Dinosaur Cranial Ontogeny - Ah Boy Is Different From Papa

"Titans of the Past - Dinosaurs & Ice Age Mammals"
Science Centre Singapore
Jurong East
West, Singapore
October/November 2013

The skulls of all dinosaurs changed shape as the animals grew older. These differences could be so that other individuals of the same species could recognize juveniles from adults.

The retention of juvenile characteristics with age
Neotenous animals are often considered "cute" because of their round heads, big eyes and shortened snouts. These young animals retain neoteny so that their parents will continue to care for them.

Modifications in skull shape might be due to changed diets as these neotenous animals grow up.

The Three Most Important Scientific Theories In Paleontology
  1. Theory of Extinction
  2. Species that have once lived are now extinct
  3. Theory of Darwinian Evolution
  4. New species arise through a process of descent with modification via natural selection
  5. Theory of Radiometric Dating
    Elemental isotopes have predictable rates of decay and these rates can be used to determine the age of the rocks here the dinosaurs are found

Why does Ah Boy look so different from Papa?

Dinosaurs were known to be very social creatures, nesting in colonies and travelling in herds. Among such a big group of animals, it is important for adults to recognize their young to take care of them, and also when the young reach sexual maturity.

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