Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robert Bakker..."dino"mite ideas

Robert Bakker is an American paleontologist who was the first to prove that dinosaurs were warm blooded and have more in common with birds than cold-blooded lizards. He is an outspoken a maverick and holds controversial opinions about the dinosaurs that are his passionate study. He disagrees with the commonly held belief that dinosaurs perished in a cataclysmic global climate change caused by a monumental meteor strike. Instead, he maintains that a series of extinctions resulted as land bridges formed that brought together dinosaur species that may have been enemies, competed for resources, or carried diseases.

From UMKC professor Bill Ashworth...

Robert Bakker, an American paleontologist, was born Mar. 24, 1945. Bakker, in the late 1960s, was one of the earliest advocates for the idea of "hot-blooded dinosaurs," offering up multiple lines of evidence to show that dinosaurs, like mammals and birds, regulated their blood temperature. He made perhaps his best argument with a drawing, showing the newly discovered Deinonychus, running flat out after an invisible prey, a glint of a promising dinner in his eye. It has since provided the prototype for most cinematic predatory dinosaurs, especially those of Jurassic Park (1993), for which Bakker served as an advisor. Another advisor was John Horner, who disagrees with Bakker on many issues, especially on T. rex as a fleet-footed predator (Horner thinks it more likely that T. rex was a slow-moving scavenger). Horner got his revenge in the second movie: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). There was a character in this film, "Dr. Robert Burke," who was clearly modeled on the bearded Bakker, and Horner supposedly convinced Steven Spielberg that Dr. Burke should meet his end by being swallowed by a rampaging Tyrannosaurus. It was a great scene (one of the few redeeming scenes of the film), although I think Burke's last words should have been: “Does this look like a scavenger to you!”

Robert Bakker [Wikipedia]

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