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How To Build A Dinosaur

2011 ,    » 63 Comments
Ratings: 7.38/10 from 8 users.

How To Build A DinosaurDinosaurs died out 65 million years ago and we have hardly ever found a complete skeleton.

So how do we turn a pile of broken bones into a dinosaur exhibit? Dr Alice Roberts finds out how the experts put skeletons back together, with muscles, accurate postures, and even - in some cases - the correct skin colour.

Most dinosaur skeletons are incomplete, so how do you create museum exhibits that are realistic? As Dr Alice Roberts discovers, it's a practical question for those putting together an exhibition at LA County's Natural History Museum, who have to design dynamic, punter-pleasing displays that also reflect the latest thinking in palaeontology circles.

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63 Comments / User Reviews

  1. KooKookaChoo

    I really liked it. I had a chance to work with bat specimens in a museum collection but wasn't able to find accommodation during that time and so was unable to participate - this reminded me of that and what I missed out on. I had no idea they were discovering up to 50 new species of dinosaurs a year. My only criticism is that I found the host a little sleepy.

  2. robertallen1
  3. robertallen1

    This documentary bolsters the respect in which I hold paleontologists. It's science at its finest.

  4. Guest
  5. Guest

    That first link also has quite a few articles about synthetic life which was the subject of Playing God...interesting.

  6. His Forever
  7. His Forever

    It's easier to believe in . . . . well . . . . God! . . . . than 68-million-year-old T-Rex protein, Epic. I can hardly even phathum the length of a million years, let alone 68 million, and THEN you expect us to believe protein from a dinosaur was recovered that was intact enough for analysis to compare to chickens? And they call ME a man of blind faith! The young earth theory sounds more viable every day to me (as I'm keeping an open mind).


    Charles B.

  8. robertallen1
  9. robertallen1

    If you want to contradict what scientists are saying, you have to be on their intellectual level and because you can't grasp that it's not what's easier to believe, but rather what the evidence points to, you never will and will thus remain the pathetic ignoramus that you are.

  10. Epicurus
  11. Epicurus

    so wait, YOU, someone with no education in genetics or biology, is saying that YOU dont BELIEVE that they can obtain protein from trex bones?

    you are saying then that the scientist who say this are just lying to us. it is a big conspiracy?

    that is amazing to me. so every scientist in the world, working independent of one another, are all lying to us?

    Argument from incredulity/Lack of imagination
    Arguments from incredulity take the form:
    P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.
    It is obvious that P is true (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be false); therefore P must be true.
    These arguments are similar to arguments from ignorance in that they too ignore and do not properly eliminate the possibility that something can be both incredible and still be true, or appear to be obvious and yet still be false.

    Argument from self-knowing (auto-epistemic)
    Arguments from self-knowing take the form:
    If P were true then I would know it; in fact I do not know it; therefore P cannot be true.
    If P were false then I would know it; in fact I do not know it; therefore P cannot be false.
    In practice these arguments are often fallacious and rely on the veracity of the supporting premise. For example the argument that If I had just sat on a wild porcupine then I would know it; in fact I do not know it; therefore I did not just sit on a wild porcupine is probably not a fallacy and depends entirely on the veracity of the leading proposition that supports it.

  12. Achems_Razor
  13. Achems_Razor

    Howdy Charles, sometimes you are funny, you make me laugh as in "(as I'm keeping an open mind)" sorry but your mind is closed, locked, welded shut to anything that goes against all your fairy tale religion. Why are you denying that? You do not believe about the protein where it is proven by the scientific method, but you believe all the religee gunk without any proof at all, just man made words, and man made invisible deities.

    Sure protein can be intact enough from 68 million years ago. Where do you think it goes, to protein heaven?
    What? now you are going to believe the young earth theory? From one absurd religious fallacy to another absurd religious fallacy, you are basically contradictory in some that you say, especially when it comes to science as you seem rather fond of. Give back your computer! don't think you are worthy.

  14. sean kilgariff
  15. sean kilgariff

    my imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend, why is it that religious people seem to have some warped view that it is an alternative science?? why dont you interfere with mathematicians and argue that "Im sorry I DON'T believe 2 plus 2 is four you've just manipulated the facts to get the result you want. Dont feel when you should think and dont think when you should feel

  16. Jack1952
  17. Jack1952 can fathom (phathum?) a God that creates an immense universe filled with so many planets that they would outnumber all the grains of sand on all of earth's beaches combined and who selects just one grain of all that sand available and designates only one species of all the species living on that grain of sand as his own special children. He then reveals himself to that species, not directly, but through one book and tells them that if they don't believe in him through the uncorroborated evidence in that book that they will be punished eternally. Methinks t-Rex protein is a little more believable....especially since they have found it.

    Sorry Charles, but the evidence is piling mountain high against the young earth theory. Still nice to hear from you though.

  18. robertallen1
  19. robertallen1

    You're so right. The thing about religees is that they say that a supreme being (god) gave us intelligence (i.e., the ability to think and question) and then condemns whoever uses it.

  20. His Forever
  21. His Forever

    Jack: Wow. Said precisely correct. Thank you for putting into words exactly what I belive to be true. As far as the number of the planets in the universe, we don't know God's eventual plan for them all. We are eternal beings (that means never-ending) which means we have no limit of days to know and explore and understand them all eventually--or not, as they seem to be nearly limitless. I'll enjoy the process of trying, however for the next timeless eternity. Perhaps this can be done even as a human race just as we are now, physically, but at least certainly in a spiritual form.

    And no, Dino DNA that is 80 something million years old is just not fathomable to me. The more logical explination is that it's NOT 86 million years old, but true to your God-hating nature, you blindly follow even the most unbelievable theories so you can maintain your God-hating ways. Now, did I precisely record your mindset as well as you did mine?

    Peace to you,

    Charles B.

  22. His Forever
  23. His Forever

    Mr. Razor: You made me laugh. :-)
    I watched cold-case mysteries and sometimes they can't even work with DNA that is hundreds of years old, let alone thousands,and certainly not MILLIONS. I do keep an open mind, but not so wide that my brains fall out! We are both body and soul and to totally ignore the spiritual aspect of who we are is just foolishness to the 100th degree. I'm not a "young earther" but I'm willing to conceed that I might be wrong on that aspect (along with you all). Time will tell. When I die and if nothing happens, I'll be sure to not let you know (as if I could). But, if I die and all I've believe is correct, boy what a happy day for me!

  24. His Forever
  25. His Forever

    Epic: I didn't say they were LYING about it--I'm sure some would be willing to totally lie about something like that if it served their theory's end, but what I was alluding to is that the logical conclusion is that the date for the DNA is NOT multiple tens of millions of years old.

  26. His Forever
  27. His Forever

    Robert, are you a scientist? Have you worked with dino DNA yourself? If so, I might actually read your post more than just a cursery glance. If not, you're no more a scholar than I am, but in fact are, in my opinion, pathetically spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb. Not somone to be consulted for any intelligent thing in my opinion.

  28. Achems_Razor
  29. Achems_Razor

    Charles, you have to get with the program, never mind 86 million year old protein, scientists have found a 165 million year old "Cricket" and have in real time recreated the songs of the cricket as would have been in the "Night-time in the Jurassic forest" how does that grab you?

    "BBC Nature-Jurassic crickets song"

  30. robertallen1
  31. robertallen1

    That's one of the beauties of science. The conclusions might seem fantastic, but there is an evidentiary and logic progression towards them.

  32. Epicurus
  33. Epicurus

    why not?

  34. robertallen1
  35. robertallen1

    Instead of asking questions as you should, you make bald assertions in an attempt to contradict what you know nothing about and don't want to know anything about. By education and intellect, you are ill-equipped to go up against scientists and your callow attempts amount to no more than hebetudinous temerity. This, along with your puerile spirituality, renders any opinions you have worthless.

    P.S., the word is cursory

  36. Guest
  37. Guest

    You should have Achems in a state of veneration with the use of such an original word.....hebetudinous.
    How many people had to search this one in the dictionary?
    Latin is very usefull when one wants to impress.

  38. robertallen1
  39. robertallen1

    So is the germanic. It depends on the word.

    But speaking of Latin, here's one for you. The Latin word "in" has pretty much the same connotation as it does in modern languages. The comparative form is "interior" and the superlative "intimatus." All of these words and their derivatives are part of everyday English. However the opposite of "in" is "ex." Now, exterior is again part of everyday English, but what happened to extimatus--why didn't it come into the language? We'll probably never know, but 'm piqued by the inconsistency.

  40. Guest
  41. Guest

    the word "intimacy" stems from the Latin intimatus, to make something known to someone else. (Another derivation is the verb "intimate," which originally meant "to notify.") In its original meaning, in other words, intimacy did not mean emotional closeness, but the willingness to pass on honest information. (Charlotte Roberts)

    No opposite to "to notify" other than to hide (which is not a real opposite).

  42. Guest
  43. Guest

    I replied but it appears as if my comment was eaten for breakfast by the moderators. They are either trying to save me from mockery or i am showing impatience.

  44. robertallen1
  45. robertallen1

    Intimate as a verb has changed only slightly in meaning from to inform to to hint at.

    How about "not to notify" which is a true opposite. However, antonyms do not need to have similar morphologies or even come from similar etymological sources , cf. long, short, the former from Latin, the latter from Old English.

    Can you think of a verb with two opposite meanings? I asked this a while ago, but see if you can come up with it on your own.

  46. Guest
  47. Guest

    I remember reading this a while back...i think you had asked Epicurus. knowlwedge of the English language is quite narrow so i am tempted to cheat and ask our friend google.

  48. robertallen1
  49. robertallen1

    I don't think you will find it on google, but if you give up, please let me know and I will provide you with the answer.

  50. Achems_Razor
  51. Achems_Razor

    Az, are you kidding, already knew "hebetudinous" a while back, but must admit it was courtesy of robertallen1. lol

  52. Guest
  53. Guest

    Would this be a homograph?

  54. robertallen1
  55. robertallen1

    In a way yes, in a way no--but remember I said opposite meanings.

  56. Guest
  57. Guest

    Je donne ma langue au chat! lol
    A saying from my youth.

  58. robertallen1
  59. robertallen1

    Maybe that's where the expression "cat's got your tongue" comes from.

  60. Jack1952
  61. Jack1952

    Well Charles, it is amazing how 2 people can have such different views on my grain of sand metaphor.

    It would seem that you contradict yourself. You describe yourself as an eternal being. Eternity would imply, not thousands or millions or even trillions of years into the future, but a future with no ending. You believe this to be true even though you cannot physically or scientifically prove it to be true. However, you find 86 million years into the past impossible to believe. This in spite of the geologic and fossil records that have been studied extensively. This figure was arrived at in a logical fashion using all the scientific disciplines available.

    God hating ways? Where in my post do I make any kind of statement that would lead you to believe that I hate God. Why would I hate anything that I do not believe exists. If a man claims that he has seen bigfoot, I may not believe him but I don't automatically start hating bigfoot. That would be irrational. I may ask that he show some kind of physical proof of bigfoot's existence so his story would be a little more believable. I do not think that would be too unreasonable request.

    A pleasure, as always.

  62. His Forever
  63. His Forever

    Jack, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said "God-hating ways". I momentarily got you mixed up with Whatshisface, who I plan to just ignore from now on anway.

    The number of the stars (and assumed planets that orbit them) fill me with awe at the work of God's hands. Although I truly do think that Earth is alone in the universe as far as life is concerned, I do not limit God in whatever else He has planned for the whole of the universe both now and later. As C.S. Lewis wrote in his last book in Chronicles of Narnia, we've only just read the first line of the first page of an infinitely long book, (thought paraphrased), and that's thrilling to me!

    Peaace to you.

    Charles B.

  64. His Forever
  65. His Forever

    Epic: Well, unless I misunderstand the dacaying process of living tissue into base elements and the fossilization process where minerals replace even bone over the process of time (so no real bone is actually left), then please explain to me how soft tissue and hense DNA can exist for millions of years in a fossil. Put it in a nutshell for me. Thanks.

  66. His Forever
  67. His Forever

    Razor: Yes, I saw that headline. Before looking it up, I predict it's still just "a cricket"--but most likely a bit bigger. I'm listening to one right now. I'd be surprised if it's much different.

  68. robertallen1
  69. robertallen1

    Dr. Horner is a rather interesting fellow. He's an expert on the tyrannosaurus (an animal which in his own words he does not like, although how you can have any emotional feelings about a creature which became extinct over 50 million years ago is beyond me), but does not hold to the general view of its having been a vicious predator. Dr. Horner uses the same evidence as do other paleontologists to come to a different conclusion. This is what science is all about.

  70. dewflirt
  71. dewflirt

    Anyone seen the video of the Siberian Mammoth yet ? Looks like a bear to me. And why stop filming before it leaves the water ?

  72. robertallen1
  73. robertallen1

    As phoney as the Loch Ness Monster.

  74. Epicurus
  75. Epicurus

    lol its a bear with a large fish hanging out of its mouth.

    but good find. i hadnt seen that video yet. good for a laugh.

  76. Jack1952
  77. Jack1952

    Charles: Apology accepted. A little crestfallen perhaps. My ego tells me my personality is strong enough that I would never be confused with someone else but that's what an ego tends to do.

    The Chronicles of Narnia was a favorite of mine as a child. The religious aspects of the books was a topic of discussion at school.

    Epicurus explains how the DNA of the dinosaurs was obtained very well in his comment. I would just like to add that in his post he does not use the generic "scientists". He names specific people (Horner, Schweitzer) who are well known in their fields of research. I am sure that they and all researchers involved recognize DNA and/or t-Rex bones when they see it so I do not think that they would be mistaken when they say they examined DNA from the bones of t-Rex. The only other explanation for your disbelief is that you really do think that they are lying although you are too polite to say so. Why they would lie is a mystery to me.

    The scientific disciplines of geology, paleontology, chemistry, biology, among others, all support and corroborate each other on the evolutionary progress of life on earth. I am at a loss to understand why this would be so...unless there truly is a scientific agenda involved. I find it hard to believe that all of science is motivated by the principle that says the existence of a creator must be discredited. For my part, I do not read and watch science related articles, books and documentaries to discredit God's existence. However, the more I am exposed to scientific material the more I doubt God's existence.

    If, in spite of the lack of scientific evidence, one still believes in God, I cannot understand how one cannot see that the existence of dinosaurs 80 million years ago is another example of God's great handiwork. That, at least, would make more sense than it would be to dismiss the work of science altogether.

    Once again thank you for the gracious apology.

  78. His Forever
  79. His Forever

    Jack and Epic: In this particular case, I never thought they were lying about anything. I know they found T-Rex DNA and appearently enough to say it's more like a chicken than an alligator. The heart of my concern was the AGE of multiple tens of MILLIONS of years they say that DNA inside a bone survived, not the fact that it was found and studied. The Institute of Creation Research, whom I have not consulted on this case specifically, has several articles arguing that soft-tissue shouldn't be able to survive for extended time periods in fossils. That, you must admit, seems 100 times more LOGICAL. At least to me.

    Without being an expert on "dating" fossils and rocks, etc. I do know that much of it is speculative at best.

    My only quesiton is how did T-Rex get small enough to fit on my dinner plate now? You guys ruined my dinner the other night when I was thinking while eating my chicken dinner: "And they'd say I'm eating a dinosaur's decendent right now!"

  80. His Forever
  81. His Forever

    Jack: You're welcome. I've always liked your posts, actually. The more I see God moving worldwide, the less I feel science has all the right answers. Partial answers, for sure, but there is a systematic war against faith in the scientific field and people of faith, and you cannot deny that. It's purposeful retribution for the many ages when the RCC refused to let any scientific knowledge grow out of fear of loosing their strangle hold over the sheeples. Both extremes are quite displeaseing to God I might add. God makes Himself known to those that diligently seek Him; not to those that indifferently ignore Him, or worse yet, anxiously try to disprove Him by saying there is no proof at all for Him. When we take our final breath (like Whitney Houston did today), then we'll all know for sure, won't we?

  82. Epicurus
  83. Epicurus

    so what are the principles involved that state that DNA or proteins have NO CHANCE of surviving that long?

    you checking ICR for information on science is like me going to Scientology's website for information on space.

    do you really think an organization who ADMITS that their intention is to discredit science is a credible source? come on man. why trust a GLARINGLY bias organization over the scientific method? You are an adult charles. you should be able to tell what to trust and what not to trust. you dont go to a creationist website for scientific information man.... *shakes head*

    I really wish you would take the time to go to your local university and speak to the doctors there who study this stuff.

  84. Epicurus
  85. Epicurus

    no there is no war against people of faith in the scientific field.

    what there is, is a defense against the faithful who are constantly trying to stick their nose into science and say that it is wrong because it doesnt agree with their 2000 year old beliefs. absolutely insane man.

    "God makes Himself known to those that diligently seek Him; not to those that indifferently ignore Him, or worse yet, anxiously try to disprove Him by saying there is no proof at all for Him"

    you make a claim like that but you dont provide any evidence to show it is this. watch what happens when i take that sentence and change it a little.

    Zeus makes Himself known to those that diligently seek Him; not to those that indifferently ignore Him, or worse yet, anxiously try to disprove Him by saying there is no proof at all for Him

    now when i change God with Zeus the claim is the EXACT SAME and lacks any evidence. so why would ANYONE believe either claims? and how can you just say "anyone who doesnt believe what i believe clearly just hasnt looked as diligently as i have".

  86. robertallen1
  87. robertallen1

    Right. I'm not going to go to a priest on scientific matters or what is just as inane, consult the bible.

    By the way, have you read "The Creationists" by Ronald Numbers and if so, what did you think of it?

  88. Epicurus
  89. Epicurus

    i have not.

  90. robertallen1
  91. robertallen1

    It's rather interesting end extremely well researched. The creationism espoused from the time of Darwin through about the 30's and 40's was considerably different from that espoused today.

  92. Epicurus
  93. Epicurus

    i will look for a copy to download and hopefully read it sometime this summer while im off school.

  94. His Forever
  95. His Forever

    Epic: If you believe there truly is no God, then surely you will never find Him, even if He was truly "findable" and did provide a way for us to know him. Even at a time of a very obvious visible presence (such as the cloud by day and the fire by night that led the Isrealites), people still did not want to serve Him. It wasn't a matter of "knowledge" but heart-desire. The rebellious will still be rebellious even when they know for sure He is real. This will happen in the future again also. So, what then pleases God? A heart that seeks Him and His ways. Those people WILL find God, believe. Religion is an evil thing--it's been used by millions to promote evil and selfish ways and to gain and abuse power, including some called "Christian," but certainly by other religions. I would doubt many religious people's desire to truly know the one true God, but those who have a pure heart, God Himself will help them find Him.

    As far as evidence, there have been resurrections from the dead (not just NDE's), healings, visitations from angelic beings, etc. Where you might argue they are "experiences" of the individual that can be discounted, lied about, or faked, not all are. Remember God has in the past has made Himself very obvious and physically detectable--it doesn't improve faith levels. Faith is a gift of God that grows when used and diminishes when neglected or ignored.

    Until the time I actually meet Jesus face to face, or an angel, or see the dead raised before my very eyes, or a healing that is indisputably miraculous, I still have faith if in nothing more than the Word of God. I have seen miraculous healings from prayer (cancer disappearing, heart disease disappearing, and other such things), but people can argue it was a still unknown scientifically-based spontanious reversal without God's help. I've even met people who have known people raised from the dead (two of them)--like hours or days after death (not NDE).

    What is important to God? Our eternal spiritual being and it's final destination, either Heaven or Hell. Until then, faith is the main factor in assessing our relationship with Him.

    If you want to see God, seek for Him; if you don't wish to, then surely you'll never find Him. Jesus told Thomas after the resurrection, "Thomas, you believe because you see with your own eyes, but those that believe without seeing [my physical resurrection] will be bless." (paraphrased).

    And yes,there is a concerted effort to fight against anything of faith in the scientific field as a whole. Certainly so. Do you think I would be tollerated in your school an in your academic major even if I knew every textbook backwards and forwards and every theory and every detail, but still held my faith Convictions? How hard would it be for me to even get a decent grade from half of your profs? Just curious.

  96. His Forever
  97. His Forever

    I read both sides, Epc. I really don't believe in a young earth as ICR does, but I admit it might be possible. All of my wife's documents are wrong for her birth year because they are all based on one wrong premise from which all others are based. I suspect the earth is very old--grated, But the ICR has some excellent insights into inconsistencies that you won't hear from a proponet of evolution. Even if the earth is ancient, I can't swallow magro evolution.

    Ok. Busy day today!


    Charles B.

  98. Epicurus
  99. Epicurus

    this had nothing to do with out conversation except for the very last paragraph. looked like an inner dialogue one would have trying to convince them self that they were right.

    nothing you described is evidence of your god. nada.

  100. Epicurus
  101. Epicurus

    "Even if the earth is ancient, I can't swallow magro evolution."

    take a single class on biological anthropology or biology for just one semester. perhaps then you will understand enough.

  102. His Forever
  103. His Forever

    Epic: I was the top student in the last biology class I took. What specifically should I be looking for?


    Charles B.

  104. His Forever
  105. His Forever

    Epic, I was telling you why I hold the beliefs I do, and it was very much pertaining to the topic at hand--faith or lack there of, and proof of God or lack there of. Just tonight I read yet another article about healing crusades in Pakistan. It claimed a boy born blind received his sight and it was caught on film. Others were healed also. Eventually if this was all a total lie, stuff like that catches up with a ministry. There's more to this life than you're willng to accept. It's called the spiritual realm. I commented on the article with Discus. You can track it that way if you'd like to read it also.

    Peace to you,

    Charles B.

  106. Epicurus
  107. Epicurus

    look for what species are. look for the transmission of inheritable traits, and look at the phylogenetic taxonomic relation of all life. then look at how the genetic relations match the phylogenetic taxonomic tree.

    look at the spread of humanity and the anatomical features of the ancestors that came before us. where the fossils are found, what they look like and what dates they are found at.

    look at all cultures and their beliefs and where they come from. look at the obvious anthropomorphic characteristics of each cultures religion.

    look at human chromosome 2. look at endogenous retroviruses. look at the genetic mixing of neanderthal and homo sapien. look at the fossils of homo floresiensis.

    charles, i could go on and on. but the main thing is, LOOK BEYOND YOUR BIASES.

  108. Epicurus
  109. Epicurus

    ya i just read that article.

    it said CLAIMS were made that "Multiple healings were reported, including a Muslim man who was paralyzed can now walk, and a little boy blind from birth can now see, and captured on video"

    but no sign of this video. no proof the boy was always blind, no proof the man was paralyzed.

    why didnt she heal an amputee?

    CLAIMS have been made that i have an invisible dragon in my closet.

    claims have also been made that muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse.

  110. His Forever
  111. His Forever

    Claims are most often true, Epic. Notice I said I'd like to see the video also. You're such a skeptic. If I find a story of an amputee regaining his limb, I'll let you know, but one born blind receiving his sight is still pretty dramatic. This happens often in Muslim regions as I've read as they need a lot of "proof" before they believe and watching the village blind woman receiver her sight that everyone knows really helps change minds--and sometimes there's a camera rolling but usually not. Wish I had the million bucks to go investigate myself and film it in progress. Or, it could happen someday in a church near you (or me). Just keeping an open mind.

    Peace to you!

    Charles B.

  112. His Forever
  113. His Forever

    Thanks. I took Native American Cultures and Writings when I was in university. They can trace linquistic similarities all the way to the tip of South America starting from Alaska, etc. Very interesting.

  114. HakimMR
  115. HakimMR

    Yeah I've personally witnessed Muslims do some pretty incredible stuff. They used audience plants mind you, but hell those particular people are all still quite superstitious so why not take advantage of it. I saw quite a few different money making schemes using mysticisms; it's not unlike what people were doing in this country a few hundred years ago.

  116. Shannon Green
  117. Shannon Green

    you find dinosaur DNA, we don't live in Jurassic Park you know, fossils aren't actual bones just rock and mineral deposites that have replaced the bones after millions of years.

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