Where does it stop? - news story - 29 Aug 2012

Tail ends

Any news story on a dinosaur will mention its size. Dinosaurs are rarely found intact, however, and there are many obstacles to reaching a confident estimation of size - mass and length - from an incomplete skeleton. Realisations in the past that we'd been underestimating the cumulative effect of intervertebral discs, a developing understanding of bone density, computer modelling of biomechanics redefining posture, etc, have all caused tweaks in our visualisations of our favourite monsters.

Here's a nice blog post about the difficulties in determining the length of a tail, and whether that matters... Click here to read the blog. It's important to me that scientists are open about the accuracy of any models they produce - subsequent reappraisals can make people look a little foolish now and then. Far better to be upfront about your fallibility. People understand.