Dinosaurs Inside and Out

Growing Bones

What was unique about the feet of most quadruped dinosaurs?

Unlike the bipedal (two-legged) types, the feet of most quadruped (four-legged) dinosaurs had shorter foot bones and a set of broad, stubby toes. This arrangement of foot bones was very similar to the feet of modern elephants.

Footprints of these types of dinosaurs were short and round, indicating that the bones of the feet were raised off the ground by a thick, fibrous, wedge-shaped heel pad. This heel pad enabled these huge animals to conserve a large amount of energy as they moved around. The ankle did not have to be raised and lowered during walking, a motion that would have lifted the entire body weight up and down. For dinosaurs like the large sauropods, this motion would have meant expending a great deal of energy.


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