BusinessI'm a new father who used his two-month paternity leave to design a product, start a company, form a team and create a launch plan (while helping out around the house). AMA!
Mar 21st 2018 by eyeball1234 • 13 Questions • 169 Points
I am part of an international team that studies Archaeopteryx with microtomography using synchrotron light. Archaeopteryx is a feathered dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Bavaria in Germany. We just found out that the cross cuts of its wing bones look remarkably like those of modern birds and interpreted this as evidence for active flight. However, we also recalled that the skeleton of Archaeopteryx was not equipped with the advanced flight adaptations that all present-day flying birds share. Furthermore, the recent years have uncovered evidence for various previously unrecognised aerial strategies that were adopted by early bird-like dinosaurs. This led us to the conclusion that Archaeopteryx, which remains among the oldest of them, must have represented one of many such evolutionary experiments of dinosaurian flight that ultimately went extinct, leaving only the flight of living birds today. Tomography in general - and synchrotron microtomography in particular - continues to unlock new possibilities for non-destructive and three-dimensional visualisation of important fossils. This promises much for the future of studying the past!
EDIT: Thank you all very much for having joined me here to talk about Archaeopteryx! I will have to return to finishing my preparations for my defence later this week but hope to have sufficiently addressed your interesting questions!
Here's a weird question for you: Why are almost all the accounts asking questions on this thread brand spanking new, created today or yesterday?
Hi Dennis, I also like bones! I practice orthopedic surgery - many patients suffer degenerative conditions around their joints, but they differ in weight bearing and non-weight bearing joints (ie- knee vs. shoulder). Both get arthritis, but for different reasons. When deciding if a particular species could fly, do you look for degenerative bony sequela related to the stresses of attempted/achieved flight?
Hi - It's a fair question. I actually addressed this in the introduction. I've got a really great support network of friends and family who wanted to participate, including quite a few of them who didn't have reddit accounts previously (I'm in my 30's, so parents/aunts/uncles tend to have a few more years than the average redditor). I promise there's no sock-puppeting going on.
Hello fellow bone enthusiast! Limb bones evolve to cope with the stresses and demands they are subjected to and can even remodel themselves to a certain degree during life, depending on how they are used. We did not find signs of degeneration but really aimed at interpreting these evolutionary and adaptive modifications in comparison with understood archosaurs to explain what they signify.
How easy is this product to put on before running for your life?
I understand. I hope you'll get the opportunity to try.
To follow up, how many similarly adapted dinosaurs are currently known and how would you predict (based on skeletal morphology, or feather morphology in the case of micro raptor) that these would compare to your results concerning Archaeopteryx?
You can convert the chair into a vest in about three seconds.
The most similar to Archaeopteryx is Jeholornis from the Cretaceous of China. This dinosaur resembles Archaeopteryx in more ways than one, including an inferred preference for running around, but had fewer teeth, more strongly fused hand bones, and a shoulder that allowed for more upward mobility of the wing. We therefore think it was a better flyer than Archaeopteryx although it was still not particularly well-equipped for the flight stroke of modern birds. Jixiangornis shows a slightly improved flight apparatus still but also retains the long "dinosaurian" tail. Virtually all other flying dinosaurs we know today, including birds, have a tail consisting exclusively of feathers.
Do you approach packaging (design/manufacture) the same way you approached manufacturing, via Alibaba? How do you determine shipping arrangements and keep shipping cost affordable?
Hi Dennis, how exactly does a synchrotron work in relation to your research?
That's a good question. We've done some high-level planing around packaging and logistics & run the numbers to be sure we hit our margins, but nothing is set in stone yet. PM if you happen to have any options in mind ;)
A synchrotron is a particle accelerator in which electrons move around in a long circular tube, the storage ring, at high speeds. This produces synchrotron radiation that is released by electrons forced to circle its storage ring. Such so-called synchrotron light has certain properties that make it very suitable for a particular tomographical technique that rely on a phase shift created by differences in the rock rather than differential absorption by different materials in the rock and is capable of achieving much better contrast and detail in three-dimensional data sets than most conventional tomographical techniques. This is very important for palaeontology since the contrast between rock and fossil bone (which has essentially been converted to rock as well during fossilisation) is notoriously low in tomographical data. Using this technique was vital for non-destructively obtaining the reliable and high-quality imagery required for conducting the presented study.
I would love to know how you built your team. Did you know the skills you needed to have on board and then just match those skills with people you knew had them?
Hi Emilie - I talked about this a bit in one of the other responses, but yes, that was basically the approach. One of the mysteries of the world is that you will always find yourself surrounded by people who can help you to achieve your goals. I don't mean that in an exploitative way, but I truly believe if you have something you want to accomplish and you give it enough thought, you can find people with the knowledge and ability to help you get there. Of course you still have to convince them that a convertible bulletproof vest isn't the craziest thing they've ever heard, but fortunately I have very imaginative friends. ;)