Potential Sci of Alien People

Scientific speculation

An image of Dale Russell's hypothetical "dinosauroid"

An image of Dale Russell’s hypothetical “dinosauroid”

In a thought experiment published in 1982, paleontologist Dale Russell, curator of vertebrate fossils at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa, conjectured that, had the Chicxulub meteorite not exterminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, bipedal predators (theropods) which existed at that time, such as Troodon, would have evolved into intelligent beings similar in body plan to humans. Troodontids had semi-manipulative fingers, able to grasp and hold objects to a certain degree, and binocular vision. Like most dinosaurs of the troodontid family, this imaginary creature, which Russell called the “Dinosauroid”, would have had large eyes and three fingers on each hand, one of which would have been partially opposed. As with most modern reptiles (and birds), its genitalia would have been internal. Russell speculated that it would have required a navel, as a placenta aids the development of a large brain case, however it would not have possessed mammary glands, and would have fed its young, as birds do, on regurgitated food. Its language would have sounded somewhat like bird song. Russell’s fanciful speculation has been met with criticism from other paleontologists since the 1980s, many of whom point out that Russell’s Dinosauroid is overly anthropomorphic. Gregory S. Paul (1988) and Thomas R. Holtz Jr., consider it “suspiciously human” (Paul, 1988) and argue that a large-brained, highly intelligent troodontid would retain a more standard theropod body plan, with a horizontal posture and long tail, and would probably manipulate objects with the snout and feet in the manner of a bird, rather than with human-like “hands”. Darren Naish (2006) pointed to the ground hornbill as a better model for an intelligent dinosaur.[4][5] The artist Nemo Ramjet has used these new approaches to the original thought experiment to re-interpret the Dinosauroid, going so far as to create “Dinosauroid cave art”, which depicts sentient, tool-using troodontids and other dinosaurs and pterosaurs, painted using sticks and feathers.[6]

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