The recipient of the first Arnold Berliner Award is Dr. Mark Young (29) of the University of Edinburgh for his exceptional work on the sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus. The Arnold Berliner Award has been established in recognition of the founding editor of Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The award will be given annually for the best research article published in Naturwissenschaften during the previous calendar year.
The pure size of Diplodocus may have pushed these dinosaurs to the evolutionary limits of vertebrate biomechanics. In his paper, Mark Young presented a compelling multidisciplinary approach demonstrating that the gigantic Diplodocus was unlikely to have employed its bizarre dentition for a previously suggested bark-stripping hypothesis feeding strategy. He proposed that the rather unusual dentition of Diplodocus may have, instead, demonstrated an adaptation for food procurement rather than an adaptation to high mechanical bite force. This would suggest that Diplodocus had a skull which was seemingly over-engineered for muscle-driven biting alone. This discovery was only possible by Dr. Young's use of modern technology, the computed tomographic scanning of a fossil specimen of a D. longus skull from a museum collection, and subsequent modeling of its biomechanics of feeding.
Sven Thatje, Editor-in-Chief of Naturwissenschaften, said, "Criteria for the Arnold Berliner Award are excellence in science, originality, and in particular interdisciplinarity, overall mirroring Berliner's motivation for initiating the journal in 1913. In his outstanding paper, Mark Young demonstrates that an interdisciplinary scientific approach can be the basis for paradigm-changing discoveries."
Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature covers all aspects of the natural sciences, focusing on articles in biology, chemistry, geology and physics. Published monthly, the journal is dedicated to the fast publication of high-quality, peer-reviewed research. Originally published in German, the journal now publishes exclusively in English.
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The article "Cranial biomechanics of Diplodocus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda): testing hypotheses of feeding behaviour in an extinct megaherbivore" is freely available online at http://link.
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