Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Open Dinosaur Project

So let's say you're interested in studying the ornithischian family tree. Particularly, you're interested in the ways they moved about and how they arrived at them. You've got a large group of dinosaurs who all share a bipedal ancestor, yet three divergent groups independently adopted quadrupedal locomotion: the stegosaurs and ankylosaurs, the ceratopsians, and the duckbills. It's a lot of convergent evolution for this sprawling dinosaur clan. It's a lot of data to collect for human paleontologists. A lot of work.

Solution? Open up the data-collecting end of the research. Thus, the Open Dinosaur Project is born. Using the internet, gather interested people who are willing to wade into the scientific literature to collect measurements of ornithischian limbs.

Living, accessible science. Cool.

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