Worldwide Dinosaur Discoveries

Week 15 Dataset and Historical Background

Posted by David Velleca on June 13, 2018

Historical Background

The Mesozoic Era was a time of diverse animal life on Earth, with dinosaurs being the most famous creatures to roam the planet during the era. Dinosaurs fascinate both young and old due to their fantastical appearance, the fossils & evidence they left behind and overall mystery associated with their very being & extinction. The first recorded evidence dinosaur fossil finds was in the early 1800's in England.

These discoveries stimulated our imagination, with various estimations of what the animals would have looked like when their bones were fully articulated and covered in skin. We know now that these drawings and interpretations, sometimes featuring random horns, spikes or other decorations were grossly incorrect. From what we now know are thumbs being placed as nose horns, to awkward postures, science has come a long way in helping us figure out how these magnificent creatures actually looked and acted.

Large amounts of money are spent every year on the excavation of geological formations that have been found to contain countless specimens. Outside of the field, additional research is carried out in museums and laboratories across the world. Despite the subject matter being at least 65 million years old, discoveries are made and reported in the scientific literature all the time. The sudden disappearance of these incredible creatures could hold lessons for humanity as we live on our ever changing planet.

With our oldest dataset yet, what kind of insights can you unearth? Take some time, and post your viz to Tableau Public, and Twitter with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday, tagging @TThrowbackThurs.

Data Source

The dataset this week was sourced from the Paleobiology Database. Please be sure to cite the source on your viz.

I took the photo on this page at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 2016.