Long-Necked Dinosaurs Succumb To CFD

It turns out that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has a key role to play in determining the behavior of long extinct creatures. In a previous, post we described a CFD study of parvancorina, and now Pernille Troelsen at Liverpool John Moore University is using CFD for insights into how long-necked plesiosaurs might have swum and hunted.

CFD Water Flow Simulation over an Idealized PlesiosaurCFD Water Flow Simulation over an Idealized Plesiosaur: Streamline VectorsIllustration only, not part of the study

Troelsen created an idealized CFD model of a plesiosaur to investigate the effects of neck positions on drag as the creature swam.

CFD Water Flow Simulation over an Idealized PlesiosaurCFD Water Flow Simulation over an Idealized Plesiosaur: Streamline TubesIllustration only, not part of the study

Various ideas as to why the plesiosaur had such an extremely long neck (up to 7 meters in fossilized remains) have been proposed, but Troelsen's CFD study sheds light on how the creature might have managed to move around within its natural environment.

CFD Water Flow Simulation over an Idealized PlesiosaurCFD Water Flow Simulation over an Idealized Plesiosaur: Surface VectorsIllustration only, not part of the study

Future work looks to improve the CFD model fidelity using digitized fossil remains of actual plesiosaurs.

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