[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Report from Dino Fest, Part 1

             | Dino Fest was a gathering of paleontologists,
             | paleoecologists, molecular biologists, teachers,
Standardized | students and enthusiasts all interested in
Introduction | dinosaurs. We met at Indiana University / Purdue
             | University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in Indianapolis,
             | Indiana from March 24 through 26, 1994. (A good
             | time was had by all.)
             | This report represents the ideas and opinions of
             | the presenter(s), not this reporter.

Wednesday, March 23, 1994
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

The program began with a welcoming reception for participants.
The next morning we were ready....

Thursday, March 24, 1994
8:00 a.m.

By Gary Rosenberg (General Chairman, Dino Fest) and Don Wolberg
(Secretary, The Paleontological Society).

"Special Welcome"
By David Stocum (Dean of Science, IUPUI)


Dinosaurs: What Are They and Where Are They Found?

Thursday, March 24, 1994
8:15 a.m.

"Dinosaur Precursors"
By Nicholas Hotton III (Smithsonian Institution)

Dinosaurs are defined as big reptiles that appeared in the late
Triassic and disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous. They were
big in that 80 percent of all living mammals as a group are
smaller than the smallest dinosaurs. There were reptiles in that
taxa are defined by morphology and the morphology shows they are
reptilian -- with birds included as (glorified) reptiles.

Restoring dinosaurs after modern reptiles has not been
satisfactory. (The "revolutionary" idea of restoring dinosaurs as
lively animals is not new: Charles R. Knight restored Dryptosaurs
in a very lively pose in a 1897 painting.) Restoring dinosaurs
after living mammals is a great improvement over previous
techniques, but still leaves something to be desired. Dinosaurs
and mammals do not compare well.

An animal's ability to regulate its temperature is secondary to
that animal's ability to metabolize. That is, can the animal
maintain intense activity over a protracted length of time
without incurring oxygen-debt? And if they do incur oxygen-debt,
can the animal recover quickly? Dinosaurs had a metabolic scope
comparable to reptiles and approaching that of birds and mammals.
For example, many insects can maintain intense activity over long
times (e.g. mosquitoes) and they are not warm-blooded. This high
level of body activity is a result of mitochondria concentrations
in the body. Mitochondria are fundamental to oxygen metabolism.
Therefore, an animal's level of activity can be independent of
their being warm- or cold-blooded. That dinosaurs may have had a
high level of body activity does not indicate their form of body
temperature regulation.

Dinosaurs had erect posture achieved by setting the articular
surface of the femur off at an angle from the bone shaft. Mammal
femur articular surfaces vary from spherical to ellipsoidal.
Dinosaur femur articular surfaces are cylindrical. Ball joints
allow a lateral adjustment of foot falls. Cylindrical joints
permitted only fore and aft leg swings with no lateral
adjustment. This restriction of leg motion shows that dinosaurs
could not move as fast as mammals.

*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*=- -=*
 Douglas E. Goudie                  To know all things is not permitted.
 ac941@leo.nmc.edu                               -- Horace (65 - 8 B.C.)