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In the Media

article imagePalaeontologists explain how T. Rex and other dinosaurs had sex

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By JohnThomas Didymus
Jul 12, 2012 in Science
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Paleontologists have devoted a surprising amount of research effort to explaining how dinosaurs had sex. As expected, explaining how a four-storeys high, 30-ton lizard such as T. Rex, speculated as equipped with 12 ft long penis, had sex proves tricky.
But judging from the anatomy of modern reptiles, many scientists think that male and female dinosaurs had cloacae, meaning that the male dinosaurs did not have to come equipped with giant penises that only complicate the task of constructing a picture of how they had sex. Cloacae are orifices used for urination, defecation, and copulation. A male and female dinosaur need only assume a position that allows their cloacae to press together in what is termed a "cloacal kiss." The actual act of sexual intercourse, apart from any elaborate foreplay that may have come before it, need not take more than few seconds.
The Daily Mail reports that many scientists agree with expert Dr. Beverly Halstead that "All dinosaurs used the same basic position to mate. Mounting from the rear, he put his forelimbs on her shoulders, lifting one hind limb across her back and twisting his tail under hers."
Kristi Curry Rogers, Assistant Professor of Biology and Geology at Macalester College in Minnesota, said: "The most likely position to have intercourse is for the male behind the female, and on top of her, and from behind, any other position is unfathomable."
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Dr. Gregory M. Erickson, evolutionary biologist at Florida State University, told The Huffington Post: "I don't think there's much doubt about that. It must have been a hell of a thing to see."
Very much like African lizards do it, if you've been privileged to observe.
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But many other scientists balk at the picture of a 30-ton T. Rex male making love in essentially the same position as the inches long male Agama lizard. They insist that the physical challenges for a 30-ton animal supporting itself against gravity may prove daunting. According to an expert Stuart Landry, the male would simply fall over under his own weight if he attempts to stoop over his lover in the position scientists are proposing. According to Landry, dinosaurs would need support, such as can be obtained if they make love in water. Large crocodiles and alligators, for instance, mate in water, with the male over the female for only a few seconds. The lovers enjoy the advantage of the buoyancy that a watery medium provides. As attractive as this theory appears, there is no evidence that large terrestrial dinosaurs sought water for lovemaking.
Love in his eyes
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Love in his eyes
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Some science illustrators have devoted attention to assisting scientific and non-scientific imaginations alike to picture what biologist Erickson thinks "must have been a hell of a thing to see."
The Huffington Post rightly wonders whether these images or science or dino-porn.
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