Palaeontology Predictions for 2012
With 2012 already upon us it is time for those of us brave enough to attempt to foresee the future to stick our heads above the parapet and have a go at predicting some of the news stories and articles featuring dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals that will appear in the media in the coming twelve months.
At the start of each year just for a bit of fun, we have had a go at trying to predict what might happen in palaeontology and other Earth Science fields in the year ahead. We have to admit to very mixed results when we review what we said at the end of the year. However, fortune favours the brave as they say, so having put our heads together this is what we have come up with.
Earth Science and Palaeontology Predictions for 2012
1). New Tyrannosaurid to be discovered in China
With the amount of field work going on in China at the moment, it is almost certain that a number of new dinosaur species will be discovered, however, we have suggested that a new member of the Tyrannosaur family will come to light, perhaps a Chinese version of the large Late Cretaceous Theropods that roamed North America. Perhaps another huge Tyrannosaurus from somewhere such as the Shandong Province.
2). Fossil Found in an Unusual Place
With Iguanodon fossils turning up in Sunderland, museum fossil material regarded as "rubbish" turning out to be a new species of dinosaur it is amazing where fossils can be found. We predict that there will be a news story on such an unusual discovery. An Allosaurus in an allotment, that would be unlikely, but perhaps somewhere, a strange-shaped stone in a rockery or on a garden path might turn out to be something rather special.
3). Dinosaurs and the Olympics
With the London Games due to start in a little over 200 days or so, we expect there to be lots of media outlets piggy-backing news and press releases around the Olympics. Natural History Museums and such like will not be exempt from all this as we get closer and closer to the start of the Summer games. Expect lots of news stories with an "Olympic feel".
4). A High Profile Trial and Conviction for Damage to an SSSI
Incidents where important fossil locations have been damaged due to the activities of unscrupulous collectors will no doubt increase again in 2012, but we predict that the authorities will fight back and there will be news of a conviction in the UK resulting from vandalism from a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
5). Landslip at Lyme Regis (Jurassic Coast - UK)
With the cliffs at Lyme Regis (Dorset, England) becoming more and more dangerous we predict that 2012 will see another major land slip on this stretch of the English coast. High tides and high winds will combine to further weaken the rock strata and a significant land slip will result.
6). Up, Up and Away with the Discovery of a New Pterosaur Genus
2012 is the year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar, and we suspect that another winged creature will hit the headlines over the coming year. It is likely that a new species of Pterosaur will come to light, perhaps from the Santana Formation of Brazil, or from the South East of Asia, or even Australia.
7). Advancing Techniques Yield New Data Concerning Dinosaur Skin
Increased use of high-tech. facilities once the sole property of NASA and other high-tech agencies will permit palaeontologists to make more amazing discoveries. High resolution electron microscopy or advanced tomographic systems linked to super efficient computer imagery software will reveal more secrets about ancient animals, perhaps even some further information about dinosaur skin and its potential colour.
8). Land of the Giants - New Titanosaur Discovery in Gondwanaland
Last but not least, our eighth and final prediction deals with the largest terrestrial animals that ever lived. It is likely that in a part of the world that once made up the southern continent of Gondwanaland, scientists will unearth the fragmentary fossilised bones of a new type of Titanosaur (long-necked dinosaur). May be something to rival the "super heavyweights" of Argentina and Africa.