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Re: How much does a dino weigh?
<I) Many of the models used in past studies were artist impressions rather
than accurately measured reconstructions of a particular specimen. These
were done in reference to modern animals in one sense (the classic use of
knowing where to put the muscles). Also, for some dinosaurs there are of
course many different models available.
II) In reference to modern animals: this goes back to the question of
accuracy of even an excellent model. In order to say something statistical
about accuracy, we'd need to have some form of reference. I suggested a
potential study (which would be terribly expensive and time consuming, mind
you) that would at least allow for the beginnings of a statistical basis for
determining accuracy of flesh reconstructions.>
Thanks for the clarification!
When you mentioned a model, I thought you meant a mathematical model like
the ones I do at work for lottery sales and the impact of various actions
which are taken to increase sales. This mathematical model would have
included correlations among the size of different bones and the weight of
various parts of the dinosaur's body. I think you're saying that a physical
model is created using general principles of reconstruction and the mass is
calculated from that physical model.
The mass calculated using general principles of reconstruction has not, as I
understand it, been confirmed directly, particularly for dinosaurs as
analogues of extant animals, but is considered to be the best available
assumptions by consensus. What indirect proof was used to obtain consensus?
Can the other components, innards and fat in particular, be estimated by
some kind of correlation to the muscle/bone weight?
Also, I imagine that a large part of the weight of an animal is skeletal.
Given all the adaptations to lighten bone I've seen discussed, couldn't
there be a large amount of variation in skeletal weight? Has this been
quantified in a way that would allow adjustment to the physical model
Further, you note that:
<In any case, for organisms the most important size attribute (in terms of
biology) is mass: that is, how much
critter is there? Most aspects of physiology (respiration, circulation,
food intake, etc.) are associated with mass more so than length.>
Mike's FAQ draft about the largest predator appears to be a ranking based on
length differences, with some references to weight. Would you prefer to see
a ranking based on consistent estimates of mass?
Finally, from Holmes' description of Moriarty:
<His career has been an extraordinary one. He is a man of
good birth and excellent education. endowed by nature with a phenomenal
mathematical faculty. At the age of twenty-one he wrote a treatise upon the
binomial theorem, which has had a European vogue. On the strength of it he
won the mathematical chair at one of our smaller universities, and had, to
all appearances, a most brilliant career before him. But the man had
hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in
his blood, which, instead of being modified, was
increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental
powers. Dark rumours gathered round him in the university town, and
eventually he was compelled to resign his chair and to come down to London,
where he set up as an army coach.>
(A moment, please, to savor the picture of Moriarty in a cold fury at the
sluggishness of his cadet students learning to factor an equation while
impatient to get back to controlling almost all crime in London.)
You haven't had a European vogue with any of your theories have you? he