For this post, I chose the article “Experts Tell Mr. from Mrs. Dinosaur.” It overviews a discovery of specialized bone tissue that, when compared with modern birds, allows researchers to determine the gender of an individual. Previously, it was impossible to decide on the gender of a dinosaur due to the absence of soft tissues (“Experts Tell Mr. from Mrs. Dinosaur”). The creation of this tissue is triggered by laying eggs and an increase of gonadal hormones (“Experts Tell Mr. from Mrs. Dinosaur”). Moreover, this research allowed scientists to draw a link between certain species of birds, such as ostriches and emus, with their dinosaur predecessors (“Experts Tell Mr. from Mrs. Dinosaur”). This discovery triggered a significant amount of research on the existing bones of other dinosaurs.
With modern technologies and knowledge, it became possible to examine the process that leads to the formation of medullary bone in female birds and compare it with the findings from 2005. The author of the initial study continued her research on the gender of dinosaur fossils and significantly increased its value by adding new results. In birds, medullary bone does not appear in males or juvenile females, only in females that are laying or laid eggs in the past (Schweitzer et al. 1). It can be seen in Figure 1 that the bone tissue can be differentiated well in modern birds (A, B, C, D), and the sample of T. Rex found by Dr. Schweitzer (E, F) (Schweitzer et al. 2). The scientists used these bone fragments to compare them with demineralized T. Rex medullary bone and studied their chemical and structural similarities. The research by Schweitzer et al. from 2016 reveals that “the unique chemical composition of MB in birds is retained and can be identified in a non-avian theropod dinosaur” (8). This research further expands the initial knowledge of gender-specific bone tissue and reveals other components that point towards an individual’s gender and can be identified in fossil remains.
For example, Chinsamy et al. used this research as the basis for their study of the gender of Confuciusornis Sanctus. They have been able to determine similar bone patterns as Dr. Schweitzer in the discovered remains of this species. Moreover, the scientists were able to establish the connection between different feather layouts in male and female individuals to provide a solid support for the presence of sexual dimorphism in these now extant birds (Chinsamy et al. 3). This study is one of many that benefited greatly from the discovery made by Dr. Schweitzer in 2005. The analysis of bone tissue of other fossils can reveal new links between species and shed light on the behavior of the extant species.
In conclusion, the breakthrough research by Dr. Schweitzer allowed scientists across the globe to identify the gender of dinosaur remains. This process became especially accurate with the help of the new studies on the chemical composition of this bone tissue. It is applicable to numerous other dinosaur species other than Tyrannosaurus Rex and provides a set of characteristics that add a new layer of detail to the discovered individuals. The close examination of similar chemical components and structural elements in the bones of avians and dinosaurs revealed further information, and the study continues to expand. Every new research in paleogeology adds to humanity’s knowledge of the past and provides a new foundation for future studies.
Chinsamy, Anusuya, et al. “Gender Identification Of The Mesozoic Bird Confuciusornis Sanctus.” Nature Communications, vol. 4, no. 1, 2013.
“Experts Tell Mr. from Mrs. Dinosaur.” BBC News, 2005, Web.
Schweitzer, Mary H., et al. “Chemistry Supports the Identification Of Gender-specific Reproductive Tissue In Tyrannosaurus Rex.” Scientific Reports, vol. 6, no. 1, 2016.