SEP 06, 2020 7:45 PM PDT

Can Math Determine The Sex of a Dinosaur?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Can math tell us about the gender differences in dinosaurs? A new study published a novel statistical analysis that estimates the degree of sexual variation found in fossils.

"It's a whole new way of looking at fossils and judging the likelihood that the traits we see correlate with sex," says Evan Saitta, a research associate at Chicago's Field Museum and the lead author of the new paper in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. "This paper is part of a larger revolution of sorts about how to use statistics in science, but applied in the context of paleontology."

It is challenging to determine the sex of dinosaurs especially with a phenomenon called sexual dimorphism exhibited in modern-day dinosaur relatives—birds and crocodiles

Learn more:

"We showed that if you adopt this paradigm shift in statistics, where you attempt to estimate the magnitude of an effect and then put error bars around that, you can often produce a fairly accurate estimate of sexual variation even when the sexes of the individuals are unknown," says Saitta.

"Sexual selection is such an important driver of evolution, and to limit ourselves to ineffective statistical approaches hurts our ability to understand the paleobiology of these animals," he says. "We need to account for sexual variation in the fossil record."

"I'm happy to play a small part in this sort of statistical revolution," he adds. "Effect size statistics has a major impact for psychological and medical research, so to apply it to dinosaurs and paleontology is really cool."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
JUL 17, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Solar Radio Signals Improve Monitoring of Melting Ice Sheets
JUL 17, 2021
Solar Radio Signals Improve Monitoring of Melting Ice Sheets
Solar radio signals from the sun could provide a cheaper and low-power way of monitoring vast expanses of ice sheets, an ...
JUL 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
JUL 20, 2021
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
On July 16, 1969 the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy) Florida. Four days later, astr ...
AUG 28, 2021
Neuroscience
Virtual Reality Reduces Pain in Children During Medical Procedures
AUG 28, 2021
Virtual Reality Reduces Pain in Children During Medical Procedures
Virtual reality (VR) reduces pain and anxiety in children undergoing medical procedures. The corresponding study was pub ...
SEP 02, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
The Future of Room-Temperature Superconductors
SEP 02, 2021
The Future of Room-Temperature Superconductors
It begins with two diamonds, a pinch of carbon, sulfur, and a whiff of hydrogen gas. The result is the world’s fir ...
SEP 10, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
New Artificial Cells Can Ingest, Process & Expel Material
SEP 10, 2021
New Artificial Cells Can Ingest, Process & Expel Material
Better research models can help us solve some biological mysteries. In recent years, scientists have developed a variety ...
SEP 23, 2021
Technology
New Glaucoma Drainage Implant Safe And Effective At Reducing Intraocular Pressure
SEP 23, 2021
New Glaucoma Drainage Implant Safe And Effective At Reducing Intraocular Pressure
Glaucoma, which affects an estimated 57 million people worldwide, is an eye condition caused by too much pressure around ...
Loading Comments...