the class is palpable when we explore scaling effects in T. rex and other bipedal theropod dinosaurs as part of our discussion of mechanics and elasticity. In this paper, we explore the role of longitudinal stress in the femur bones due to the weight of the dinosaur in determining how the geometry of the femur changes with size of the theropod. This is one area of allometry the study of how different biological characteristics scale with size. 1
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