May 2011 Archives

Dinosaurs become extinct... again!

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Spotted this sorry and thought I should share it with fans of Rockford's Rock Opera!

Certain dinosaurs may soon go extinct from the record books because they are duplicates of animals already on the books.

John Horner, a paleontologist at Montana State University in the USA, and others suspect that at least 50 dinosaurs on the record books now have been incorrectly identified.

Paleontologist Michael J. Benton at the University of Bristol in the UK said that up to 51.7% of all dinosaur species are mis-categorised.

H This means that more than half the species of dinosaurs ever named were in error!

Horner added that at present, "new" dinosaurs are discovered and named at a rate of one every two weeks. Thousands of dinosaurs are now on record, with many of them probably being duplicates of animals already on the books.

Horner, who has two dinosaurs named after him, is proposing that paleontologists follow a rigorous set of procedures known as the Unified Frame of Reference (UFR) when attempting to identify fossils.

The UFR will take into account microscopic analysis of the fossils, which uses technologies not available in the past.

It will also require detailed analysis of where the remains were found, how they appeared when first observed pre-excavation, how they compare to existing species, and more.

"The proposals by Horner are very important as a reminder of a problem paleontologists are aware of, but we still don't know if it will provide a 100% watertight solution that means we will never make mistakes about dinosaur species ever again," said Benton.

The study was reported in Science journal.

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