1 November 2006

Dinosaurs trotted like emus

from the ABC
[Breihaupt] presented the latest on emus as proxies for dinosaurs at the recent Geological Society of America in Philadelphia.

The search for a modern animal to act as a proxy for dinosaur tracks started, says Breithaupt, because he was getting a little impatient with all the speculation about the tracks.

There was too much of what he calls 'prehistoric hyperbole'.Families of dinosaurs once walked here. But no-one knows what they looked like, as there are few fossils from this era. So after passing on ostriches, which have only two toes, and rheas, which have three-toes but overly rambunctious personalities, emus were the best alternative. Plus there was an emu ranch just across the state line in Colorado.

Breithaupt and his team now think that the Red Gulch dinosaurs were probably human-sized meat eaters, or theropods, travelling along in groups.

Somehow, Jurassic Park will just never be scary again to anyone who's ever seen an emu running. Now if they'd proposed that theropods behaved like cassowaries we'd all be in deep doo doo.

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