STL Science Center

STL Science Center

07 April 2016

Sinosaurus Shown Complete

One of the positives of being similar to another fossil animal is that that fossil animal's skeleton can inform missing and destroyed elements of the animal that it is comparable to. Sinosaurus therefore benefits from relatively more complete Dilophosaurus skeletons and vice versa with a little bit of guesswork involved where required. Many times the fossils we collect from any given species or genus are related to the cranium and there is very good reason for this. A key element in the process of fossilization is the fact that larger, more solid objects have a regular tendency to fossilize better (for many many reasons that are better left for a different discussion). The cranium tends to be one of the larger, more solid, objects that many animals possess; clams and other hard shelled fossil animals as well as fossilized plants benefit from related but different circumstances. This all has a lot to do with what we know about Sinosaurus. This dinosaur exists mainly as a number of well preserved skulls with some fragmentary skulls and postcranial skeletons added into the mix for good measure. These are not the kinds of "wow-factor" remains that typically interest the public to the point that we see children's books and stuffed animals. The fact that Sinosaurus has a morphological doppelganger that is much more well known from Jurassic Park does not help to spread the word about the dinosaur; the general public tends to equate anything remotely like one dinosaur as that dinosaur unless expressly corrected, there is no shame in not knowing your dinosaurs!

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