Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hadrosaur Species Drop by a Third

Worse than a meteor impact is a scientists' correction. According to Science Daily, a reexamination of the diversity of hadrosaurs has revealed that much of the diversity thought to be species variability, is, in fact, nothing more than different growth stages of some hadrosaurs. The author writes:
These dinosaurs were not separate species, as some paleontologists claim, but different growth stages of previously named dinosaurs, according to a new study. The confusion is traced to their bizarre head ornaments, ranging from shields and domes to horns and spikes, which changed dramatically with age and sexual maturity, making the heads of youngsters look very different from those of adults.
There have been other discoveries as well:
Many paleontologists now realize that the elaborate head ornaments of dinosaurs, from the huge bony shield and three horns of Triceratops to the coxcomb-like head gear of some hadrosaurs, were not for combat, but served the same purpose as feathers in birds: to distinguish between species and indicate sexual maturity.

"Dinosaurs, like birds and many mammals, retain neoteny, that is, they retain their juvenile characteristics for a long period of growth," Horner said, "which is a strong indicator that they were very social animals, grouping in flocks or herds with long periods of parental care."
This is science at its best: self-correcting and constantly analyzing. As more information comes out of the fossil record, these sorts of changes will appear in the literature. This is not a problem for science but I am sure the creationists will pick up on it.

Now playing: Mannheim Steamroller - Going To Another Place
via FoxyTunes

No comments:

Post a Comment