#dinosaurs

James Morgan:

Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall.

Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus.

We keep creeping closer to real-life Godzilla. Isn’t it sort of strange that nothing even remotely close to this size roams the Earth today?

The Economist:

Despite what happens in the science fiction world of “Jurassic Park”, no dinosaur DNA has yet been found. The reason for this is that DNA is thought to have a half-life of 521 years, which means that, after that much time, half of the bonds between the proteins that make up DNA have broken apart; after another 521 years, another half have gone, and so on. This leaves very little behind after hundreds of thousands of years yet alone the 65m years or so that stand between humanity and dinosaurs. Even so, Dr Schweitzer and Dr Goodwin still wondered if the iron-based preservation process might allow DNA to bypass its typical half-life and last a lot longer.

Dino DNA!

But in recent years traces of soft tissue, such as blood vessels and bone cells, have been found in some dinosaur fossils. Now researchers have come up with an explanation for how these tissues were preserved for millions of years, which just might make it possible to extract some elements of prehistoric DNA.

Hold onto your butts…

science-junkie
sagansense:

What happened…when the object apparently responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs hit the Earth 65 million years ago? “First, there was a gigantic fireball brighter than the Sun as the comet plunged to its death, not with a whimper, but a bang. One casualty was the ozone layer, which temporarily vanished. Seconds after the big comet first encountered Earth’s upper atmosphere, it carved out a crater - now buried - 200 kilometers wide and 25 kilometers deep. All that debris shot up into the sky and came back again, all over the Earth. No place would have been spared a hit of at least a tiny particle.
More…

It’s fascinating to think that if the asteroid never hit Earth, dinosaurs may very well still rule the planet and humans may have never even evolved. This seems pretty important when considering extraterrestrial life, and the hope that it’s intelligent.

sagansense:

What happened…when the object apparently responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs hit the Earth 65 million years ago?

“First, there was a gigantic fireball brighter than the Sun as the comet plunged to its death, not with a whimper, but a bang. One casualty was the ozone layer, which temporarily vanished. Seconds after the big comet first encountered Earth’s upper atmosphere, it carved out a crater - now buried - 200 kilometers wide and 25 kilometers deep. All that debris shot up into the sky and came back again, all over the Earth. No place would have been spared a hit of at least a tiny particle.

More…

It’s fascinating to think that if the asteroid never hit Earth, dinosaurs may very well still rule the planet and humans may have never even evolved. This seems pretty important when considering extraterrestrial life, and the hope that it’s intelligent.