Its Not Easy Being Big

Part of the Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries exhibition.

Not all dinosaurs were big, but the biggest ones outweighed anything that ever walked on Earth. And exactly how they walked on Earth has puzzled the curious for nearly 200 years. How quickly could these huge animals really move? How could they support their massive necks and tails?

Answers are coming from an area of science called biomechanics. This approach applies principles of physics and engineering to biological movement; it lets scientists study animals--including humans--as if they were machines. Experts examine fossils, observe movement in living species, and analyze muscle in order to flesh out these ancient giants. Thanks in part to biomechanics, paleontologists can now bring dinosaurs to life.