How did dinosaurs sit down?

i-e88a953e59c2ce6c5e2ac4568c7f0c36-rb.png

That question has an answer: they crouched like birds. A 198 million year old fossil trackway from Utah has preserved a print of a theropod dinosaur taking a break, resting with hands curled inward and knuckle down, and legs bent. Except for the forelimbs, of course, it's very birdlike.

i-c3b19f28ff369738a17c518479cda15e-dilophosaur.jpeg
Restoration of Early Jurassic environment preserved at the SGDS, with the theropod Dilophosaurus wetherilli in bird-like resting pose, demonstrating the manufacture of SGDS.18.T1 resting trace.

Here's the section of the trace fossil they used to reconstruct the animal's posture.

i-abae1239626aec686efbe23e07a781df-trackway.jpeg
A, Overhead, slightly oblique angle photograph of SGDS.18.T1 resting trace. Note normal Eubrontes\> track cranial to resting traces (top center) made by track maker during first step upon getting up. Scale bar equals 10 cm. B, Schematic of SGDS.18.T1 to scale with A: first resting traces (manus, pes, and ischial callosity) in red, second (shuffling, pes only) traces in gold, final resting traces (pes and ischial callosity) in green, and tail drag marks made as track maker moved off in blue. Note long metatarsal ("heel") impressions on pes prints. C, Direct overhead photograph and D, computerized photogrammetry with 5 mm contour lines of Eubrontes\> trace SGDS.18.T1. Color banding reflects topography (blue-green = lowest, purple-white = highest); a portion of the berm on which the track maker crouched is discernible. Abbreviations: ic = ischial callosity, lm = left manus, lp = left pes, rm = right manus, rp = right pes, td = tail drag marks.

Milner ARC, Harris JD, Lockley MG, Kirkland JI, Matthews NA (2009) Bird-Like Anatomy, Posture, and Behavior Revealed by an Early Jurassic Theropod Dinosaur Resting Trace. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004591

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Neat. Not something I always wondered but it's always nice to come across such discoveries.

How can you tell what animal it was from those insignificant marks. Were more fossil remains found nearby?

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Very interesting.

Hmm... I recognize the artist that did that picture. Her gallery can be found here:

http://kyoht.com/art/

By Blackrend (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Isn't science great. Cephalopods and science. A great way to start a Friday.

And Pete Rooke is a fool. Science knows things you don't. And won't, without a real education. Forget all your god and religion, as it is irrelevant.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

We usually only get bits like this--sitting position, hip structure, feathers, 68-million-year-old protein--so I often miss the gravity of the whole story: dinosaurs evolved into birds, man... trippy. I always thought that dude's theory in Jurassic Park was a goof. Guess not.

Pete, those tracks are CLEARLY from a therapod dinosaur...

By Blackrend (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Maybe it was praying.

By Jeff Eyges (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

How can you tell what animal it was from those insignificant marks. Were more fossil remains found nearby?

Footshapes vary across the Dinosauria, but in a known way. The gross shape of the footprint will narrow it down to a couple of different dinosaur groups (i.e., possible trackmakers) based on the age of the rocks and the shape of the footprints (quadrupeds that had five toes to impress on the ground are very unlikely trackmakers for bipedal three-toed footprints, for example, so postulating that the tracks were made by those types of dinosaurs makes no sense). Beyond this, little can be really be said about the trackmaker (i.e., it's hard to get better taxonomic resolution) unless the footprints are remarkably well preserved, and include lots of anatomical information. Even then, a trackmaker assignment is a hypothesis.

Eubrontes isn't a dinosaur body-fossil genus. It's an ichotaxon--in this case a footprint genus. There are no Eubrontes skeletons out there. The name is restricted to the footprint morphotype alone. Ignoring the issues with slapping Latin bionomials on sedimentary structures, this is a common practice and Eubrontes fossils represent a fairly characteristic type of footprint shape found across North America in Lower Jurassic rocks. The question of what animal made Eubrontes is a different issue, but identifying a footprint as a Eubrontes track is a matter of studying the footprint itself and comparing it to other footprints. There need not be dinosaur skeletal feet preserved nearby that fit the tracks. Again, the issue of who made the fooprint is a different issue from figuring out whether or not the track morphology is consistent with the morphotype that is known as Eubrontes.

I skimmed the paper quickly, but it doesn't appear at first glance that they even really went in the direction of trackmaker identity, so what we have here is a case of pretty conservative and non-controversial work. The trackmaker issue doesn't appear to be relevant to this article. They seem to have been asking different questions (but again I just skimmed it quickly).

Pete Rooke, do you even bother to read before you start shooting off your godbot mouth? Damnation, man!

"Note normal Eubrontes track cranial to resting traces (top center) made by track maker during first step upon getting up."

Just like a Christian, just like a Creationist. Assuming your god-connection fills you with wisdom, and that you are stumping the scientists with a pseudo-question of treacly concern that instead reveals your total lack of logic, morals and manners.

Admit it, Pete, you have never read the Bible all the way through, have you? Huh? Have you read all of the Bible, carefully, in order, understanding every bit of it? Or do you just do what you do here, glance at it and start spouting?

Damnation.

By Menyambal (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@ Josh> excellent post... too bad he may not bother to read it.

@ Pete Rooke> Back for more abuse? a bit of a masochist aren't you?

ADDENDUM: The authors did in fact touch on the trackmaker issue a bit, but only as was necessary for them to address their points (because the larger taxonomic issues have been dealt with elsewhere and appear to have been incorporated into their a priori assumptions).

Why did dinosaurs sit down?

To make it easier for Jesus to hop on for a quick ride.

A good tracker would would be able to tell us what kind of saddle it was wearing and how many children were riding.

By jimmiraybob (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Josh, thanks for the expert interpretation. Sounds like this creature lived in an environment where it was unlikely to fossilize.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Why did dinosaurs sit down?

To make it easier for Jesus to hop on for a quick ride.

Yes, the word "donkey" is a mistranslation. Jesus actually rode a Brachiosaur into Jerusalem.

By Jeff Eyges (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

I love learning about the minutia of the everyday life of creatures. It really brings a sense of life and activity that reinforce that these were living creatures going about their daily lives (and deaths). Fascinating. Yay, science!

IST,

I did read it as a matter of fact and yes it was very detailed. It still seems to me that it might have painted a false picture, as it were. Perhaps they don't sit like that, perhaps it was formed after collapsing ill in a heap, after digging, scrounging, fighting, jumping, anything, giving birth... They apparently recognize the tracks but how can they know what it was doing?

By Pete Rooke (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Sounds like this creature lived in an environment where it was unlikely to fossilize.

Yeah, the terrestrial Early Jurassic of North America is a bit of a frustrating pain-in-the-ass unless you really like footprints and fish fossils (and to some degree plants). There's a ton of spectacular, beautiful outcrop (=rock exposures) that was deposited in regimes that had high sedimentation rates (and so should produce a lot of bone), but the bones are way lacking behind other evidences (both in terms of numbers and in terms of quality). There are several reasons behind this, but since they're aren't germane to this discussion, I won't bore you with them. The take home is: if you're interested in North American land vertebrates from this time period, you'd better like footprints or you'd better really like prospecting.

They apparently recognize the tracks but how can they know what it was doing?

You don't demonstrate enough knowledge about the field to marshall an effective critique.

Why don't you take some paleontology courses instead of attempting to incarnate the Platonic eternal form of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

By heliobates (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Somnolent Aphid, I think you'll find that they crucified him.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Yay! The Rookie is here to kick all of the paleontologists in the ass. His informed analogies will show how little they really know. Bloody stupid git.

By Janine, Insult… (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

They apparently recognize the tracks but how can they know what it was doing?

Pete, the article is FREE online. Follow the link provided, download the .pdf, and read the paper. Of course you won't understand every word, but you should be able to get the gist. They laid out their methods very clearly. If you're still full of questions afterward, then ask them. But seriously, read the article.

"a pring of a theropod" ?! :-D

The hind legs in the restoration look awkward with femora tilted upwards like that, knowing what the theropod leg musculature was like. I wonder if the analysis of the ichnofossil really supports that sort of position, or if the legs were folded in a more avian position, like you see in the sleeping troodont Mei long.

By Sclerophanax (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Pete> Josh beat me to it. Reading the paper, and perhaps the references in the paper, will be the best bet to answer that for you.

@Sclerophanax

*shrug*

I don't know. I'm always a little skeptical about what we can learn about an animal's posture and such from tracks, given all of the substrate variables acting on any given ichnite (and the fact that getting definitive trackmaker assignments below "theropod" is like trying to get Fox News to report news). IF we can determine that we're dealing with a trackway that is all from Time(1) though, I can certainly understand peoples' continuing desire to try.

Pete, of course they know what it looked like. Even I know what it looked like. There's a picture at the top of the post, fer fuck sake. It was a big lizardy sucker with a long tail, a black and white body, a really colourful head, long fangy teeth and a sort of gormless expression.

@IST: You mean you actually think Pete is going to bother reading the paper?

He won't. He never does. Perhaps he's unable, perhaps he's merely being disingenuous or perhaps he really is that stupid. I'm not sure what it is that prevents Pete Rooke from attempting to educate himself, but I'll lay odds on the fact that he thinks it's a good thing that he's so friggin' pig ignorant.

Sclerophanax @ 29: Well, given that there isn't much distance between the end of the impression of the metatarsals and the ischial callosity, the hind limb would have to have been strongly bent at the knee. But you're right...it seems more likely that the femur projected more forward than the reconstruction shows, which means the ankle would have been more strongly bent. I don't know theropod tarsal anatomy very well, but would that be a more likely hypothesis?

By cactusren (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Kate> no, but I'd rather suggest he read the paper than proceed to type 15 minutes worth of explanation that he'll just shrug off.

@ Josh -

The hypothesis that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs is an old idea. Darwin's "bulldog" Thomas Henry Huxley was the first to recognize this back in the early 1860s. However, it wasn't until John Ostrom's discovery of Deinonychus in the 1960s - and his subsequent reexamination of Archaeoptyerx - that this hypothesis was revived. I'm not surprised that this theropod trackway would show that theropods - or rather this theropod - sat in a bird-like position. If it wasn't predicted already, then it would have been, based on the substantial data collected since the 1970s showing that birds are the surviving avian members of the theropod saurischian dinosaur clade.

By John Kwok (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Yay Kyoht art. I <3 her dinos

Hi, John. PBS re-broadcast the NOVA episode, "The Four-Winged Dinosaur", a couple of weeks ago. Did you happen to catch it? Do you have an opinion on the terrestrial vs. arboreal origin of flight debate?

By Jeff Eyges (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@John
Uhm, yes to all of that except that A, not only has it been predicted previously, it has been demonstrated previously, and B, referring to Theropoda as the "theropod saurischian dinosaur clade" is awkward and not really correct phrasology. It would be better to say the saurischian dinosaur clade Theropoda (although the reference therein to Saurischia isn't really needed).

More the point, I don't see where any of my text suggested that A, I didn't accept a theropod origin of Aves or B, I thought that the demonstration of this posture by a theropod trackway was surprising.

*scratches head*

@John. Sorry. I thought you were talking to me. You were talking to the guy who wrote #5, yeah?

Josh #39. I guess Josh #5

I always thought that dude's theory in Jurassic Park was a goof. Guess not.

is a case of too many Joshes. (Joshi?)

@ Josh -

I wouldn't believe everything I see in "Jurassic Park", period. But more to the point, I was merely reminding you that the dinosaurian ancestry of Aves is an old idea, which was stated eloquently by Thomas Henry Huxley soon after the discovery of the first Archaeopteryx skeleton. I felt compelled to mention that since you claimed that you had heard about it by watching "Jurassic Park".

By John Kwok (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Since this is getting muddy quick, I wrote #39 because I didn't write #5 and I thought you were addressing me in #36. I think that the person who wrote #5 in this thread ONLY wrote #5.

Dave@ #41. Joshorum? Joshii? Joshae? Joshensis? The possibilities are endless...

in the article they show a scetch of the site where they took the above picture. the tracks of several dinos are there. the resting traces in the picture above are just a meter long portion of about 30 meters of track they have for this animal.

from looking at the tracks, you can easily visualize how the animal tooled along, pausied, then went on it's way. you can even see where it dragged it's tail occasionally.

very cool.

"scetch", "pausied"???

aparently i can't spel or profreed veri wel.

@47. Pretty f-ing sad, isn't it? And they want to market these lies to our children. Awesome.

I ran across this and said ... wow. My reaction is to pull up the paper and read it. This and the proto-cetid paper from a few weeks ago is just fascinating stuff. But what is the creationist response? "I don't see how this is possible, so it must not be true."
I have often wondered why they (the God-did-it crowd) don't just read the information, or at a minimum, seek and obtain an education. But I just ran across a comment on Amazon in reference to one of Ken Ham's toilet paper collection books. A comment in the reviews said,

Deceptive, unscientific, erroneous and biased. Worthless. The sad thing is that some people believe everything written in this work that religiously rapes science, because they have no understanding of real science and logic. Here's something for the people that gave this book good ratings: first get yourself some real university level science books about Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Geology, and even Maths (since erroneous basic logic is utilised in this book). When you have studied and understood these, read this work again, and realise how flawed it is.

(emphasis mine)
To which this response was given

Thanks but no thanks on the university level science books. What you need to do is to ask God to forgive you for your sins, receive the gift of salvation purchased for you by our Creator Jesus Who shed His blood for your sins, and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit Who will come to reside in you and will lead you into all truth. When this has happened you will open up the book of Genesis and your God will reveal to you that every word there is the truth. Evolution is a lie to keep you from the truth. I pray that you will receive Jesus today so that you can realise how flawed secular science books actually are.

(emphasis mine)
There just comes a point when it's no use arguing with them. Too bad we can't strip the vote from them.

By OrbitalMike (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@51. Wow. Just--wow.

Too bad we can't strip the vote from them.

Seconded.

By Jeff Eyges (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@52: Thirded.

Relatedly, is there any way of holding this position without being irredeemably elitist? I mean, if that's how's it has to be, then so be it and I'll raise my hand to the charge... but is it bad - morally speaking - to believe that some people are unqualified to have a vote? When it is a matter of *wilful* ignorance on the part of theists to foist their crap on others?

"I pray that you will receive Jesus today so that you can realise how flawed secular science books actually are."

Isn't that the definitive answer to the question of whether reason and religion can coexist?

#49, #51 - It's worth repeating:

"There are people who believe that dinosaurs and men lived together. That they roamed the Earth at the same time. There are museums that children go to, in which they build dioramas to show them this. And what this is, purely and simply, is a clinical psychotic reaction. They are crazy. They are stone...cold...f***...nuts. I can't be kind about this, because these people are watching The Flintstones as if it were a documentary."

-Lewis Black

What James quoted.

Isn't that the definitive answer to the question of whether reason and religion can coexist?

With that particular segment of their society, I sadly predict that the answer is yes.

@51 wow that was...
illuminating. and depressing.
Thanks...

i think :(

i'm not familiar with pete rooke and what his reputation in here is but i must say the responses to his brief -- and pretty innocuous question -- are a bit over the top.

i didn't realize from reading PZ's post that the thread discussion would be religious argumentation. PZ didn't write "we know dinosaurs sat, therefore, jesus didn't exist -- have at it in the thread."

sure, i'm concerned about christianists and fundagelicals destroying science, but the reflexive arm-wrestling over god -- in a post about a dinosaur's ass print -- renders the amazing work these researchers are doing meaningless except as it can be used as a club by the thought police.

it's just plain annoying to have god and jesus injected into a subject that has nothing to do with religion -- especially when it's being injected by people who don't believe in their existence!

are you that threatened by the mere appearance of someone who you disagree with on religious grounds that you have to hijack a discussion completely unrelated to the question of the existence of god?

jesus christ on a cracker, people!

i find it amazing that people were able to figure out this smushy mark was a dinosaur's ass print and appreciated josh's explication of the footprints and Eubrontes skeletons. how about more along those lines?

Relatedly, is there any way of holding this position without being irredeemably elitist? I mean, if that's how's it has to be, then so be it and I'll raise my hand to the charge... but is it bad - morally speaking - to believe that some people are unqualified to have a vote?

Unfortunately, this is one of the difficulties with democracy. If the vote has too many restrictions then you have oligarchy, not democracy.

Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. -Sir Winston S. Churchill

By 'Tis Himself (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Just wait till Ray Comfort gets a hold of this one....

By ZenMonkey (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

i'm not familiar with pete rooke and what his reputation in here

The rest of your response makes this clear.

are you that threatened by the mere appearance of someone who you disagree with on religious grounds that you have to hijack a discussion completely unrelated to the question of the existence of god?

No. Are you in the habit of insulting people on a blog you're unfamiliar with by likening them to "the thought police"?

*Loving* your contribution to the discussion by the way.

karen marie> Pete Rooke was in a recent thread, and others ad naseum . He pretty much always brings the same fallacious arguments from personal incredulity, moves the goalposts, and generally annoys people with insipid religious nonsense. I decided to be civil to this one on the off-chance that it was and innocuous question, but knowing the source that's a bit much to assume.(That doesn't prevent me from wondering why he chooses to continue coming here to get flamed post after post) Josh was kind enough to oblige him with an explanation of the data, which (in typical Rooke style) wasn't good enough.

Oh i'm sorry, I misread some of your post

the reflexive arm-wrestling over god -- in a post about a dinosaur's ass print -- renders the amazing work these researchers are doing meaningless except as it can be used as a club by the thought police.

Your concern is noted

In regards to who's allowed to vote, Terry Prachett summarized that nicely:
The patriarch looked over the city, and knew that "one man, one vote" was the way to go. And he was the man with the one vote.

therapod

<word rage>TherOOOOOOOOOpod!!!</word rage>

Were more fossil remains found nearby?

Dinosaurs of the right size and shape, namely the illustrated Dilophosaurus, are known from about the same age from Arizona (though not from Utah, which didn't preserve body fossils at that time).

Body fossils and trace fossils are usually not found together, because they tend to require different conditions for preservation.

In any case, it must be a theropod. That's clear from the foot shape.

Eubrontes fossils represent a fairly characteristic type of footprint shape found across North America in Lower Jurassic rocks.

Eh, not just North America.

As expected from a time when Pangea still held together.

They apparently recognize the tracks but how can they know what it was doing?

If it collapsed, where's the impression of its belly and chest, or its side? Not even the pubic boot is impressed, only the ischial one.

Digging -- where's the hole? And so on.

But you're right...it seems more likely that the femur projected more forward than the reconstruction shows, which means the ankle would have been more strongly bent. I don't know theropod tarsal anatomy very well, but would that be a more likely hypothesis?

I think so.

referring to Theropoda as the "theropod saurischian dinosaur clade" is awkward and not really correct phrasology.

Well, it is, it's just not very English…

The body impression shows the neutral hand position for theropods, but they did have a fair amount of rotation so they could turn their hands palms-down when they wanted to;

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/dinosaur/2009/03/06/getting-a-handle-on…

I've never seen a non-sauropod saurischian forearm that was anywhere near compatible with this. So, either we have a very special theropod here -- or we have to think of another explanation. For example, what if the scratches were made with the palms facing each other (or maybe bent outwards to face the ground), the fingers hyperextended to different degrees, and the hands being dragged backward at 90° to where the claws were pointing?

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Yay! I knew my old professor Dr Lockley had to be involved. No one knows Dinosaur tracks like him, in class it was like being with Sherlock Holmes, so much he can find out about a dinosaur from just looking at their tracks.

By Evinfuilt (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

There's something about that pose that makes me want to throw a stick and yell 'Fetch!'

Whatever happened to the notion that God put fossils in the ground to test people's faith? I seem to remember that floating about in some flat - er, young - earther stuff many a year ago. Or maybe it was just Baptists.

By DominEditrix (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

In any case, it must be a theropod. That's clear from the foot shape.

That's not universally agreed-upon (even though I personally agree with you--I don't think for a second that Eubrontes was made by a prosauropod). Bob Weems in particular has long hated the theropod trackmaker idea (and actually not just for Eubrontes).

Weems RE, 1992, A re-evaluation of the taxonomy of Newark Supergroup saurischian dinosaur tracks, using extensive statistical data from a recently exposed tracksite near Culpeper, Virginia. In: Sweet PC, ed. Proceedings of the 26th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, May 14–18. Va Div Min Res Publ 119: 113–127.

Weems RE, 2003, Plateosaurus foot structure suggests a single trackmaker for Eubrontes and Gigandipus footprints. In: Letourneau PM, Olsen PE, eds. The Great Rift Valleys of Pangea in Eastern North America Volume 2: Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and Paleontology. New York: Columbia University Press. pp 293–313.

so "must be a theropod" is probably a bit too strong.

Eh, not just North America.

Good catch. It was in the back of my mind to revise and expand that part, but I got lazy and wanted to finish the damn comment.

Well, it is, it's just not very English…

You really think the words "theropod saurischian dinosaur clade" in that order really refer to anything? I don't think so. Thankfully, it doesn't really matter if we agree on that point or not.

*Oliver | March 6, 2009 2:14 PM

Are you in the habit of insulting people on a blog you're unfamiliar with by likening them to "the thought police"?

actually, i'm very familiar with this blog, having come here fairly regularly, commenting occasionally, for a couple years. are you always so thin-skinned that you are insulted by my pointing out the tiresomeness of religious argumentation in a discussion about a subject which has nothing to do with religion?

really, if pete rooke is such a thorn in your side, why pay him so much attention?

as i said above: "it's just plain annoying to have god and jesus injected into a subject that has nothing to do with religion -- especially when it's being injected by people who don't believe in their existence!"

how about addressing that, oliver, instead of getting the vapors because somebody criticized juvenile behavior.

"There just comes a point when it's no use arguing with them. Too bad we can't strip the vote from them."
We should strip the benefits of medicine that came from using the theory of evolution - after all, if they think that evolutionary theory is false, then they would also think that all medicine or any other kind of benefits of evolutionary biology - are false, and thus should not receive the benefits from them.

In fact, perhaps there ought to be two versions of medicine: a creationist version of medicine for creationists, and an evolutionary version of medicine for empiricists.

That's not universally agreed-upon (even though I personally agree with you--I don't think for a second that Eubrontes was made by a prosauropod).

How does that work with the first toe of sauropodomorphs?

Weems RE, 2003, Plateosaurus foot structure suggests a single trackmaker for Eubrontes and Gigandipus footprints.

Holtz's First Rule of Skeletal Restoration: if you can't fit the skeleton inside the model, the model is wrong.

If you can't fit the foot inside the footprint…

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

How does that work with the first toe of sauropodomorphs?

*laughs*
Have you read the paper? It's kinda fun. Plateosaurus was walking with that toe retracted (not anatomically per se, but held "up") so that it didn't impress into the substrate.

Holtz's First Rule of Skeletal Restoration

Yeah, because I believe everything Tom says without question. Seriously, though, I agree with you. I was just reacting to the use of the word "must."

if pete rooke is such a thorn in your side, why pay him so much attention?

Excellent question. Greasemonkey's killfile is very handy for such cases. I recommend it to everyone.

Hey, you know what else is a thorn in my side? People who are too lazy or too cool to use the Shift key.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Hey, you know what else is a thorn in my side? People who are too lazy or too cool to use the Shift key.

careful. Whilst some none-Use of the SHIFT key is siLLY, SOME USE is also!!!!11!!

back to the subject: This is groovy. (Yeah, I suppose that dates me.) i admit to never having wondering about the dinosaur sitting question before, But that somehow makes the idea and interpretation all the more wonderful.

Shift key: Good.
Caps Lock key: NOT GOOD.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

Caps lock key with bold and italic code, however...

AWESOME!

But of course you're right.
Shift-key abuse: NoT gOoD aT aLl !!!!!111!!!1!

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@Oliver, #54:

is there any way of holding this position without being irredeemably elitist? I mean, if that's how's it has to be, then so be it and I'll raise my hand to the charge... but is it bad - morally speaking - to believe that some people are unqualified to have a vote?

I don't think so. I'm very much in favor of developing some sort of testing methodology that (unlike the IQ test) can measure accurately an individual's intellectual capacity and ability to apprehend consensual reality. We then need to apply minimal standards. Anyone who falls below those standards doesn't get to vote.

A conservative intellectual who holds opinions that the rest of us find repugnant - he gets to vote (unfortunately!). The people from Cavalry Baptist who think that Obama is the Antichrist, dinosaurs helped the Jews build the pyramids and Jesus is coming to rapture them any day now - no, they don't get to vote. I have absolutely NO problem taking it away from them.

Want to label me an elitist? Fine. I have no problem with that, either. I've been called worse.

By Jeff Eyges (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@ karen marie

If you visit this site regularly you should know that many of us are here for the awesome science plus the atheist community. If you don't like the tone there are plenty of science blogs that are neutral on the subject. Go visit one.

The illustration reminds me of a dog dragging its butt on the carpet. ; )

If I recall correctly, Robert Heinlein suggested that folks be considered adults for voting purposes only if they passed first year calculus with decent grades. Of course, *he was an engineer. It would be worth my struggling with it if it helps keep the riff-raff out of the voting booths.

@katrn marie

I already told you I'm not offended by your pointing out "the tiresomeness of religious argumentation in a discussion about a subject which has nothing to do with religion?". I just think it's a bit odd to start describing people tired of Rooke's shit as "thought police" when by your own admission you haven't had to deal with his inane religiosity. Because it does get pretty annoying when "god and jesus [are] injected into a subject that has nothing to do with religion". Sound familiar?

how about addressing that, oliver, instead of getting the vapors because somebody criticized juvenile behavior.

Now that I have, twice, how about you get the fuck off my case? After all you'd be a raging hypocrite to carry on this very tiresome exchange that has nothing to do with science.

"While science brings us this cool discovery that sheds light into the history of life on earth, "creation science" brings us dinosaurs with saddles...fundie Flintstones, if you will. "

Specifically, creation science will get you this particular dinosaur in this paper with a saddle on it. It's sitting down, as another commenter noted, to allow its riders easier access. Creationists never do their own fucking work. They just parasitize actual scientists.

#25 richard harris - woulds't better to be sat upon or crucified? The sittin's quicker, but less'd be the glory. "Father father why have you fors... squish... ", doesn't work as well.

Sven @75:

I have found a few seconds with a screw driver will pop that sucker right off and presto! No more cap lock errors.

Karen Marie...Petey gets the verbal abuse he does because of his habit of making comments and not having either the stones or the facts to back them up. Go to the thread "Banned in Oklahoma" and you can read perhaps 80 to 100 of his posts. He is the person who consistently tries to turn every biology thread into a debate with a godbot.

Pete's religious posts are no big deal... its the ones full of his S&M and rape fantasies that get a bit creepy.

By Jafafa Hots (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

#69: We should strip the benefits of medicine that came from using the theory of evolution - after all, if they think that evolutionary theory is false, then they would also think that all medicine or any other kind of benefits of evolutionary biology - are false, and thus should not receive the benefits from them.
______

We have medicine because god (however indirectly) gave it to us! He put the fossils there to fool us into discovering evolution which in turn allowed us to make medical advances. Silly atheist.

I got a sense that Karen Marie probably promotes sitting straight up in class. A lively blog thread meanders a bit in topic? Alluding to other lively threads? Say it ain't so! I hope all you commenters are not slouching at your computers or else I will have to rap your knuckles with my ruler!

Raivo Pommer
raimo1@hot.ee

Geldschloss

Die Schweiz, Luxemburg und Österreich suchen einen Weg, wie sie einen Rest ihrer Bankgeheimnisse retten können

Vier Wochen vor dem Treffen der 20 wichtigsten Wirtschaftsnationen der Welt (G20) kommt Bewegung in die Riege der europäischen Steueroasen. Die Schweiz, größter Finanzplatz für internationale Privatvermögen, hat sich am Freitag offiziell zu einer weiteren Aufweichung ihres Bankgeheimnisses bereit erklärt. Ähnliche Signale werden von einem Treffen der Finanzminister der Schweiz, Österreichs und Luxemburg am Sonntag in Luxemburg erwartet.

"Wir wollen die internationale Zusammenarbeit bei Steuerdelikten verbessern", sagt der Schweizer Bundespräsident und Finanzminister Hans-Rudolf Merz nach einer Kabinettssitzung in Bern. Die Drohungen von Seiten großer Industriestaaten seien ungerechtfertigt, aber ernst zu nehmen. Für die Schweiz gelte es zu verhindern, dass sie von der G20 oder einem ähnlichen internationalen Forum auf eine Schwarze Liste gesetzt werde. "Auf Verträge einzugehen, die unter Sanktionen entstanden sind, wäre ganz schlecht", sagte Merz. Erwartet wird, dass Österreich und Luxemburg bei dem Treffen am Sonntag ein ähnliche Position einnehmen werden. Belgien und Luxemburg, so sagte der britische Botschafter in Bern jüngst, hätten ohnehin signalisiert, dass sie das Bankgeheimnis nach 2013 "nicht in dieser Form weiterführen werden". Ein Sprecher des Luxemburger Finanzministers wies diese Darstellung am Freitag jedoch zurück.

Have you read the paper? It's kinda fun. Plateosaurus was walking with that toe retracted (not anatomically per se, but held "up") so that it didn't impress into the substrate.

I haven't read it, but 1) it sounds like special pleading, and 2) there's always Otozoum, the bipedal four-toed ichnogenus.

I'm very much in favor of developing some sort of testing methodology that (unlike the IQ test) can measure accurately an individual's intellectual capacity and ability to apprehend consensual reality.

Assuming this is possible, why bother about the potential and not simply measure the actual knowledge? After all, very bright people were creationists before 1859.

I think this is part of the reason why hoamsgooling is forbidden over here: it's simply to make sure that everyone learns something.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

Raivo, hör auf zu spammen. Wen interessiert das Bankgeheimnis? Wir reden hier von was Interessanterem!

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

I haven't read it, but 1) it sounds like special pleading

Yeah, I didn't find it particularly convincing. In particular because he didn't really test the hypothesis in any rigorous fashion. He did enough to erect the hypothesis, claimed that this was a test, and basically stopped there.

, and 2) there's always Otozoum, the bipedal four-toed ichnogenus.

Indeed. You should check out Rainforth's treatment of that ichnogenus in Palaeontology from a few years back. That work pretty much constituted 'nuff said about Otozoum, I think.

Thisis awesome. Being the resident Bird Overlord, I must say that this is one cool-ass fossil. I see many birds sit down to take a rest and it is cute as hell. My king vultures were both chillin' in the sun yesterday, sitting back like the fossil-making theropod did.

I must point out, though, that the impression in the mud to the rear of the toes is called the "hock" in modern parlance, not the knee, and it corresponds to the heel on our anatomy.

I'm very much in favor of developing some sort of testing methodology that (unlike the IQ test) can measure accurately an individual's intellectual capacity and ability to apprehend consensual reality. We then need to apply minimal standards. Anyone who falls below those standards doesn't get to vote. - Jeff Eyges

This sort of idiocy suggests you would fall well below the standard required to vote if, contrary to fact, such a test were a possibility. Personally, I wouldn't even ban people who want to destroy democracy, such as you, from voting.

Aside from the fact that such a test is not a possibility ("intellectual capacity" is not unidimensional, nor fixed), consider:

1) Those who are not clever still have interests to defend. To deprive them of the right to vote is to deny them this right.
2) Part of the point of democracy is that, because we all get a say in decisions - or at least in choosing those who make them - we all have some obligation to abide by them.
3) A related point: those disenfranchised would resent it and some would, quite justifiably, resort to violence. Many who would pass any such test, but who unlike you have an elementary sense of justice, would side with them.
4) The most cursory look at history would show you that voting qualification schemes are always manipulated to favour specific candidates and parties.

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

@Knockgoats

Good points well made.

I asked the originating question in comment #54 and I'm dismayed at myself. You're absolutely right: the only legitimate way to pursue an agenda is through discourse and the democratic process.

It is our responsibility to make the argument for a liberal, tolerant position sufficiently clear that it will prevail on its own merits rather than trying to disenfranchise those who disagree with it.

I shouldn't let frustration at the malevolent idiocy of the Bachmans of this world cloud my judgement about that.

@Knockgoats

This sort of idiocy suggests you would fall well below the standard required to vote if, contrary to fact, such a test were a possibility.

Thank you!

By Jeff Eyges (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

I happened to be standing next to an emu when it sat down. It made quite an audible thump with those haunch-elbows. Heels? Elongated heels.

The blog link above goes to an article from 1999 about scientists using 3D design software to model the formation of a footprint in mud and explain the rather vague print and an apparent heel-spur, which turned out to be an artifact of motion.