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DINOSAUR FIELD ID
Ralph Chapman and Nick Pharris have both opined that, were to take a
trip back to the Mesozoic, we would have a hard time identifying
dinosaurs to species.
I'm sure this is correct - if fact I reckon most palaeozoologists would
find it nearly impossible to make such identifications with the
exceptions of those species for which have exceptional preservation
and/or special data, e.g. _Mammuthus primigenius_, or which have
diagnostic species-specific markers, e.g. _Lambeosaurus lambei_, or
which survive today, e.g. _Panthera leo_. Think how many animals
today have diagnostic features that are not reflected in their osteology.
I suppose that, if palaeontologists were to go back in time and attempt
to identify a species, they would have to kill it and examine its
osteology. And I guess you couldn't do this because, a la _The Sound
of Thunder_, killing things in the past might have irreparable
Also, as has been pointed out before, some people think that the fossil
record preserves less than 10% of the actual animals that lived (some
say considerably less... though others contest this) - therefore, we
might expect to see lots of dinosaurs never discovered as fossils.
Likewise, the reconstituted dinosaurs of _Jurassic Park_ should have
included mostly unknown species.
Right, that's my emailing over for the week. Back to work....
"If credit's what matters, I'll take credit"
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