East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Some notes on dinosaur hunting – part 2


Bring ’em back alive!

We discussed hunting dinosaurs in the classic one shot-one kill style.
A gentleman’s pursuit.

But let’s say our interest is more scientific and we want to collect live specimens…
What should we do?

scf4327-082The obvious choice is stealing the eggs and then incubate them.
A brief moment of panic and a hectic run might save us a lot of trouble.
After all, it worked for Professor Challenger, right?

But ok, let’s say we want to collect a live dinosaur.
We must somehow knock the beasties down.

The best sleeping drugs for reptiles is Isoflorane, an alogenated ether which is administered by inhalation.
Yes, we can gas the dinos.

People interested in the old sleeping gun way, the dart in our gun can be loaded with any of the classics:

Most veterinarians swear by a cocktail of Ketamine (a dissociational drug) and either Diazepan or Medetomitine (a muscular relaxant).
The volume depends on the bulk of the animal – its total weight.
It works in ten minutes.
Or it should, anyway.
It’s better to be out of the way after thirty minutes after sedation.

Now we face two problems.
The first problem is mechanical – injecting the drug.
The best way should be to inject the drug cocktail between two scales – as perforating the scale is painful for the animal and ineffective as a way to sedate it.
In other words, we might end up with a an enraged, fully awake dinosaur.
If we are dealing with carnivores or saprophages, the best policy should be shooting the dino in the neck, and from behind, thus taking advantage of the scale orientation.

But the real problem is the second: estimating the dosage.
The cocktail described above is suggested in doses of 15 milligrams per kg of mass.
This means that, for big specimens, we should shoot or anyway inject them with many litres of drugs.
Better to look for youngs, and focus on smaller species.


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Some notes on dinosaur hunting – part 2

    • In fact, your mentioning of a sleep ray got me thinking about the possible use of a taser.
      The problem, of course, would still be penetrating the hide of the dino.
      And I wonder what kind of charge would do the trick…


  1. There’s a lot of dinosaurs hunting in Primeval (you can find all episodes on Youtube). Now you are making me wonder about the scientific accuracy of the show.


  2. I think that a taser will not be effective against a dino, not even a small one.
    Too many differencies in the neural system structure. The gas option is the less dangerous one.


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