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Updated: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:04:47 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Dinosaur steps digitally reconstructed by scientists



Researchers from the University of Manchester scanned this Argentinosaurus skeleton to create a "digital robot" to simulate how the gigantic dinosaur, one of the world's largest, would have walked. Dr. Bill Sellers/University of Manchester

Researchers from the University of Manchester scanned this Argentinosaurus skeleton to create a "digital robot" to simulate how the gigantic dinosaur, one of the world's largest, would have walked. Dr. Bill Sellers/University of Manchester

One of the largest dinosaurs ever known to man has been digitally reconstructed by experts from the University of Manchester in England, work that has allowed it to take its first steps in 94 million years.

The team scanned a 40-metre-long reconstructed skeleton of the 80-tonne Argentinosaurus

 “As far as we know, this is the most anatomically detailed full walking simulation so far,” said Dr. Bill Sellers, lead researcher of the project. “If you want to work out how dinosaurs walked, the best approach is computer simulation.”

After scanning the skeleton, they used an advanced computer modelling technique involving the equivalent of 30, 000 desktop computers to transform the skeleton into a digital dinosaur robot to recreate the dinosaur’s walking and running movements, testing its locomotion ability for first time.

The simulation showed the dinosaur would have been able to reach speeds of just over 8 km/h.

Sellers said the research was important for understanding musculoskeletal systems and developing robots. It took over three years to complete.

"It's brilliant to see it complete," he said. "It's a great way of understanding what is happening inside the animal."

The study has been published in science journal PLOS ONE.

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