How did dinosaurs handle the pressure of gravity?

When the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Levin was at a natural history museum and saw the wires holding up the neck of the same type of dinosaur above, he did not get the picture to go together. How could his neck have been held up originally? The reason for the fascination is that it is a mechanically impossible structure – at least according to the traditional way of looking at the structure.

Why is this interesting? What Levin came up with was that the structural form that the architect Buckminster Fuller calls Tensegrity – a combination of the words Tension and Integrity – is also present in anatomy, and it explains how the dinosaur could keep his neck up.


The picture shows The Needle Tower – a fascinating piece of work that is held together and held up because of the tension and equilibrium, tensegrity, created between the different parts.

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Levin’s findings, which he termed as Biotensegrity changes the way we look at how the body is structured, and what really keeps it together. The skeleton is not, as previously thought, the hanger on which everything depends. The skeleton is rather the numb brace that keeps apart the fascia layers and stabilizes the connective tissue structures, like Needle Tower in the picture above.

The body is not as static as the tower in the picture. This is because the body’s wires, the Fascia, are not two, five or ten in number, but many many more. Some are stretched and some are lax and they tense and relax at every movement.

You could describe it as the skeleton floating freely in the Fascia. If the soft tissue is crooked, the skeleton will be crooked. If we work to restore and maintain the soft parts, muscles and connective tissue, we may keep a light free state of being, where the skeleton floats freely inside these complex structures.

The latest discoveries in anatomy are that it is the Fascia, the extensive system without beginning or end, which makes both humans and animals capable of strong pressure from gravity.

Dr. Stephen Levin at the Fascia Research Congress, Washington DC 2015

Click the subtitle icon for a subtitled version

In depth: Longer lecture on Biotensegrity

Examples of Biotensegrity

The film shows a biomechanical representation of how leg and foot load and relieve pressure and tension.

Tom Myers continues talking about Biotensegrity – a new way of thinking than what we are used to.

A demonstration of Tensegrity. See how the “ball” bounces and what happens when ONE thread is cut off.

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