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

Re: How much does a dino weigh?

You wrote:
<So, errors of 25% might not be unexpected for mass calculations on good
specimens, and much greater for incomplete forms.>
and subsequently:
<Yeah: the models some people used were crap.  Tom's Rule Number One in
dinosaur restorations: if you can't fit the skeleton inside the model, the
model is wrong.>

Even at 25% error, presumably associated with a good model and complete
specimens, a substantial overlap would mean that a 95% probability that one
animal weighed more than another might be hard to achieve.
When you hear discussions of the biggest predator, or for that matter the
biggest cheese wheel, do you assume they're talking about length
(circumference of a cheese wheel), weight, or some combination?

<Of course, the real test for this would be taking a number of skeletons of
different modern taxa from individuals whose life mass was known, then
estimating the mass from the skeleton, then comparing these estimates to the
known mass.
As you might imagine, this would be a sizable and time-consuming effort.
Nevertheless, it would give some statistical idea as to the expected
accuracy of mass calcuations based on fossil bones.>

How do you know that the model is good?  If, as you imply, the model(s) in
use was not developed from modern animal skeletons and known solutions,
where does it come from and how was it validated?  Is there more than one
model?  If so, have they been compared for similarity of results?
Quick Watson, the game's afoot!  (Of course, when Holmes said that he was on
his way to going over the Reichenbach Falls, but then again I'm no Holmes
and you're not Moriarty.)