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RE: Precision

Tim Williams writes:
 > As an addendum to Mike's response (which was right on the money),
 > one extra caveat is that such estimates are based on individual
 > specimens.  Therefore, when we say...
 > "Brachiosaurus had an estimated body length of X m and an estimated
 > mass of Y tonnes"
 > what we are really saying is ...
 > "The largest *known* specimen of Brachiosaurus had an estimated
 > body length of X m and an estimated mass of Y tonnes".

True, of course.  But since there is (roughly) one specimen of
_Brachiosaurus_ known from sufficient remains, what we are _really_
really saying is "the mass of HMN SII is ..."

 > 'Maximum body size' in non-avian dinosaurs has its own set of
 > caveats, especially if the work of Sander and Klein (2005) is any
 > guide.  This study found that maximum body size in _Plateosaurus
 > engelhardti_ varied enormously from one individual to the next.
 > Some had reached maximum size by age 12, while others were still
 > growing at 26-27 years old.  The smallest specimen was 4.8 m long
 > when fully grown, whereas others attained a body length of around
 > 10 m long (and still may not have 'topped out').

Indeed -- this is one of the most important recent studies on dinosaur
size.  (Plus it gives us licence to imagine some _seriously_ big
sauropods :-)

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
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