STL Science Center

STL Science Center

08 February 2018

What You're Made Of

Reading the description paper or watching the interview with Pete Makovicky allowed one to look at what fossil remains Siats is composed of. In terms of fossil discoveries, from Utah, Montana, China, or anywhere else, Siats is a pretty average fossil. Unfortunately, as someone that studies the skull, there is only post-cranial material for Siats so we do not know much about how its head looked or functioned. Another thing we do not have direct evidence for at this time is feathering on this dinosaur. Inferences can be made regarding the feathering of Siats based on familial evidence, but it is important to note that the illustrations that show feathering are using phylogenetic inferences and not evidence directly from the fossils; in case anyone asks if there are feathers on this fossil when you are discussing dinosaurs one day it is important to have the correct answer.

Despite not knowing much about the skull of Siats there is enough information in the fossils for researchers like Zanno and Makovicky to know that Siats is a theropod dinosaur. These include the shapes of the pelvis and the known vertebral elements, as one would suspect. Seeing those bones on a table and hearing what they are does not necessarily tell anyone where they are in the body or where they were positioned exactly. For that reason we have skeletal illustrations that we can refer to, such as this one. Additionally, there are elements of the legs and feet, specifically portions of the tibia and individual phalanges belonging to both feet. These are not enough to flesh out the entire feet and tell us exactly what the feet looked like either, but remember, a lot of what Siats looked like comes from its known familial relationships. These relationships are well enough known that the scientific illustrations that have been created using the inferences and knowledge of these dinosaurs are well received and considered accurate.
From Zanno and Makovicky 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment