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Most Dinosaurs Still Unaccounted For, Study Finds


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http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060905_dinosaur.htm

 

Most dinosaurs still unaccounted for, study finds

 

Sept. 5, 2006

Courtesy University of Pennsylvania

and World Science staff

 

The gold­en age of di­no­saur dis­cov­ery is yet to come, two re­searchers say in a study that sug­gests most types of di­no­saurs are still un­dis­cov­ered.

 

dinotracks.JPG

 

Di­no­saur tracks on the banks of the Pur­ga­toire Riv­er in south­east­ern Col­o­rad­o. (Cour­te­sy U.S. Dept. of Ag­ri­cul­ture)

 

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The sci­en­tists used a sta­t­is­ti­cal meth­od to es­t­i­mate the to­tal num­ber of di­no­saur ge­n­er­a—­tax­o­no­mic groups each con­tain­ing one or more spe­cies—based on finds to date.

 

Their re­sult: 71 pe­r­cent of di­no­saur gen­er­a have yet to be un­earthed, not count­ing di­no­saurs that may be un­dis­cov­er­able be­cause they did­n’t fos­sil­ize.

 

Pe­ter Dod­son of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia in Phil­a­del­phia and Steve C. Wang of Swarth­more Col­lege in Swarth­more, Penn. de­tailed the find­ings in this week’s ad­vance on­line is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tion­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences.

 

The re­searchers al­so of­fered ev­i­dence that di­no­saur po­p­u­la­tions were sta­ble short­ly be­fore their ex­tinc­tion 65 mil­lion years ago.

 

Dod­son pro­poses that 1,850 gen­er­a will even­tu­al­ly be dis­cov­ered, in to­tal. Since di­no­saur re­search be­gan in ear­nest in the 19th cen­tu­ry, on­ly 527 gen­er­a have so far been found, al­though that num­ber is ris­ing at the rate of 10 to 20 per year.

 

“It’s a safe bet that a child born to­day could ex­pect a very fruit­ful ca­reer in di­no­saur pa­le­on­tol­o­gy,” said Dod­son. But “the child’s grand­chil­dren won’t be so for­tu­nate, as new dis­cov­er­ies will like­ly de­cline sharp­ly in the ear­ly 22nd cen­tu­ry.”

 

The re­searchers pre­dicted that 75 per­cent of dis­cov­er­a­ble gen­er­a will be found with­in a century and 90 per­cent with­in the next 140 years. “The 1990s saw an 85% in­crease in the num­ber of new fos­sil dis­cov­er­ies,” Dod­son said.

 

The di­ver­si­ty of di­no­saur ex­plor­ers is al­so on the rise, he added.

 

His­tor­i­cal­ly, Dod­son con­tends, di­no­saur dis­cov­ery was large­ly in the hands of Brit­ish, Ca­na­di­an and Amer­i­can re­searchers. But in re­cent decades the dis­cov­ery of new fos­sil beds, es­pe­cial­ly in Chi­na and Mon­go­li­a and South Amer­i­ca, has opened the field to man­y re­searchers from those coun­tries.

 

Dod­son and Wang’s es­ti­mates for to­tal di­no­saur di­ver­si­ty take in­to ac­count the num­ber of di­no­saurs al­read­y found, the rate of dis­cov­ery and po­ten­tial rich­ness of the fos­sil lo­ca­tions that can be rea­son­a­bly ex­plored.

 

It’s un­known wheth­er the calculation of dis­cov­er­a­ble gen­er­a mir­rors the ac­tu­al di­ver­si­ty of di­no­saurs that lived, the pair said, since it’s es­ti­mated that near­ly half of di­no­saur gen­era left no fos­sil ev­i­dence.

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I've always figured this to be the case. If we could hop into a time machine and actually go back to the Cretaceous and the Jurrassic, i bet what we'd find would be a lot different than what we think we know about dinosaurs now.

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My first reaction to this is Duh! Considering the difficulties not only in fossilization itself, which is a nasty hurdle to get over, but also in finding what little has been fossilized. I can't remember the last time I had the idea that we had found most of the dinosaurs. This quote sums it up nicely

It’s un­known wheth­er the calculation of dis­cov­er­a­ble gen­er­a mir­rors the ac­tu­al di­ver­si­ty of di­no­saurs that lived, the pair said, since it’s es­ti­mated that near­ly half of di­no­saur gen­era left no fos­sil ev­i­dence.

I bet that estimate is even a bit optimistic.

 

[Holy shit in a bag, it's Neil!]

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I've always figured this to be the case. If we could hop into a time machine and actually go back to the Cretaceous and the Jurrassic, i bet what we'd find would be a lot different than what we think we know about dinosaurs now.

 

Oh, how wonderful that would be! You could actually witness evolution in reverse! You could stare into the eyes of our ancestors all the way back. It'd have to be outfitted with some kind of cloaking decice, though, as your very presence would change the future if you impacted it it any way.

 

My first reaction to this is Duh! Considering the difficulties not only in fossilization itself, which is a nasty hurdle to get over, but also in finding what little has been fossilized. I can't remember the last time I had the idea that we had found most of the dinosaurs. This quote sums it up nicely

It’s un­known wheth­er the calculation of dis­cov­er­a­ble gen­er­a mir­rors the ac­tu­al di­ver­si­ty of di­no­saurs that lived, the pair said, since it’s es­ti­mated that near­ly half of di­no­saur gen­era left no fos­sil ev­i­dence.

I bet that estimate is even a bit optimistic.

 

[Holy shit in a bag, it's Neil!]

 

Just because it's painfully obvious, that doesn't mean that everyone realizes this truth. Creationists instantly come to mind. Studies like this are great to point to when they ask where the rest of the fossils are.

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Just because it's painfully obvious, that doesn't mean that everyone realizes this truth. Creationists instantly come to mind. Studies like this are great to point to when they ask where the rest of the fossils are.
Good point, although in many cases it doesn't matter if you have a source or not.
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Just because it's painfully obvious, that doesn't mean that everyone realizes this truth. Creationists instantly come to mind. Studies like this are great to point to when they ask where the rest of the fossils are.
Good point, although in many cases it doesn't matter if you have a source or not.

 

lol... Yeah, sadly that is true sometimes. You can present a case filled to the brim with wonderful evidence and it just doesn't reach them.

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Satan sure has been busy burying all those bones to make god fearing people stray.

 

In that same vein:

 

God sure has been busy pulling the strings of his puppet, Satan, for him to bury all those bones! lol... We all know a good mob boss works through many intermediates as to allay blame.

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When I was a kid, I was fascinated by dinosaurs, but of course the ones that got the attention were the "heavies"...tyrannosaurus, bronchosaurus, you know...the giants. Since then, I've read (somewhere) that most so-called dinosaurs were no bigger than the average chicken, and probably resembled them in some ways. It could be interesting as all this paleontological effort unfolds.

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