STL Science Center

STL Science Center

28 January 2013

A Little Overestimate

Discovery's Prehistoric Washington DC episode of the Prehistoric City series discussed Astrodon, as we would expect given that it was the first dinosaur discovered in Maryland and one of the first in all of the American East. Thomas Holtz, known Tyrannosaur lover, author, and professor of geology at the University of Maryland, takes on the narration and description of Astrodon in this Discovery clip. The science behind it is well done, with one caveat in an area which almost always sees differing opinions when incomplete dinosaurs are discovered: size. The sizes noted in the clip are significantly larger than the sizes which have been discussed here this week; about 20 feet longer and 10 tons heavier than we have mentioned, to be exact. Different opinions, modelling of living body composition, and theories concerning those models lead us to having different estimates of sizes in dinosaurs and other extinct animals; a topic that has been addressed previously around here. It is not so much an issue as a point to be mindful of. The models used by Discovery are fairly bland sauropods, but they flesh out another dinosaur which has not been represented often in the television or movie world, and they are portrayed accurately, as far as the science we are using is concerned. Therefore, I say go ahead and watch and enjoy thoroughly, for the entire minute or so it lasts.

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