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  • Dahkness changed the title to Super Dinosaurs ūü¶ē

Am I the only one who looks at those photos of how much of the skull they're basing these "discoveries" on and thinks it might be possible that Paleontology us just a specific sub-genre of SciFi literature?

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I remember when the found an extinct race of 'Hobbits'.  It was big news!  They based their findings from 1 skeleton.  That was it.  The story was a flash in the pan - and disappeared quickly.

Species: Homo floresiensis

 

I suppose everyone needs their hour of fame.

 

What gives this credence is the fact that Science Fiction must make sense.

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7 hours ago, Shred Monkey said:

Am I the only one who looks at those photos of how much of the skull they're basing these "discoveries" on and thinks it might be possible that Paleontology us just a specific sub-genre of SciFi literature?

 

It's real science.  The sizes of bones or bone fragments can give a relatively good indication of the size of the animal.  Bones tend to grow in specific shapes, too, so one can discern what the animal looked like based on the bones or fragments.  Muscles were attached at specific points when the animal was alive.  Those attachments left impressions - increased calcification, indentations, striations and other signatures.  Careful examination of those clues and comparison to known contemporaries and/or similar animals will reveal the general musculature of the creature, which also tells you much more about it's appearance.  The porosity of the bones can reveal whether the animal was exothermic or endothermic, in some cases.

 

Paleontology is really just forensic analysis of fossils.

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39 minutes ago, Luminara said:

 

It's real science.  The sizes of bones or bone fragments can give a relatively good indication of the size of the animal.  Bones tend to grow in specific shapes, too, so one can discern what the animal looked like based on the bones or fragments.  Muscles were attached at specific points when the animal was alive.  Those attachments left impressions - increased calcification, indentations, striations and other signatures.  Careful examination of those clues and comparison to known contemporaries and/or similar animals will reveal the general musculature of the creature, which also tells you much more about it's appearance.  The porosity of the bones can reveal whether the animal was exothermic or endothermic, in some cases.

 

Paleontology is really just forensic analysis of fossils.

Oh I have no doubt you can learn a lot from fossil records.  But look at that image in the link.  There's an awful lot of "penciled in" parts.  How do we know the snout isn't 2x longer?  Furthermore, I could, for example, look at a skull like that and say, "I've observed many dinosaur skull fragments from this era appear to be consistent with those found in head injuries in head-on collisions.  Therefore we can determine that Dinosaurs didn't have seat-belt laws."   

 

I do believe that science can tell us things about dinosaurs, but they never tell us "We're 80% sure the parts we pieced together are from the same animal.  We're 60% sure we put the pieces in the right place.  We're 33% sure the parts we didn't find look like *this*, which produces an irregular bump in *this* spot that we're 20% sure improved hearing.  Accounting for stacking margins of error, our prediction model has a 3.1% chance of being correct."  

 

Instead feels like "look at that bump!  This dino had super hearing!" 

Edited by Shred Monkey

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39 minutes ago, Shred Monkey said:

How do we know the snout isn't 2x longer?

 

The muscle attachment points.  The striations left by bone growth where the muscles attached, the structure and thickness of the bone, the locations of those attachment points, the proportional sizes of the attachment points, they all tell us about the overall structure of the animal's head.  If the head were elongated in the manner you describe, the attachment points would express that elongation.

 

Forensics.  Real science.

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joke answer:  This looks like a job for Michael Crichton and Jeff Goldblum!

real answer:  I'd listen to Luminara. 

 

Yea, there's no doubt some *very* fine details we may not get.  Did they have round irises or cat-eyes? Some things if too much connective flesh is gone or if it's too far removed from the bone, we may not get.  And may they come to some conclusions at first, and recalibrate after? Sure.  But this doesn't look like someone winging it to me. If you go from the linked article to the scientific journal where they published their findigs (link to that exists on the first link), it goes on and on for some time, and does explore whether this skull could be a juvenile skull or fully developed one, and compared to other types of dinosaurs whose fossiles were found in similar regions from a similar time period. 

 

There's 122 different sources cited to it. I'm not going to read all of them. But it doesn't say "snow job" to me. 

 

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32 minutes ago, MTeague said:

here's 122 different sources cited to it. I'm not going to read all of them. But it doesn't say "snow job" to me. 

I agree with most everything you both are saying.  But I'm also personally familiar with the publication process for academic journals.  Double blind peer reviewed articles are still full of opinions, guesswork, and circular references.  Professors earn points toward tenure based on publications and presentations, so they're motivated to push quantity over quality and unfortunately many shortcuts and exploits exist.  It's pretty common to see circular logic where someone claims their findings support a "popular" theory, and then they cite articles that define that same "popular" theory to support their findings.  Both articles gain credibility, but neither has really added new proof of anything.  It's not a complete house of cards,  But let's just say I'm a skeptic when it comes to things that don't have solid laboratory proof.  I mean, in the end we've jumped from 5-6 fossilized bone fragments to super-hearing apex predators.  I think it's valuable to take a step back and ask if we've assumed too much.

 

Sidenote: Vaccines efficacy has been proven.  Go get one, (because I'd hate for you to think I'm one of those anti-science bozos.)

 

 

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10 hours ago, Shred Monkey said:

Am I the only one who looks at those photos of how much of the skull they're basing these "discoveries" on and thinks it might be possible that Paleontology us just a specific sub-genre of SciFi literature?

 

I'm waiting for when they discover a skull with hardpoint attachments for lasers.

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Welp, guess I believe dinosaurs were wiped out by aliens now!  You can't prove it didn't happen!

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  • 2 weeks later

There's a lot of educated guesswork involved.  It's typically "good" guesswork, based on sound scientific principles.  I reckon the guesswork in this case, is pretty close.  Enough of the upper jaw structure is intact, and similar fossils have been found complete from other species, we can be confident that the lower jaw did look something like this.

 

On the other hand, the lower jaw almost certainly did not look "exactly" like this.

 

Most likely, in time, they'll unearth more fossils of the species and we'll be able to fill in more of the blanks.  It's a gradual sort of process, as more specimens are discovered.  Likewise, determining how the creatures lived is an exercise in educated guesswork, refined as we unearth more fossils that improve our knowledge and correct former assumptions (which happens relatively frequently).

 

Peer review does have many problems, as Shred Monkey rightly points out, but it's still the best method we have for verifying scientific discoveries.  Even if you have solid, laboratory proof, you have to have that proof verified through peer review.  Otherwise, it's just a "claim" that you have solid, laboratory proof.

 

The real problem is greed, ambition, and human ego.¬† If we could get rid of those things, there would be no problems with peer review.¬† Sadly, I see no resolution to the latter two of those particular problems.¬† The first, while theoretically surmountable, I also have grave doubts about.¬†¬†ūü§∑‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ

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On 4/5/2021 at 8:45 PM, Clave Dark 5 said:

Welp, guess I believe dinosaurs were wiped out by aliens now!  You can't prove it didn't happen!

As Sailboat so eloquently pointed out they're not gone they just look a little different nowadays. 07K1tHnz_o.png

 

On 4/5/2021 at 8:17 PM, Coyote said:

 

I'm waiting for when they discover a skull with hardpoint attachments for lasers.

 

When they do find one it better be a shark skull. Sharks with fricken lasers man!

 

 

Edited by Christopher Robin

 

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