Paleontology: Microscope Helps With Dinosaur Puzzle

Uncover reality

Comparison of fossil bone tissue allows more reliable assignment to individuals

Fossil sites sometimes resemble a living room table on which half a dozen different jigsaw puzzles have been dumped: It is often difficult to say which bone belongs to which animal. Together with colleagues from Switzerland, researchers from the University of Bonn have now presented a method that allows a more certain answer to this question. Their results are published in the journalPalaeontologia Electronica.

Fossilized dinosaur bones are relatively rare. But if any are found, it is often in large quantities. “Many sites contain the remains of dozens of animals,” explains Prof. Dr. Martin Sander from the Institute of Geosciences at the University of Bonn.

If the finder is lucky, the bones are still arranged exactly as in the living dinosaur. Some are even still connected to each other at their joints. All too often, however, they…

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