all dinosaurs go to heaven

best t-shirt title ever.

my supervisor and i were trying to figure out how to incorporate dinosaurs into my locomotion paper today. maybe somehow equating kiwi posture or pelvic limb structure to dinosaurs?

/ display at the smithsonian's museum of natural history /

i have seen some authors suggest that ratites, usually ostriches, would be good analogs for studying dinosaur locomotion, but the very obvious lack of tail in modern birds just doesn't make a direct comparison possible. perhaps with a bit more work on characterising avian locomotion, we could make some speculations about how the theropods (the dinosaur group from which birds evolved) moved, but they would still be guesses based on skeletal anatomy and proportions.

/ random locomoting dinos at the natural history museum in london /

actually, even without spending a huge amount of time studying locomotion, i can tell you right now that those two dinosaurs' legs and feet are probably not in the right positions. that little guy in the foreground would probably be in a bit more crouched position and at the midpoint of his swing, his foot would probably be raised a bit higher and already outstretched and getting ready to touch down. and the other guy in the back would probably have his toes outstretched and ready to touch down as well. of course, this is all based on kiwis, if you looked at other birds, the situation might be slightly different, but i think the limb segment angles in these dinos are a bit off.

/ badass t-rex at the smithsonian /

i personally love dinosaurs and the idea of doing research that might make such predictions, but that would involve physics and physics and i just aren't friends. however, the more clinical side of my work does interest me and my supervisor was suggesting some further studies we could do after i finish my thesis. see, the treadmill apparatus that i set up last year to do my locomotion work is just sitting around waiting to be used (it's only been used once since i left last year) and since my supervisor runs the wildlife ward at massey, he wants to start using it for physiotherapy in order to rehabilitate animals who have had limb injuries repaired. by rehabilitating injured birds - especially the many threatened and endangered birds that come through the ward - we could be giving one more animal the chance to return to the breeding population. there is a candidate animal in the ward at the moment (a bird of some kind - surprise, surprise) who just had pins put in its injured leg. once the repairs have healed, we could set up a short clinical trial to see if treadmill physiotherapy is useful (as it is in humans) and whether the gait parameters we recorded for the kiwi are useful in detecting and measuring rehabilitation efforts.

it's just something to think about in case i get bored without any school in my life next year :)

/ te papa museum when i visited wellington with the fam in 2006 /

speaking of awesome museums, reuben and i are planning a trip to te papa on boxing day. i think we're going to try to take the train since neither of us have taken the train anywhere in new zealand and this would be a good occasion to do so. maybe a picnic overlooking the harbour afterwards?


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