New study changes our view on how dinosaurs had sex
So far, paleontologists believed dinosaurs mated like most four-legged animals (a.k.a. doggy style), but new studies suggest that dinosaurs preferred the missionary position, and they had very good reasons to do so.
How dinosaurs had sex, is not an easy to answer question. We are talking about animals weighting 30-tonnes, the size of multistorey buildings and – in many of the cases – armored with dangerous spikes and thick plates. Professor Brian Switek, a dinosaur expert, took under consideration these particular difficulties.
Many dinosaurs, like Kentrosaurus, had spiky tails and any attempt of the male to mount the female from the rear would have caused his instant castration. Other species, like Brontosaurus, had their tailbones fused together at the top end, so it would be impossible for the females to raise their tails. Even Tyrannosaurus Rex would have had problems with a doggy position, especially since the size of his front legs wouldn’t have helped him to keep his balance on top of a female.
Reconstruction of T-rex mating (Jurassic Museum of Asturias, Spain)
According to Switek, ‘the female lay down on her side and the male reared up to rest his torso over her, while other species could have used different positions, like backing up to each other’.
Professor John Long (another dinosaur expert), however, laughed at this idea, saying that ‘a 33ft-long ankylosaurus, with spikes and armour, would have had a 6ft 6in penis to bridge the gap when close to a female’.
Most paleontologists wouldn’t take sides on the debate, since the ‘holy grail’ of the dinosaurs’ sex research is not discovered yet. Soft tissues are not easily preserved, so no fossilized dinosaur’s phallus has been found. Until then, the sex-life of dinosaurs will remain a mystery.