Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Big bang theory: how did dinosaurs have sex?

By John Long

How did dinosaurs mate and what evidence do we have to reconstruct their sex lives?

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Dinosaurs were the largest animals to ever walk Earth, and they ruled the planet for more than 160 million years. The long-necked Argentinosaurus, with back vertebrae almost two metres high, possibly grew to 30 metres long and weighed up to 80 tonnes. So did the earth really shake for them when they mated?

The real question here though is: how did they really mate and what evidence do we have to reconstruct their sex lives?

The internet offers vague speculation. One website claims they probably didn’t have penises so must have used cloacal kissing, juxtaposing their massive bottoms together for the interchange of seminal fluid to the female, as do most frogs and many birds.

I disagree with this view, as evidence from living animals, close relatives of dinosaurs, implies they must have mated using copulation, and that the male must have had very large and flexible penises.

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The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.