Week 5 – The stressful end to Part 1 of the internship

Increasing pressure

For the first time, things were getting quite stressful. Originally the plan was that I would be finished with the image collection by the start of the final week so I could complete the measurements before I going to India. However, I had only collected half of the images I needed to. This was not because I was being lazy but more so to do with how I naturally work. I usually take my time with my work and when the task was to sift through seemingly hundreds of papers to find on average 5-6 images per species it took longer than I expected. Moreover, overtime the names of the species and specimen number can change so a paper in 1920 of a species could be different to the present day.

Dorsal views of the mandible were difficult to find

An additional problem was with the mandible. Most of the traits I would measure were related to the mandible but while I was collecting the images there were quite a few specimens that did not have a mandible. Particularly, a dorsal view of the mandible which was needed in order to measure the extent of propaliny.

I had to accept that I would not get onto the measurements during the final week so I told my supervisors about the delay and expected them to be worried that I would not finish my project. But to my surprise they accepted it without a problem and Professor Benton was even able to extend my internship to the end of September meaning I would have a few extra weeks after coming back from my holiday. This did ease my tensions and I was able to solve my concerns about propaliny measurements by consulting with Professor Rayfield who said I could use lateral views of mandible instead.

Many specimens like this Repelinosaurus were missing the mandible. Image taken from Olivier et al 2019

Problems with some skull traits

Nevertheless, mentally it was getting tiring. Spending long hours in front of a computer screen searching for images was starting to take its toll but fortunately I was getting quicker at it. And finally by the end of the week I had finished with my image collection but looking at the type of images I had collected made me realise certain traits could be a problem to measure.

For example, I thought calculating the mechanical advantage would be difficult since I could not figure out what references in the skull I could use to make the measurements needed for the calculation. This meant that during my holiday I had to look at the literature and see if I could find any features in the skull that I could use as a reference for the beginning and end for the measurements. However, I had another five weeks to do that so I wasn’t too worried and was ready to go on my holiday.

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