You can’t just ask politely

Published May 12, 2020

“Can we real­ly tell male and female dinosaurs apart?” The answer is … prob­a­bly not. That’s because the soft tis­sues that make up the sex dif­fer­ences don’t fos­silize, and the dif­fer­ences in bone struc­ture are min­i­mal. Even with mod­ern equiv­a­lents — ghar­i­als, a giant croc­o­dile — it’s often difficult.

“Like dinosaurs, ghar­i­als are large, slow grow­ing rep­tiles that lay eggs, which makes them a good mod­el for study­ing extinct dinosaur species. Our research shows that even with pri­or knowl­edge of the sex of the spec­i­men, it can still be dif­fi­cult to tell male and female ghar­i­als apart.

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