GLY/MFC 137: The Dinosaurs - University at Buffalo
GLY/MFC 137: The Dinosaurs Scientific Method Science is a way of understanding the physical universe. It is a set of tools by which to explore the world.
Uses the method of testing hypotheses Observations of natural phenomena lead to possible explanations (hypotheses) These hypotheses must be falsifiable (i.e., there must be some test which can demonstrate that
the hypothesis is untrue) Until the hypothesis is tested, it is only considered a speculation Theory If
the hypothesis survives a test (or tests) of falsification, it is tentatively (or provisionally) accepted (keeping in mind that additional tests might potentially overturn the hypothesis) A
hypothesis that has undergone severe testing and survived, has wide acceptance in the scientific community and can be successfully used to predict the results of future tests is called a theory. Publication Science proceeds by publication of ideas in
a public arena. Allows others to check the original scientist's observations Allows others (including later generations) to independently test the hypotheses Allows ideas to be widely transmitted
Dinosauria The word "Dinosauria" (and hence "dinosaur") was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen Greek deinos "fearfully great" (i.e., not just big, but SCARY BIG!), and sauros "lizard"
Note: hundreds of books to the contrary, Owen did not say Dinosauria meant "terrible lizard" People have long known about Dinosaur tracks, but they were
completely misidentified The tracks to the left were known as "Noah's Raven" The first published record of a dinosaur bone was in Robert
Plots Natural History of Oxfordshire published in 1677. He called it the capita Fermoris inferiora or part of a thigh bone from just above the knee joint, and he thought that
it was the petrified bone of an elephant that had come to England during the Roman occupation. In 1728 a posthumous catalog of the geologic collection of John Woodward
showed a portion of a dinosaur limb bone. This is the earliest discovered dinosaur bone that is still accounted for (i.e. its still labeled and in a museum). There were several other discoveries of what we now know are dinosaur bones, but most were lost and/or not formally
published First major published dinosaur discovery, was in Britain, by Reverend William Buckland: Megalosaurus (big lizard) Formally described it in 1824 Thought it to be a giant version of the modern monitor lizard
Next major discovery, in the Weald region of southern England, by husband and wife team Dr. Gideon and Mary Ann Mantell: Teeth were leaf-shaped, reminiscent of the modern Iguana, a primarily herbivorous reptile
Called it Iguanodon (iguana tooth) Formally described it in 1825 Imagined it to be an immense version of the iguana lizard Third major discovery, also in the Weald region and also by the Mantells:
Very large spikes were found arranged along the skeleton: first evidence of giant armored reptiles Called it Hylaeosaurus (lizard of the Weald) described in 1833 Pictured it as a giant spiky lizard In 1841, Sir Richard Owen gave public talks about
the fossil reptiles of Britain. Concluded that Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus formed their own distinct group. Proposed the name Dinosauria (fearfully great lizards) for this group when he wrote up talk (in 1842) In the 1850s at the Great Expositions Crystal Palace Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins sculpted
Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus (and some other non-dinosaurs) under Owens guidance. Dinosaurs became popular subjects for popular science, political cartoons, etc. First North American discoveries in 1855: Dinosaur teeth found by explorers in
western territories (now Montana): Described in 1856 by first American vertebrate paleontologist Joseph Leidy Recognized some to be similar to Iguanodon, others to be similar to Megalosaurus, still others to be some sort of lizard. Leidy named them: Deinodon (terrible tooth)
Trachodon (rough tooth) In 1858, first major North American dinosaur fossil: Discovered near Haddonfield, New Jersey Described by Leidy, who named it Hadrosaurus (heavy lizard)
Teeth and bones were similar to Iguanodon, but fossil was more complete Front leg was much smaller and more slender than hindlimb, indicating it was bipedal (two legged) Suggested that Iguanodon was bipedal, too Great Dinosaur Rush
Edward Drinker Cope Othniel Charles Marsh A personal rivalry developed between Cope and Marsh
fueled by rapid, massive digs rush to name each species first
only interested in getting as many bones as possible little care or record of actual digs rushed publications with poor qualitymistakes made because names often based on only a few bones The vast numbers of fossils discovered formed the central collections of major museums, including some of the first complete dinosaur fossils.
era of imperial paleontology Most famous expeditions: o American Museum of Natural History expeditions: the Central Asiatic Expeditions of the 1920s o
From 1907-1912, German expedition to Tendaguru, German East Africa (now Tanzania) Various digs in other parts of the world by other museums (e.g., Germans in Egypt, various U.S. and Canadian museums in Alberta, etc.)
In 1960s, John Ostrom of Yale University: Reinterpreted horned and duckbill dinosaurs as sophisticated feeders In 1964, discovered Deinonychus (terrible claws) (named in 1969) - Sickle-like claw on foot indicated active leaping predator Later comparisons between Deinonychus
and the primitive bird Archaeopteryx caused Ostrom to revive idea that dinosaurs were bird ancestors 1970s: Beginning of the Dinosaur Renaissance. New (or revived) topics of dinosaur research:
Were they cold-blooded or warm-blooded?
Did they have complex family structures? How did they communicate? How were the different types of dinosaur related? What was the relationship between dinosaurs & birds? How did the dinosaurs go extinct? New discoveries from many parts of the world
Now discoveries made from every continent Fossils (from Latin fossilium "that which is dug up") are the physical remains of past life and its activities preserved in the rock record. The only physical evidence of ancient organisms.
Only direct data for knowledge of past life Paleontology, the study of ancient life and their remains (fossils). Vertebrate Paleontology, the study of ancient backboned animals, including dinosaurs Trace
Body Types of dinosaur fossils:
Isolated bones and teeth Skeletons, in varying degrees of completeness Footprints and trackways Skin impressions and Feathers
Mineralized soft tissue (muscles, intestines, possible heart) Eggs (some with embryos) and nests Coprolites (fossilized feces) Taphonomy taphos = burial + nomous = law
The study of how fossils are formed. The scope of taphonomic research can be conveniently summarized as:
The manner and cause of death of organisms Processes of decay and decomposition Transportation of fossils or potential fossils Burial of remains Diagenesis (conversion into rock) of remains
Because fossils are preserved in rock, need to understand basics of geology. Rocks (naturally occurring cohesive solids comprised of one or more minerals or mineraloids) are generated in one of three primary manners (basis of rock classification):
Igneous Metamorphic Sedimentary Rock Types IGNEOUS
SEDIMENTARY METAMORPHIC Igneous Rocks Igneous rocks form when molten
rock (magma) originating from deep within the Earth solidifies forming distinct crystals of different minerals. The chemical composition of the magma and its cooling rate determine the final igneous rock type. Intrusive
(within the Earth) Extrusive (erupts to surface) All igneous rocks start out as molten rock
Metamorphic Rocks Metamorphic rocks are rocks that have been substantially changed from their original igneous, sedimentary, or earlier metamorphic form. Metamorphic rocks form when rocks are subjected to high heat, high pressure, hot mineral-rich fluids or, more commonly, some combination of these
factors. BUT THEY HAVE NOT BEEN MELTED ! Metamorphic Rocks Sedimentary Rocks Sedimentary rocks are formed from preexisting rocks (sediment) and/or pieces of
once-living organisms. They form from deposits that accumulate on the Earths surface which become compacted to form rock layers. Clastic Sediment Formed of fragments of weathered rocks or
ash/dust - Sand, clay, & boulders are examples. Clastic sedimentary rocks are named according to the sizes of the particles. Clast = Greek for fragment or piece Clastic Sediment
Formed of fragments of weathered rocks or shells - Sand, clay, boulders and shell fragments are examples. Clastic sedimentary rocks are named according to the sizes of the particles. Conglomerate
Chemical Sedimentary Rocks Chemical sedimentary rocks are formed by chemical precipitation. precipitation This process begins when water traveling through rock dissolves some of the minerals, carrying them away
from their source. Eventually these minerals are re-deposited when the water evaporates away or when the water becomes over-saturated. Evaporites Gypsum (CaSO4 2H2O) and Halite (NaCl)
Gypsum is formed by the evaporation of seawater rich in calcium - it forms after limestone and before halite Biologic Sedimentary Rocks Biologic sedimentary rocks form from onceliving organisms. They may form from accumulated carbon-rich plant material (coal)
or from deposits of animal shells. Limestone & dolomite are formed from the shells and other hard body parts of marine organisms such as clams, coral, oysters, and microscopic organisms like diatoms. Chemical Sedimentary Rocks
Chemical sedimentary rocks are formed by chemical precipitation. This process begins when water traveling through rock dissolves some of the minerals, carrying them away from their source. Eventually these minerals are re-deposited when the water evaporates away or when the water
Biologic sedimentary rocks form from onceliving organisms. They may form from accumulated carbon-rich plant material (coal) or from deposits of animal shells. Limestone & dolomite are formed from the shells and other hard body parts of marine organisms such as clams, coral, oysters, and microscopic organisms like diatoms.
Rock Cycle Sedimentary Environments Marine - Ocean/Sea Non-marine (or terrestrial)
fluvial lacustrine eolian
deltaic Fluvial - Rivers and Streams Flood Plains Fluvial
Rocks River Channel Sandstone Conglomerate Siltstone
Floodplain Sandstone, Siltstone Clay Conglomerate > 2 mm
Rounded Particles Angular Particles (Breccia) Sandstone 2mm - 1/16 mm
Siltstone 1/16 mm - 1/256 mm Lacustrine - Lake Clay < 1/256 mm in diameter Shale - fissile (i.e. breaks into sheets)
Claystone - massive not fissile Beaches can form Sandstone Eolian - wind blown
Deltaic - where fluvial meets lacustrine or marine Geologic Time Relative Time verses Absolute Time Absolute Time is based on radiometric dating
(using radioactive decay to determine the exact age of a sample) Relative Time is based on establishing the relative order of events without knowing the duration of each event or the amount of time lapsed between events
Relative Time 1. Principle of Original Horizontality 2. Principle of Superposition 3. Principle of Original Lateral Continuity Principle of Cross-Cutting
Law of Fossil Succession Unconformity Represents an interruption in the deposition of sediment - no material is deposited and possibly some rock layers may have been
eroded Correlation Absolute Time Radioactive Decay
Electron Capture the decay of beryllium-7 to form lithium-7 Uranium Decay Half-life
The time required for one-half of the nuclei in a sample to decay Geologic Time Scale Divided into FOUR major time units: EONS - largest division there are 4 eons ERAS PERIODS EPOCHS - smallest block of time only
the most recent era is divided into epochs EONS
HADEAN - 4.6 to 3.8 billion years ago ARCHEAN - 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago Proterozoic - 2.5 Ba to 544 million years ago Phanerozoic - 544 Ma to now Archean
Means ancient Earth was not completely formed yet Earliest life - one celled organisms Proterozoic Meaning revealed life stable continents first appeared and began
to accrete (glomb together) the first abundant fossils of living organisms, mostly bacteria first evidence of oxygen build-up in atmosphere Phanerozoic
Means visible life the most recent eon divided into three ERAS Paleozoic ancient life Mesozoic middle life Cenozoic recent life
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