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Re: The age of a dinosaur?



Seems nobody is willing to take this on so I'll have a shot at it
although I'm not best qualified.

> I've heard different estimates about the ages of individual dinosaurs, (T-rex
> lived to be about 40 years, etc.) . Can you tell me what some of the methods
> are that you folks use to estimate the age of a dinosaur. Not when it lived,
> but its actual age.
> 
> Need to be abke to put it into terms that the average viewer could understand.

The main thing is that bone is by no means dead, but is living
tissue. Throughout life, bone is constantly re-build (called
remodelling). Furthermore, during growth, many animals show growth
rings similar to the rings you see in trees (so called lines of
arrested growth or LAGs). These latter rings can be used to guess at
the age of dinosaurs. 

Basically, these methods are similar to what you can see on your
favorite variant of CSI:anywhere, whenever they find a gruesomely
disfigured bone and zip to their lab to tell you that the victim was
about n years old. In humans, there are no LAGs, but we can look at
how much the bone is remodelled and whether sutures in the bones have
closed.

Hope this helps, and hope it doesn't dumb down things too much, (if
it's all nonsense, would somebody please correct me?)

Martin.


                   Priv.-Doz. Dr. Martin BÃker
                   Institut fÃr Werkstoffe
                   Technische UniversitÃt Braunschweig
                   Langer Kamp 8
                   38106 Braunschweig
                   Germany
                   Tel.: 00-49-531-391-3073
                   Fax   00-49-531-391-3058
                   e-mail <martin.baeker@tu-bs.de>