This legendary fossilized feces specimen is named “Precious”
Brontosaurus is amazing,
And likewise is T Rex,
But what about the beetles
That hold food chains erect?
Fin rays and fish scales
And bits of parasites,
The ins and outs of ecosystems
Found in coprolites.
That underlain the world
Of millions of years ago,
Their secrets are unfurled.
Toe – mography
Without destroying fossils
Enables us to see
Deep into the past
just who ate whom
On life’s ancient tree.
by Kate Rauner
Thanks to phys.org, and read more on wikipedia. More poo poetry here 😀
I’d peck your kneecaps off – if I wasn’t dead for 160 million years
As dinosaurs evolved to birds
Their teeth reduced and disappeared,
Though some kept jaw bones jagged sharp –
A modern goose is to be feared!
Teeth seem to be so useful
To hunting and to dine
That penguins have a toothed tongue,
Some modern chicks boast oral spines.
One hundred million years ago
Limusaurs did not concur.
They dropped their teeth in adult days,
A smooth beak they preferred.
And never seen before,
Fossils show that babies grew
And lost their teeth that tore.
More strange discoveries await
As fossils come to hand
To show us that surprising beasts
Once stalked across the land.
by Kate Rauner
Thanks to sciencemag.org for this news.
All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.
As our sphere orbits Sun,
So Sun orbits Black Hole
At the center of our galaxy,
As eternity unfolds.
In a quarter billion earthly years
Our solar system circles round,
Weaves thru the mid galactic plane
Where other stars are densely found.
Fifteen times since life began
We have circum-rotated,
And ten times in each orbit grand
The planet’s devastated.
Our Sun’s own cloud of comets
On the solar system’s edge
Are jostled from their sedate paths,
Fall inward from their ledge.
With corresponding timing
Ancient craters have been found.
It seems Earth’s plagued with comet storms
As the cosmic year spins round.
Life sized model
Bombardments are not good for life.
Half a dozen times
Mass extinctions cleared our world
As doomsday peals chimed.
Things have been quiet for some time
Since dinosaurs disappeared.
The Sun careens past cosmic dust,
Dark matter, stars, and fears.
Such grand cosmic motion can only be estimated, and the number of Earth’s mass-extinctions depends on your definition, but our movement through the galaxy makes me feel very small and oblivious.
space.com on extinctions and comet strikes
Wikipedia on Galactic year
Feathered dinosaurs may have looked like this
Can be solved;
Ancestors laid eggs
Before chickens evolved.
And long before
Any bird flew,
More than we knew.
Not just fluffy bits,
That never saw flight,
Spread wide in display,
Were a wondrous sight.
By Kate Rauner
Thanks for a wonderful new fossil discussed at National Geographic. Archaeopteryx may be the best known, but is only one of many species of feathered dinosaurs and early birds; a vibrant evolutionary bush of life. Some early birds had enough feathers on their legs to be considered as “four winged”, and there is evidence of feather colors. “Of course, like any evolutionary story, this one could be falsified or complicated by the next cool discovery.”
Human vs Titanosaurs; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Look at that magnificent neck and tail; how’s it do that? licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
The largest dinosaur ever has been found in Argentina… or, maybe not, as Brian Switek writes in National Geographic. UPDATE – it’s in the news again. Patagotitan mayorummay or may not be the largest dinosaur ever, but the American Museum of Natural History in New York added a cast of the 122-foot-long dinosaur to its exhibit – it’s so long the head and neck extend out of the gallery. I’d love to see that!
The long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs I still think of as brontosaurus (as an early find was called when I was a kid) are fascinating. How they managed that neck and tail, and supported the massive body in the middle, was so hard to imagine that they were once depicted living semi-aquatically, so swamp water could help hold them up. I am happy that scientists now see them as more active, holding those long necks out regally; it just seems right.
The giraffe’s neck is not quite the same thing; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic
These creatures are usually known from very few bones, and sometimes bones of different individuals were assembled together, so a lot of extrapolation and guess-work goes into estimating size. “Prehistoric creatures ballyhooed as ‘the biggest ever’ upon discovery have a tendency to shrink by time of publication.”
The exact size doesn’t change my feelings; any 50 ton (roughly), 100 foot long (ish) creature is amazing. And, as Switek says about this latest find, “the best part of the discovery is that paleontologists have turned up many bones from multiple individuals, offering paleontologists a wealth of material to investigate how these ancient animals lived. Size isn’t everything.”
Read about the largest dinosaur that never existed. It’s got an official name now: in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. it’s called Patagotitan mayorum.