Statistics and Sea Monsters – Wed 15th September

On Wednesday the 15th of September 2010 Dr. Charles Paxton from the University of St. Andrews gave the first talk in our new 2010/2011 Cafe Science Series!

You can view a video of Charles’ talk here on YouTube.

Dundee Science Centre’s Infusion Cafe was full with an audience of over 60 people. Charles’ excellent talk and questions from the audience covered the following topics.

The hunt for unknown animals like the great sea serpent and the kraken is often considered a pseudoscience but statistics can tell us some interesting things about sea monster reports and the probabilities of finding unknown animals. The hunt for Nessie may be more scientific than you think.

Sea monsters have been reported since antiquity but only recently has this topic come under statistical scrutiny. Recent research suggests there may be large numbers of large marine and freshwater animals awaiting discovery by science. Given this, is it time to re-evaluate reports of unknown aquatic animals?

Again statistics can help understand biases in eyewitness testimony. Statistics can also be used to obtain the probabilities of extinct animals being alive today and even how big they can get. In the future there will be monsters…