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The rise and fall of the dinosaurs - Stephen Brusatte


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I’ll keep this short. I’m sure the majority of you guys are huge nerds who were obsessed with dinosaurs when you were young. If so, this is an awesome read. Nice mix of excavating history, science and fieldwork anecdotes. Answers to important questions like: how old could a T-Rex get and what pressure could it exert with its jaws? Can we determine what color dinosaurs were?

 

Also, cool to see that science has really progressed over the past few decades (i.e. since the books you read in your childhood). Lots of new finds (most notably in China) and computers, technology and CT scanners really changed the field.

 

Recommended.

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Good question. His jaws have probably adapted to millions of years of eating peanut brittle so I’d say they are quite powerful. But not only the jaws are important - T-Rex had almost circular skull bones to evenly distribute the forces that were exerted on it indirectly while chewing. Otherwise it would break its own skull while biting through the bones of a Triceratops. Looking at the head of Charlie I’d say evolution has done something similar. It’s very round. You’d have to make a CT-scan of his head, convert it into a 3D model, add virtual muscle tissue, make virtual peanut brittle and then do some simulations to come up with an estimated range of newton / square cm.

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Another parallel: if a huge asteroid would hit Omaha, Nebraska, this weekend, all large value investors would be wiped off the planet in a matter of seconds. It would be a mass extinction just like 65m years ago. Only a few niche species of value investors, probably antisocial, adapted to managing small amounts of money and living in caves would survive the onslaught. It would mean the dawn of a new era. Growth and momentum investors, currently at the bottom of the food chain, would thrive and dominate the planet within a few years.

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The topics are evolution, adaptation and disruption.

 

Dinosaurs had something going for them as they dominated for about 150 million years.

 

Weaker jaw strength may have something to do with the new winning species.

 

Many feel that the "discovery" and use of fire allowed the introduction of cooked food with very clear evolutionary implications allowing for smaller and weaker jaws, a simplified digestion apparatus and resulting in improved energy efficiency and ability to carry (and use) a larger brain.

 

You can check on yourself to verify that you are not a gorilla by palpating how high your chewing muscles insert on the side of your head.

 

So what killed the dinosaurs?

 

At some point, size may have become a relative disadvantage.

 

Thanks for the link. Will look into it

 

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