This is Impossible, But I Read it Anyway #fossil #dinosaur #DNA

Dinosaur Hypacrosaurus  artist's reconstructionCartilage with DNA’s chemical signature? From a dinosaur? Preposterous.

One study found that half of remaining DNA deteriorates every 521 years. Granted, different levels of preservation exist, but that says finding wooly mammoth DNA is amazing. Dinosaurs? Impossible.

But if there’s any chance at all, it’s fascinating.

Chinese Academy of Sciences paleontologist Alida Bailleul and her colleagues think they’ve got the proof.

Okay – I see “China” and I’m more skeptical than usual. Some questionable reports come out of China. But so do some remarkable fossils.

What about bacterial contamination, whether recent or ancient? What about analytical errors handling what-must-be tiny samples? Should we even talk about this before replication studies are published?

Keep an eye open. Every controversial field of study had to start someplace.

This is the Strange Value of the Best Fossil Poo #dinosaurs #fossils #science #evolution #poetry #poem

fossilized poo - resource for science

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.

Ancient relationships
That underlain the world
Of millions of years ago,
Their secrets are unfurled.

Synchrotron
Micro
Toe – mography
Without destroying fossils
Enables us to see

Deep into the past
Of ecology,
To reconstruct
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 😀

Limusaurus Mud Lizard Needs Dentures #poem #poetry #dinosaur #nature #fossil

limusaurus_size

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.

Wholly unexpected
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.

rr-3-coversAll 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.

Galactic Year – a #SolarSystem #poem by Kate Rauner

Impact!

Impact!

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

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