Average Dinosaurs #haiku #sciku #dinosaurs

Boring dinosaurs
Grazing Mesozoic fields
Have the most to teach

A perfectly dull Hadrosaurus that could still get as big as an elephant, so a herd would have been something to see.

Beyond the flashy teeth and horns, the most plentiful dino herds give us something special: numbers.

Less hyped, more common species are where learning happens. These were the dinosaurs that altered ecosystems depending on what plants they ate and even where they walked, trampling some areas and letting others grow. They often were the food our favorite carnivores relied on. And these dinosaurs were so abundant that they’re more useful for paleontologists who want to know how dinosaurs varied, how they grew and other basic facts. Thanks to Smithsonian

When the Virus Kept Humans Home #sciku #haiku #whales #nature

Covid anthropause
Whales respond to quiet seas
But what do they say?

Michelle Fournet of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA, realized that the Covid lock down presented her with a once-in-a-lifetime chance. She could listen to the whales of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park when they were free of cruise ship traffic. And she discovered a difference. The humpbacks sounded like a 45-year-old recording, before cruise ships proliferated, from nearby Frederick Sound. Thanks to Hakai for the article. There are bound to more more studies coming out about wildlife reactions to human’s withdrawal during the pandemic: to the anthropause.

Mourn With Ghosts #archeology #haiku #sciku

Millennia past,
Was carefully buried child,
Lovingly buried?

It’s hard for me to imagine what the family’s life was like, but perhaps I could understand their grief.

A purposefully excavated pit followed by intentional covering of the corpse. The child appears to have been prepared for a tightly shrouded burial, placed on one side with knees drawn toward the chest. Even more notable is that the position of the child’s head suggests it rested on some sort of support, like a pillow. CNET

Neanderthal’s Ebb and Flow #poem #anthropology #DNA

The floor of a cave
Holds subtle clues,
Genetic remnants
Preserved in the ooze.

Molecular treasures
Hide in dirt layers,
From blood or from skin,
Or lumps of whatever.

Statistical methods
Link populations
Throughout ancient Europe’s
Inter-glacial locations.

When ice returned
The Tree of Life shook,
Layers of soil,
Are leaves
in humanity’s book.

Classic Neanderthal image from 1920

Thanks to sciencemag.org for their article on a report in Science that dirt from Northern Spain has yielded the first nuclear DNA from an ancient human to be gleaned from sediments:

The sequences reveal the genetic identity and sex of ancient cave dwellers and show that one group of Neanderthals replaced another in the Spanish cave about 100,000 years ago, perhaps after a climate cooling. “They can see a shift in Neanderthal populations at the very same site, which is quite nice.”