Vernier Science Education - June 2024


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Life Science

The age of The Dinosaurs

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Karim Moghrabi Karim Moghrabi 610 Points

According to sources about 98% of Dinosaurs bones are either missing or can not be traced. Did the creatures really existed or were there very few of them that mankind missed?

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92326 Points

Hi Karim, This is a great topic that captures the interest of our students. Can you please share what sources you are referring to when you said 'according to sources'? I am interested in reading the same information that you accessed. Thanks, Carolyn

Karim Moghrabi Karim Moghrabi 610 Points

Greetings Ms. Mohr, Science is about discovery, proof and evidence. The question is did all the Dinoasur that was said to have existed really did or just made up. Please try the Discovery Channel. Many Thanks MOGHRABI

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92326 Points

That is so true that science is about discovery, proof and evidence. There is significant evidence pointing to the existence of dinosaurs. One excellent source is a present day paleontologist, Dr. Paul Sereno. His website provides much evidence from his personal dinosaur digs.
The NSTA Learning Center has many excellent resources as well. Here are a few that I found when I used the word 'dinosaur' in the advanced search feature:
Exploring the History and Nature of Science Through the Progression of Dinosaur Visualization
Career of the Month: An Interview with Dinosaur Paleontologiest Matthew Carrano
Book chapter: What You Can Learn From Fossils
What have others discovered that provide evidence of the existence of dinosaurs?

Cynthia Fong Cynthia Fong 3255 Points

Karim, Most organisms are not preserved in the fossil record simply because the type of deposition and environment necessary to "be preserved" over a long period of time is not necessarily perfect - afterall, earth is a very active planet. Rather than say, yes, dinosaurs exist, I suggest you make efforts to go on paleontological digs or visit a variety of different museums that house these different organisms remains and read the various resources already mentioned. With the evidence presented, you can then decide whether dinosaurs existed or not. Have fun exploring!

Karim Moghrabi Karim Moghrabi 610 Points

Greetings Ms. Fong, Thanks for your reply, however am interested to know if 100 % of the said dinosaurs species realy existed, though many species did and they still do such as crocodiles. Recently, a 20 foot, one ton salt water crocodile was captured in the Philippines. We can leave it to our imagination of what a particular species might have looked like. Science is about evidence. Who knows I might discover one in my quest. Karim.

Kendra Young Kendra Young 17180 Points

Hi Karim, One of the ways we estimate the number of dinosaurs that existed in the past is through our understanding of predator/prey relationships. If one predator is found in the fossil record, we can estimate how many prey species would have also existed in order to support the predator's food chain. Here is a link to one website that provides an example of how it is calculated using only one predator and one prey species (since some predators only hunt one other species) with the Lotka-Volterra model. And here is a link to a lab activity you can try at home that investigates predator/prey populations that might also help: Obviously, in order to do these calculations some assumptions have to be made (for example, do parents continue to live after reproducing or do they die during the reproductive process?). When assumptions are made, errors are likely. So, can we say with 100% certainty that 2.76 million species of dinosaurs existed during the Mesozoic era? Of course not. (Don't take that number seriously, I just made it up). But we can estimate, based on the number of predator fossils we've found so far - population dynamics - and a variety of other factors, that the fossil record only represents about 2% of the dinosaur species that would have ever lived. It's an estimate, but it's an estimate based on some really sound science. And so far, the fossil record continues to support the calculations we've made. Hope that helps! Kendra

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