Design your own dinosaur

In the latest issue of the Sunday Times, there was a one-page feature about Twinky, Apollo and Prince, the three dinosaur skeletons destined for the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum in Singapore (“Special Report: Singapore’s dinosaurs; Get ready for Twinky & friends”, 4 Dec 2011). Describing how the dinosaur bones are assembled, the article states that

Every little boy in this world wants to be in Mr Brock Sisson’s shoes.

He has a job very few people in this world have, and many can only dream of having.

The 27-year-old is a ‘dinosaur builder’ – he excavates fossils from the ground, restores them, moulds them, designs their ‘pose’ and brings them back to life.

Do you want to build your own dinosaur? Now you can, with the “design your own dinosaur” activity in the latest issue of the Singapore Scientist.

Bones to assembleAssembling a real dinosaur skeleton is not as easy as it may seem, though. The history of palaeontology is littered with incorrect reconstructions, particularly in the early years, when all we had of a particular species of dinosaur was a few bones – there would have been so many different ways to assemble them. These days we tend to have more specimens of the same species and additional information about their likely anatomy that we can infer from the anotomy of today’s animals, better knowledge of the environment the dinosaurs lived in, computer simulations and more. It is quite possible, however, that some of today’s ideas of what the dinosaurs looked like is still wrong.

You don’t have to worry about that when you design your own dino, though. The crazier the creature the better!

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