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*To*: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@geol.umd.edu>, <mike@tecc.co.uk>*Subject*: Re: How much does a dino weigh?*From*: "philidor11" <philidor11@snet.net>*Date*: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 09:27:17 -0500*Cc*: <dinosaur@usc.edu>*References*: <NDBBIAJHGJBHMGNKDFAHOEJBDCAA.tholtz@geol.umd.edu>*Reply-to*: philidor11@snet.net*Sender*: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu

<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 estimate? 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 wondered nervously.

**Follow-Ups**:**Re: How much does a dino weigh?***From:*Marilyn Wegweiser <mdwegweiser@bsuvc.bsu.edu>

**References**:**RE: How much does a dino weigh?***From:*"Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@geol.umd.edu>

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