Navigation Links
Good times ahead for dinosaur hunters, according to U of Penn scientist's dinosaur census

The golden age of dinosaur discovery is yet upon us, according to Peter Dodson at the University of Pennsylvania. In a forthcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dodson revises his groundbreaking 1990 census on the diversity of discoverable dinosaurs upward by 50%, offering a brighter outlook about the number of dinosaurs waiting to be found. His findings also add evidence that dinosaur populations were stable, and not on the decline, in the time shortly before their extinction 65 million years ago.

Dodson proposes that 1,850 genera (the plural of genus, an organizational group comprised of one or more separate species) will eventually be discovered, in total. Since the dinosaur research began in earnest in the 19th century, only 527 genera have so far been found, although that number is currently changing 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, professor of anatomy in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine and professor in Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "Unfortunately, there is a finite limit to what can be discovered, so our estimates show that the child's grandchildren won't be so fortunate as new discoveries will likely decline sharply in the early 22nd century."

Dodson and co-author Steve Wang, a statistician at Swarthmore College, estimate that 71% of all dinosaur genera that could be found are still awaiting discovery. The researchers predict that 75% of discoverable genera will be found within 60-100 years and 90% within the next 140 years.

In 1990, Dodson first census paper coincided with his publication of The Dinosauria," the first book to comprehensively depict known dinosaurs. In preparing for the second edition, published last year, Dodson revisited his projections to account for the sudden increase of dinosaur fossil discoveries during the 1990s."The 1990s saw an 85% increase in the number of new fossil discoveries," Dodson said. "The dinosaur field used to be the pursuit of white Anglo-Saxons, but, with recent explosion in of dinosaur paleontology in places like China, Mongolia and South America, that is clearly no longer the case. "

Historically, Dodson contends, dinosaur discovery was largely in the hands of British, Canadian and American researchers, with few exceptions in other countries. In recent decades, however, the discovery of new fossil beds, especially in China and Mongolia, has resulted in a greater diversity among dinosaur researchers.

Ultimately, however, there are only so many dinosaurs that can be found. Fossilization itself is a rare event, and there are very few places on Earth, as a whole, where the rocks are of the right age to contain fossils dating back to the dinosaur era. At some point, paleontologists will find all the fossils that could possibly be found.

Dodson and Wang's analysis also offers evidence that dinosaur populations were stable before the extinction event that ended their reign of global dominance. Dodson, however, warns that the picture of the fossil record at the time of extinction is not resolved enough to say definitively.

"We have enough information to say for certain that, within six million years of the meteorite's arrival, dinosaur populations were stable," Dodson said. "But we don't know for certain if there was a decline within that six-million-year slice of time before the extinction event."

Their 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. They hold that it is still an open question as to whether their estimates of discoverable genera mirror the actual diversity of dinosaur genera that walked the earth. Their findings, combined with previous studies suggest that nearly half of all dinosaur genera that existed did not leave behind fossils that could be found.

"I would never suggest that this prediction, however statistically sound, is the final word on dinosaur diversity," Dodson said. "My intention is to fuel the discussion using the facts at hand, and this is the best estimate we can make with the data available."


'"/>

Source:University of Pennsylvania


Related biology news :

1. To sea or not to sea: When it comes to salmon sex, size sometimes doesnt matter
2. Bugs expose underground carbon traffic system 10 times more important than fossil fuel burning
3. Data published in PNAS show antibodies can be made 10 times more toxic to cancer cells
4. Tyrannosaur survivorship -- tough times for teens
5. Immune system police learn early and sometimes badly
6. New approach could lower antibiotic requirements by 50 times
7. Researchers use dirt to stay one step ahead of antibiotic resistance
8. Stormy days ahead for coral reefs
9. Planning ahead: Having the healthiest baby possible
10. Revueltosaurus skeleton unearthed at Petrified Forest upsets dinosaur tale
11. Study: Predatory dinosaurs had bird-like pulmonary system
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been ... (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on the ... In addition, CHS previously earned a place in ... electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS Analytics ... EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This recognition ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft System Market is ... next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by 2025. ... all the given segments on global as well as regional levels ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... March 20, 2017 At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor ... biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with ... this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest German biometrics company the ... fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... , May 23, 2017 As Ebola resurfaces ... with four deaths and 20 suspected cases now reported, a ... the PubMed database, showed a correlation between the 2014 and ... Replikin counts rose sharply in 2012-13, which preceded the 2014 ... in the Ebola gene Replikin counts in 2014-15, which again ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 23, ... ... offer an unlimited source of human cardiovascular cells for research and the ... methods makes it possible to generate large numbers of cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs). Due ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Washington, USA (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 ... ... SPIE Optics and Photonics 2017 in San Diego, California, this August will ... reality, solar fuels, and autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Kathy Goin is joining myClin ... brings years of expertise in establishing and leading clinical operations at Sponsors including ... occupational therapist, through a variety of leadership roles in Clinical Operations, to her ...
Breaking Biology Technology: