Wednesday, July 18, 2012


You laugh but this is exactly how we got the brontosaurus.


Eric said...

We got the brontosaurus by mixing up the bones of three different prehistoric animals? Well that would make a pretty good "Common Knowledge" piece!

(And I do get what you are saying but I think paleontologists are more disciplined than you give them credit for here... they seem to often be guilty of putting bones back together in the wrong sequence or posture, or getting the shape of missing fossils wrong, but overall the reconstructions they have created are the best logical explaination for the fossils that have been found. Show me a competing theory that is better.)

Christopher R Taylor said...

I guess you took this more seriously than I meant it. Most of Paleontology is very skilled guesswork, though, and they do get it wrong more often than most people are aware of. The wrong skull, the wrong set of ribs, etc. Its nothing enormously challenging to the science but its kind of funny to read about.

Eric said...

Sorry, the humor part of your comment went sailing right past my brain. I have an ongoing argument with a friend about paleontology so I was probably projecting some of his arguments (which are much more dismissive than your comment above) on to your comment. My bad!

Anonymous said...

ed in texas
A better example might be stegosaurus. You know, bony plates on the back, spikes on the tail, beaked head. There's exactly one mostly complete specimen,
and it's only about 90% there. How do they know that?
Because all animals have heads, and this one didn't.
The specimen in question died when an enormous (talking about quarter football field size) evidently fell on it. Can you say roadkill?

The entire thing was as flat as you can imagine; everything else was a hopeful extrapalation.