Dinosaurs and Science. Most people are aware of dinosaurs and can perhaps name some of the more common ones such as triceratops, the forty foot high terrifying tyrannosaurus rex, the tyrant lizard, or the megalosaur. The smaller ones are less well known. They may not however be aware of the scientific importance of all these long gone creatures…
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As in moderns day nature “nature abhors a vacuum” (Aristotle, quoted by Link, 2011 ) and so dinosaurs developed to fit into every niche, large, small, carnivorous, herbivorous etc. It is possible to tell what each creature ate if their teeth are examined. Just as the teeth of dogs and cows are very different, to suit their individual diets, so the teeth of meat eating dinosaurs are very different from those of the vegetarians. They also carried an impressive array of body part including such extras as scales, horns, collars and crests, what Viegas (2012) describes as ‘Feathered, clawed and jaws,’. So far, the remains of over 1,000 different dinosaur species have been identified from fossils though technically, birds are feathered dinosaurs, meaning dinosaurs aren't really extinct at all. The fact that some dinosaurs have been found which are feathered adds emphasis to evolutionary ideas and the hypothesis that birds are direct descendants of some dinosaurs, an idea first put forward as long ago as 1870 ( Stone 2010) brings to mind other scientific questions such as who are the predecessors of mankind. Some, although not all dinosaurs, are known as being ‘bird hipped’ because of their particular anatomical features. They were . small, agile, and walked on two legs, unlike some much larger relatives. One such example is the Lesothosaurus Diagnosticus, a medium sized herbivore, first discovered in Southern Africa, within the kingdom of Lesotho, in 1978 ( National Geographic, 2012). It is so birdlike that it looks somewhat like a plucked bird. The dinosaurs were a highly diverse and successful group. They are often said to have lasted for far more than 100 million years, being the dominant from of life on land for some 160 million years, but if one includes birds then they are still around ( BBC, Science and Nature: Prehistoric Life, undated). Yet most of them did disappear, which has lessons perhaps for man , who acts as if the world belongs to him by right. Dinosaur remains are often found in association with rocks which can be dated to a particular time. These rocks are usually sedimentary rocks, formed during a great ancient flood , massive floods are often being mentioned in ancient legends in many civilizations, despite the fact that the oldest humanoids found have been dated to only 4.4 million years ago (Schmid, 2009). Perhaps people were describing another cataclysmic flood. If so that will surely also be found in the geological record. According to Gilroy, most dinosaurs became extinct 65.5 million years ago, but it seems that there were survivors , and some dinosaur remains have quite recently been dated at some 700,000 years later (2011). So the picture isn’t at all clear. There was not for instance just one massive extinction period , but two. Viegas, ( 2012) describes the Permian extinction, when 90 per cent of all life on earth was destroyed, the most devastating extinction of all time, from insects to plants. Marine creatures as well as those on land were affected as well as amphibians and reptiles. Dinosaurs often had air sacs which enabled them to survive in poor air quality
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The study of science started many years ago and has led to many discoveries in the fields of medicine ,physical sciences and applied sciences. These discoveries have changed the way the modern man thinks and goes about his daily activities. New discoveries are coming up in the field from those who mastered the subject long and not from the new graduants in the field of science.
Using two main theories, it is possible to speculate whether flight evolved from the tree down (from a jumping, gliding, arboreal ancestry) or from the ground up (from a bipedal, leaping, cursorial ancestry). In the course of this essay, these two hypotheses will be discussed and contextualized by an investigation into the evolution of feathers and the various theories on why flight developed.
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