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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
30-Oct-2013

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Contact: Jennifer Horsley
collections@plos.org
44-012-234-42836
Public Library of Science

A sauropod walks into a bar. 'Why the long neck?'

PLOS ONE introduces a new Collection on Sauropod Gigantism

IMAGE: This is a Collection image.

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A new PLOS Collection featuring research on the complex evolutionary cascade theory that made the unique gigantism of sauropod dinosaurs possible launched on October 30th. This Collection features new research articles that have published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest terrestrial animals to roam the Earth, exceeding all other land-dwelling vertebrates in both mean and maximal body size. While convergently evolving many features seen in large terrestrial mammals, such as upright, columnar limbs and barrel-shaped trunks, sauropods evolved some unique features, such as the extremely long necks and diminutive heads they are famous for.

The unique gigantism of sauropod dinosaurs has long been recognized as an important problem in the evolution of vertebrates, raising questions as to why no other land-based lineage has ever reached this size, how these dinosaurs functioned as living animals, and how they were able to maintain stable populations over distinct geological periods.

This new PLOS Collection discusses major efforts by evolutionary biologists and paleontologists to understand sauropods as living animals, and to explain their evolutionary success and uniquely gigantic body size.

The articles address these questions from a number of varied disciplinary viewpoints, including those of ecology, engineering, functional morphology, animal nutrition, and palaeontology. For instance, one section features articles from researchers that investigated sauropod mobility and posture, to better understand the reasons for their extremely long necks.

"You could explain gigantism just by looking at the trait of having many small offspring. But our model shows us there were probably several factors," says Dr. P. Martin Sander, a professor at the Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Palaeontology at the University of Bonn, Germany.

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PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://www.ploscollections.org/sauropodgigantism

Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.

About PLOS ONE: PLOS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

All works published in PLOS ONE are Open Access. Everything is immediately availableŚto read, download, redistribute, include in databases and otherwise useŚwithout cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed. For more information about PLOS ONE relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and our embargo policy, see the EveryONE blog at http://everyone.plos.org/media.



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