Everything We Know About Dinosaurs Has Been Proven Wrong
Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and David Attenborough - possibly the first three things that spring to mind when we think of dinosaurs. (I'm referring to David Attenborough's documentaries here and not his age).
We love a good dinosaur, some of us even go so far as to impersonate them given a chance...
But in a new article, PhD student Matthew Baron (from the University of Cambridge) has rubbished a lot of the things we took for granted. He's spent three years scanning fossils and comparing their anatomic features - he's clearly, a full-time student with that much time on his hands.
Up to this point, identifying a dinosaur came down to the hip bones. **Warning technical terms follow**
Ornithischia (bird-hipped), dinosaurs are separated from Saurischia (lizard-hipped). This was decided back in the 1880s but has been used ever since.
There are over 1,000 known species currently, all ranging from 200 million years old to a more youthful 66 million.
Baron's computer analysis looked at far more anatomic features and completely reorded the family tree of dinosaurs.
It looked at 457 diagnostic anatomical features, analysed 32 billion trees and came up with the best possible arrangement... all in five minutes.
There's still plenty of research to be done, but critics are praising Baron for his dedication and works.
Credit: Matthew Baron
Kevin Padian, a dinosaur expert at the University of California, told the New York Times it will be "interesting" how this is received given the "original and provocative reassessment of dinosaur origins and relationships."
"It's a radical proposal," he said. "No one expects it will be the last word."
Velociraptors are now on their complete own branch of the dinosaur family tree. It's been called Therapoda and it's likely these flying dinosaurs spread from Scotland instead of South America. McVelociraptor?
And, the dinsoaurs' ancestor? Humans... but a little more dinosaur-ish.
The New York Times wrote: "Based on his tree, Mr Baron believes that the original dinosaurs were small, two-footed animals with large grasping hands, as others have said before, but also omnivorous. Early dinosaurs had both knifelike teeth for eating meat and flatter teeth for chewing plants."
The question arising from this... Why didn't dinosaurs evolve like humans? Or, why didn't humans evolve like dinosaurs? A proper beard-scratcher...
Featured Image Credit: PA