Paleontology

   

                                                                                                   

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For as long as I can remember I have always maintained an interest in dinosaurs and fossils....from collecting the plastic models as a ten year old to visiting dinosaur museums, buying books, watching the Jurrasic Park movies  and looking for fossils around Lyme Regis....

Of course as an adult I have never had the opportunity to pursue this interest - again if I had the time and money I would love to travel the world in search of fossils and studying existing remains and museum artefacts. However that is not yet a plausable option and the best I can hope for would be to re-establish my collection of plastic dinosaurs.  From what I can recall my first collection included a Brontasauras, Stegosauras, Anklyosaurus, Triceratops and of course the Tyranosaurus Rex. Within my GCSE Art exam year I was also able to complete a masterpeice of a number of dinosaurs within a forest clearing - unfortunately I am only left with the memory of this as I never went back to the school to collect any of this work.

And so this section of my website aims to capture those fading memories of my dinosaur years....a basic classification of dinosaurs (Sauropodomorpha and Thereopoda), the Benton Classification. Dinosaur classification itself began in 1842 when Sir Richard Owen placed Iguanodon, Megalosaurus, and Hylaeosaurus in 'a distinct tribe or suborder of Saurian Reptiles.' In 1887 and 1888 Harry Seeley divided dinosaurs into the two orders Saurischia and Ornithischia, based on their hip structure.  The largest change was prompted by entomologist Willi Hennig's work in the 1950s, which evolved into modern cladistics. For specimens known only from fossils, the rigorous analysis of characters to determine evolutionary relationships between different groups of animals (clades) proved incredibly useful. When computer-based analysis using cladistics came into its own in the 1990s, paleontologists became among the first zoologists to almost wholeheartedly adopt the system. Progressive scrutiny and work upon dinosaurian interrelationships, with the aid of new discoveries that have shed light on previously uncertain relationships between taxa, have begun to yield a stabilizing classification since the mid-2000s. While cladistics is the predominant classificatory system among paleontology professionals, the Linnean system is still in use, especially in works intended for popular distribution.

 

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