Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crowdsourcing Dinosaurs

We want to put together a paper on the multiple independent transitions from bipedality to quadrupedality in ornithischians, and we want to involve everyone who's interested in helping out. We'll get to the details later, but the basic idea is to amass a huge database of measurements of the limb bones of ornithischian dinosaurs, to which we can apply various statistical techniques. Hopefully we'll figure out how these transitions happened -- for example, whether ceratopsians, thyreophorans and ornithopods all made it in the same way or differently. So, in order to accomplish this enormous project, they founded the Open Dinosaur Project - you can be a co-author of the resulting paper if you contribute! What is the idea? To crowdsource the effort. Published measurements need to be all copied into a single place for analysis. Bones not yet measured as well - if you are at a museum or university or in some other ways have access to the fossils, you can take your measuring tools and go down to the vaults and send in the numbers.
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