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Peter is 47% complete by bone density. This was calculated by T.rex expert Dr David Burnham from Kansas University’s Institute for Biodiversity and Natural History Museum, who is one of the world’s leading therapod paleontologists. Dr Burnham calaculated Peter’s completeness using the most scientifically accurate measurement, pioneered by the Field Museum in Chicago, home to “Sue” the most complete T.rex in the world.
As Dr Burnham writes, “The most rigorous approach to the way percentage is calculated, is to use bone density. Specimen completeness is calculated by assigning weighted percentage values to the bones. In this method, a femur carries more weight than a toe bone. This naturally has scientific value as well, since it recognizes the importance of one bone over another; we know that there are more pathologies identifiable in the larger bones than smaller ones, and so they are much more important from a scientific research perspective as well.
Peter’s bone density as 47% complete, was calculated mathematically by computing the area of each individual bone represented using measuring software. Then I totaled the area of all the elements. A percentage was determined by comparing this total to the total area of a hypothetical 100% complete skeleton. This percentage was also calculated independently for both left and right sides of Peter. The side areas were then added to get a single area value to compare to the total area which was then expressed as the total percent completeness of the specimen”.