Sauropod Nano

March 5, 2008

Every once in a while it’s good to remember that no matter how big you end up, everybody starts out small.

baby-cam-vert-500.jpg

Jack McIntosh came through the OMNH a few years ago and identified all of our sauropod material. There are babies of both Camarasaurus and Apatosaurus from this quarry. I have no idea if this centrum belongs to Camarasaurus or Apatosaurus–juvenile centra are not horribly diagnostic–but if Jack says it’s Cam, I’m prepared to believe him. Stuff that I used to agonize over a few years ago–like how to tell busted anterior cervicals of Brachiosaurus and Barosaurus apart–I can make out almost reflexively now. So it does not strike me as improbable that after looking at sauropod vertebrae very carefully for better than half a century, which Jack has done, this might scream Camarasaurus at an intellectual frequency to which I am currently deaf.

It would be awesome to do morphometrics on a zillion or so sauropod bones and see whether Jack or the computer was better at making identifications. Sort of like Kasparov versus Deep Blue, but over something really important.

I’d bet on Jack. Bigtime.

3 Responses to “Sauropod Nano”

  1. Brad McFeeters Says:

    “It would be awesome to do morphometrics on a zillion or so sauropod bones and see whether Jack or the computer was better at making identifications.”

    How would the winner be determined?

  2. Mike Keesey Says:

    this might scream Camarasaurus at an intellectual frequency to which I am currently deaf

    Nice analogy!

  3. Matt Wedel Says:

    How would the winner be determined?

    Darn, good question. Well, that’s why we pose these hypotheticals, to get the bugs out before anyone tries to do it for real.

    Or, if we held the contest in New Mexico, we could just ask the contestants themselves to identify the winner.


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