World’s biggest dinosaur takes first steps in 94 million years – digitally, that is

worlds biggest dinosaur takes first steps 94 million years digitally argentinosaurus

When a group of scientists claimed the size of the world’s biggest dinosaur must have been exaggerated as such a huge creature would never have been able to walk, a research team at the UK’s Manchester University decided to look at the matter more closely.

Using laser-scanning techniques and an advanced computer modeling system, the team was able to accurately recreate Argentinosaurus’s locomotion ability, as well as its walking and running movements, backing up the theory that the dinosaur was indeed 40 meters long and weighed as much as 80 tons.

Admittedly, the 10-second video (below) may resemble something an animation student might knock together in an afternoon, but that would be to misunderstand the huge amount of work that went into its creation. The computer modeling technique did, after all, involve processing power equal to 30,000 desktop computers.

“If you want to work out how dinosaurs walked, the best approach is computer simulation,” team leader Dr. Bill Sellers explained. “This is the only way of bringing together all the different strands of information we have on this dinosaur, so we can reconstruct how it once moved.”

The dinosaur, which if you hadn’t realized takes its name from the country where just a few parts of it were discovered in 1993, walked the Earth around 94 million years ago, with the digital reconstruction revealing that it would’ve moved along at a speed of between 2 and 5 mph.

Dr. Sellers, of the university’s Faculty of Life Sciences, said the research was key in gaining a greater understanding of musculoskeletal systems and could be used in the future development of robots.

“All vertebrates from humans to fish share the same basic muscles, bones and joints,” Dr. Sellers said. “To understand how these [work together], we can compare how they are used in different animals, and the most interesting are often those at extremes.”

Sellers added, “Argentinosaurus is the biggest animal that ever walked on the surface of the Earth and understanding how it did this will tell us a lot about the maximum performance of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system. We need to know more about this to help understand how it functions in ourselves.

“Similarly if we want to build better-legged robots then we need to know more about the mechanics of legs in a whole range of animals and nothing has bigger, more powerful legs than Argentinosaurus.”

Next the team is planning to reconstruct the movements of other dinosaurs, including Triceratops, Brachiosaurus and T. rex.

[Source: Manchester University] [Image: Elenarts / Shutterstock]

Mobile

Apple confirms it’s collecting data on foot to improve its Maps app

Apple has been using cars and satellites to improve its Maps app, and it's now confirmed it's also using tech-laden pedestrians to collect data from the streets in a bid to provide better walking directions.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Converting files from MKV to MP4 is quick and easy. Just follow these steps

MKV files have their place, but if you would rather convert your videos from MKV to MP4, there are two methods we consider the best and most efficient for getting it done. In this guide, we'll walk you through them step by step.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Microsoft drops Surface Go price to $350 for Black Friday week

The Microsoft Surface Go convertible tablet has seen a large price drop this Black Friday sales season, lowering the base model to $350 and even the upgraded ones have seen $50 knocked off of their asking price.
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Computing

Razer takes up to $500 off of its Blade gaming laptops for Black Friday

If you're a fan of Razer's understated aesthetics that earned the Blade comparisons with Apple's laptops, you can score some big savings on Black Friday, as Razer is offering up to $500 discounts off of its gaming notebooks.
Computing

Detangle your desk with a mighty wireless mouse. Here are our six favorites

If you're looking for the best wireless mouse on the market, we've got the list for you!. These six models have something for everyone, whether you're a hardcore gamer or simply looking to ward off carpal tunnel.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Buying Guides

Solid-state drives are speedier than hard disk drives. Are they worth it?

As the price of solid-state drives comes down, it's reached a point where it's hard to recommend a system without at least a hybrid solution. In the battle of SSD vs. HDD, a clear winner has emerged.
Computing

Service restored after glitch locks out Microsoft Office 365 business users

Microsoft reported that a problem with its system caused some users to be locked out of their accounts. Because the multifactor authentication system went down globally, some Office 365 and Azure users were unable to log in.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Deals

The best Walmart Black Friday deals in 2018

Walmart has historically been the undisputed king of Black Friday deals. The mega-store is known for offering deals on products in almost every category, from smart TVs to children’s toys. We're combing through every deal as it is…
Computing

Want to game on your Chromebook? Here's where to start

Chromebooks aren't great for gaming, but there are a few titles that most machines can run. There's a surprisingly diverse crowd that includes role-playing games, action side-scrollers, and puzzlers.