The world of fossils has had a renaissance of late, with researchers making huge discoveries that could lead to better treatments for the disease and better ways to breed the creatures.
In a recent episode of Catch Up With Me, we caught up with one of the most notable scientists working on this subject: “Ilene Woods, a paleontologist at the University of Oxford in the UK, has been trying to create a genetic database for dinosaurs.”
It’s a big idea, and one that she is already working on, so let’s dive into some of her research.
The idea of a genetic databank has existed for some time.
“It’s something that has been suggested in the past and it’s just sort of gotten bigger and bigger and we haven’t really been able to put a lot of people on it yet,” she told us.
“But the idea of genetic databases for dinosaur species and all that stuff is actually really interesting.”
So how did we get here?
Woods’ idea was to start with a set of data, a set that could tell her the genetic makeup of different dinosaurs.
She had some data already available, some of which were pretty well aligned with each other, but she wanted to look for new data to add to the database.
This is how it works: She would take a set of fossil specimens and look at their genetics.
For example, she could look at the skull of a paleontosaurus, which had two rows of ribs, and compare it to another one from another dinosaur that had two ribs.
These are the same bones, and there are three different kinds of ribs.
And the bone type is what you would expect to see if the ribs are a result of the bone’s anatomy.
So, the possible ribs for the skeleton are: The ambient rib bones that would be found in the ribs on the bipedal duck or the elongated rib bones that would be found on the neck of a terrestrial dragon.
So, Woodens data would then be matched to this database of bones to find the bone type for each dinosaur.
As she did this, she was able to figure out the species of each of the different species of dinosaur.
It’s all based on how much of the bones were found in each individual.
The next step was to find a way to match the bones of different species of dinosaur.
So, for example, if you wanted to match the ribs of a large dino to the ribs of a small dolphin, you would want to look at each individual to see which ribs were more abundant.
This is what Woodes found.
Each individual in the database had three kinds of rib bones, so Wooden could find them all.
She then matched each species rib to each of the bones of that individual to find the species of the individual.
But the problem with this approach is that Wooders data was very different.
When she looked at a set of bones of a different terrain, her data was not similar enough to match each individual’s rib bones to each other, making them difficult to find.
Thus, She began to think that she might want to go back to the bones and use genetic information from each species to match them together.
That’s when she discovered that it wasn’t enough to match all of the rib bones of one individual to another.
Instead, heres what she found.
If you were looking at a different terra, what you would find is three types of rib bones. But when you looked at each individual and matched the types of rib bones to their species, the different bone types couldnt be identical to each other.
Instead, there were different types of ribbone that had different shapes, different thicknesses, or different proportions of bones.
You would have a different rib bone for a larger dragon and a smaller bird and then different rib bone for a big dragon and a medium bird.
If the two species bones were similar, they wouldnt have the same rib bone.
Which is exactly what she found.
What is really interesting about this is that in her case, it was