Everything Dinosaur aims to Use Palaeontology to Predict the Winners of Euro 2012
Back in 2010 when the Football World Cup was being held in South Africa , the media covered stories about an octopus in an aquarium that was allegedly able to predict the outcomes of football matches during the tournament. The octopus, called Paul if we remember correctly, predicted a number of results. However, this is not the first instance of bizarre methodology being used to calculate soccer results. For example, back in 2008 team members at Everything Dinosaur used palaeontology and geography to see if we could predict the competition winners before a ball had been kicked. Not a bad effort considering we were distracted at the time thanks to lots of deliveries of dinosaur toys.
It was only for a bit of fun, and it did lead to some lively conversations in the office, and when we came to assess how we had done the model could hardly be regarded as “sound and robust”, however, under our system we did predict four out of the eight quarter finalists. In a spirit of continuity and with the 2012 European Championships about to kick off we thought our dinosaur model experts ought to have another go.
How did we do in 2008: Euro 2008 Predictions – How Did we Do?
Each of the sixteen finalists, have been analysed according to the number of well-known fossil genera found within their country’s borders, this has been cross referenced with that nation’s land surface area in square kilometres, a crude assessment of the amount of potential fossil bearing strata to be found (ignoring metamorphic and igneous rock issues of course). These assessments were then weighted against the number of times that particular country has been mentioned in this Everything Dinosaur blog and referenced against the way in which the teams had been drawn in the four round-robin qualifying groups, with each group producing two quarter-finalists. The results yielded some interesting data.
Using Palaeontology to Predict Euro 2012 Winners
Table credit: Everything Dinosaur
Let’s not get too carried away, but according to our predictions the winners will be… England. England are predicted to beat Germany in the final, with Portugal and France making the semi-final stages. England comes out top under our ranking system, in part as we have specialised in discussing English fossil remains in the blog and in addition we receive a lot of press releases from museums and other bodies based in the UK. Mixed results for the two host countries. Poland for example, are predicted to make it out of the group stages, whilst Ukraine fail to qualify for the latter part of the tournament and come out of our analysis with the lowest ranking. This is probably due to our lack of knowledge regarding Mesozoic or Cenozoic dated fossil finds rather than any affirmation of the Ukrainian’s football prowess.
Spain, many people’s favourites for the title, don’t make it out of the group stages, whilst Holland, which does rather well under our rating and ranking system, just fails to qualify due to the fact that two higher ranking teams happen to be placed in the same group for the first stage of the tournament.
No need to dash a quick email off to the English FA, telling Roy Hodgson and his boys that the geological record seems to be on their side, this is only for a bit of fun… but you never know it could be England’s year.
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I used a similar system with Marine Invertebrates from the Upper Cretaceous, the final was between Holland and Germany ! Guess who won ?