Rich Pickings For Dinosaur Diggers

10 September 2006

Dinosaur herds

A group of dinosaurs

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There are still plenty of dinosaurs out there to discover, a new study has concluded...

This good news for any of our listeners who are budding palaeontologists, is according to a new study by Steve Wang, a statistician at Swathmore College, Pennsylvania and Peter Dodson, a palaeontologist at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

Looking at the number of skeletons found so far from each known dinosaur genus (that's one group bigger than species, so humans are Homo sapiens, which means we belong to the Homo genus and sapiens species) - they plugged those numbers into an established mathematical model which links the fossil sightings to the likely number of unseen dinosaurs.

The analysis predicts that there could have been a total of about 1850 genera of dinosaurs in the world - of which we have so far only found 527 - so there should be plenty more fish - or should that be plenty more plesiosaurs - in the sea.

Sadly, we will never find every last dinosaur, because not all of them will have left fossils behind and the diversity of dinosaurs that we have found is biased by the availability of fossiliferrous rock outcrops. The good news though is that around about 90% of the dinosaurs which are discoverable will probably be found within the next 100 to 140 years. 

So, if you're hoping to discover something fiercer than a T-Rex or bigger than a giganotosaurus, then it's definitely still worth getting out there to have a good look!

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