Surely no article on the discovery of new dinosaurs in unexpected places is complete....
...without Doug McClure running around somewhere?
Or am I showing that I also belong to that era?
Bone-bothering boffins have discovered an entirely new species of horned dinosaur, despite having parts of its skull for the last hundred years. Artist's restoration of the head of Spinops sternbergorum Artist's restoration of the head of Spinops sternbergorum. Credit: Dmitry Bogdanov, courtesy of Raymond M. Alf Museum of …
"The prehistoric lizard had a single horn on its nose and a bony neck frill that had at least two long, backward-projecting spikes as well as two forward-curving hooks, which are the unique features that distinguish it from other horned dinosaurs."
So, with only a single fossil of the beast to work from, how can they be sure it isn't the dinosaur equivalent of a 6-toed cat?
Which are baby Rex'es and which are other species... You expect a coherent answer in 400characters or less, or you're just trying to be clever?
General principles of taxonomy have to be described for starters, here highlighting differences in strongly conserved features (like the horn positions mentioned in the article) etc etc. It's not a discussion topic really.
>>So, with only a single fossil of the beast to work from, how can they be sure it isn't the dinosaur equivalent of a 6-toed cat?
If you found two the same you could still level the same argument, you could either assume that they are a new species or that you recognise that it's "likely", having only one fossil is "less likely" but still likely - or put another way, fossils are spectacularly rare, to have a genetic mutant as well (one with significant differenceS, rather than a minor one such as polydactyly) is a factor again rarer, but not impossible, given the total number of fossils found worldwide, to date there's a good chance that we have a mutant or two in our museums, the rarity of which is unknown, but the logical course of action (to be right, probably all of the time) is to assume that all fossils are not mutants.
Not surprising. At the turn of the 20th century, there were so many collecting trips with pressure to announce spectacular findings that most of the material has never been properly examined. A curator once told me that the best way to discover new dinosaur species is to simply take a close look at the Smithsonian's shelves.
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