Interesting: according to National Geographic, a controversial new theory could remove as many as one third of all dinosaur species from our encyclopedias. What’s the big idea? Simple: that young dinosaurs underwent dramatic physical changes as they matured. As the theory goes, because young dinos were dramatically different than their grown-up counterparts, it’s erroneously assumed that they were different species altogether.
Virtually all early fossil classification was done on the basis of morphology (physical characteristics). If a tadpole is a young frog, morphology is useless in establishing that fact. If, as this theory suggests, a young T-Rex looked dramatically different than an older T-Rex, we may have many fewer dinosaur species than we think we do.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on this one. I like dinosaurs.