Charles Marshall, a UC Berkeley professor and director of the University of California Museum of Paleontology, explained: “The project just started off as a lark, in a way.
“When I hold a fossil in my hand, I can’t help wondering at the improbability that this very beast was alive millions of years ago, and here I am holding part of its skeleton—it seems so improbable.
“The question just kept popping into my head, ‘Just how improbable is it? Is it one in a thousand, one in a million, one in a billion?’
“And then I began to realize that maybe we can actually estimate how many were alive, and thus, that I could answer that question.”
There are, of course, many uncertainties in the expert’s estimates.
The 20,000 adult T.rexes figure, for instance, is within the 95 percent confidence range.
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