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Re: What it takes to study dinosaurs??



>[Allow me to be blunt--I am interested in
>dinosaurs and in biology but honestly have no interest in geology
>whatsoever.  If it looks like I'm trying to find a way to study
>dinosaurs without studying geology--that's exactly what I'm trying
>to do!  I am well aware this may be a completely unrealistic
>goal, but I have never been able to get any definite answers to
>my questions; my ignorance about all this is WHY I'm posing these
>questions here.]

Lurk-mode off....

When I took the Paleo track at UC Berkeley, it was very bio-based.  In fact,
I haven't had any geology yet (though I would like to take some).  In
Invertebrate Paleo, we looked at lots of fossils, and had to deal with the
geological time scale (Cambrian, Ordivician, Silurian, etc.), but we didn't
do anything with sedimentology and such.  In Vertebrate Paleo, we looked at
bones and teeth.  Lots of skeletal morphology stuff and evolution - no
geology.  I recall one invert paleontology grad-student referred to himself
(when talking about his "definition" of paleontology) as an "evolutionary
scientist who knows what to do with fossils."

So, up until at least a Bachelor's degree, geology isn't necessary.  At
least not in my experience.  
I think, however, that to truly understand the world in which dinosaurs
lived, and thus to understand something about their evolution and behaviors,
some geology IS necessary.  To know that Joe Dinosaur died while crossing a
river is good stuff, but stuff you wouldn't know unless you knew that where
you found Joe used to be a river!

Anyway, just one voice of many....

Derek Smith
djsmith@ccnet.com
DSmith0531@AOL.com