STL Science Center

STL Science Center

10 May 2017

Anatomy of A Stereotypical Dinosaur

Troodon is nothing if plain looking in terms of dinosaur morphology. In modern terms that even includes the inclusion of feathers along both limbs and the majority of its body. The more numerous, and older, portrayals of Troodon are still out and flooding the internet with gracile dinosaurs that look emaciated and a strange oily green-black skin. That skin was typically portrayed as smooth rather than scaly but it is not overly important, considering that the interpretation and knowledge of what Troodon probably looked like has changed and become so much more feathered. Troodon was not, as we tend to see stereotypical gracile dinosaurs thought of, a small animal either. The dinosaur was approximately 2.4 m (7.9 ft) long and tall enough to rival the average human, though at 50 kg (110 lbs) it was the weight of a large dog, which many of us know does not need to be tall to knock down an average sized human being. Exhibiting eyes that face partially forward, indicating depth perception capabilities, that were rather large proportionally, indicating a potentially nocturnal lifestyle, and a brain that was equally proportionally large for its size, Troodon was most likely a very intelligent animal. Intelligence has been debated for a long time in fossils, but Troodon, for many years now, has been generally accepted as an intelligent dinosaur that was capable of manipulating its manual claws, i.e. that it was able to grasp and manipulate objects. This has many implications, including the idea that intelligence and social behavior often go hand-in-hand. That idea specifically has led to many great interpretations of the dinosaur and its capabilities and has told us a great deal about the intelligence of these animals once thought of as slow, stupid, and mostly solitary outside of herds.
©Taena Doman

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