Dinopic of the day 15: Find the flaws

I just noticed that I mis-numbered the last two entries in this category, so we go from No. 13 directly to No. 15. And to parallel my error you now get a picture with a major error in it, two flaws, in fact – can you spot what’s wrong?

here’s a frontal view

This is the life model of the Psittacosaurus sp. specimen in the Senckenberg Naturmuseum Frankfurt, there wrongly labeled as P. mongoliensis. The webpage of the Senckenberg on the fossil has more details, but also claims it is P. mongoliensis. I told them that’s wrong in, oh, fall 2003 or so, before the exhibition was re-opened after a renovation. I also told someone who asked me what I thought of the life model that it had two big flaws – the guy laughed out loud and told me he had made it (I think with someone else, but it may have been him alone). I was glad to see that he saw the humor of one of the problem. The other is, well, really not that important, and both can be fixed quickly with DIY tools.

So, if you think you know what the problem is, comment below 🙂 Here’s the fossil for comparison. Sorry for the bad quality – the light sucked, and the fossil is behind glass. Also, I only had a camera with a fixed zoom lens and 4 MP, not the best tools for this kind of display.

This specimen is quite famous, and quite controversial. The former because of the bristle-like integumentary structures on the tail, the latter because it was illegally exported out of China, and sold on the commercial market before science-loving people stepped in and bought it as a donation for the museum. AFAIK it is supposed to go back to China, but the negotiations are not easy. Us scientists should all be glad Senckenberg was given this great gift, because otherwise it might never have been available for scientific research and publication. But obviously, stealing stuff and smuggling it abroad is simply not acceptable. Not here, not in China, not in Timbuktu. Fossils, especially scientifically important finds, are not for commercial speculation, but belong to the public via scientific study. There are quite a bunch of commercial and private collectors who agree to this, and try to make sure their specimens are well documented, legal, and made available for proper research. Some, however, don’t care. And scientists and the public quite rightly point fingers at them.

Yeah, I delay writing a substantial post right now. Guilty as charged. But there’s been so much text and so few pics on this blog lately that I wanted to give you something pretty in JPG format for a change 😉

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
This entry was posted in Dinopics, Dinosauria, Ornithischa, Psittaocsaurus, Senckenberg. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Dinopic of the day 15: Find the flaws

  1. Jay says:

    I guess, the flaws include something else aside from how the right manual digits connect with the carpus without a metacarpus? I know the jugal horns are prominent in spme Psittaco species, but do they project that far laterally in P. mongoliensis?

  2. Marc Vincent says:

    Forearms are pronated.

    • Which may really have been possible! I can’t say in this specimen, because the bones are flattened, but I have seen both straight (un- or little pronateable) radii, and sinusoidally curved ones (permanently pronated?). So I am not sure if you are correct or not.

  3. Albertonykus says:

    There’s a claw on the fourth finger that probably shouldn’t be there.

  4. Thespesius says:

    The left leg is too straight, and the metatarsus seems too short, if not entirely absent, but I can’t tell well from the picture angle

    • dmaas says:

      Does look odd. With that rounded back and high-heel like legs stance. Like a hump-backed Sleezak. LoL!
      But I suspect Heinrich has something more profound in sights….

  5. David is on the right track; it is really something way too obvious! It seems I have a knack for spotting the things most people miss because they are too obvious – in the case of my SVP talk it sadly took me four years (doh!).

    Hint: What do you EXPECT to see on a vertebrate skull? Major elements.

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