palentology

DNA Memory

In the next fifty years the most amazing scientific development will be the discovery of techniques to “read” DNA. That is to read DNA, digitize the information and then to use a computer to analyse and then “project” the creature in simulation like the projection of a film onto a screen. We will be able to see not just the creature itself but its ancestors. Moreover, we will be able to read behavior and instinct and so know where this animal fit into the ecosystem. 

Then, eventually, we will be able to read actual “memory” as encoded in the DNA. It will make paleontology into a new and cutting edge science and will turn the scientific discipline of taxonomy on its head. Every shred of DNA will be in essence a flash drive containing readable information.

๑ Samsaran ๑

THE THREE LAYER CAKE

There are thousands upon thousands of layers in the earth’s crust. However, scientists have grouped the layers into major groups. The most recent three layers are the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. These layers represent the last 500 million years of life on earth.

In the Paleozoic, you find fish, amphibian, and reptile fossils (in that order), but never dinosaurs, birds, modern mammals, or even flowering plants.

Think of that: despite the billions of plant fossils in the Paleozoic layer, nobody has ever found one fossil of a flower, including any kind of deciduous tree or even a single blade of grass. Why not? The obvious explaination is flowers had not evolved yet.

The next layer, the Mesozoic, is often called the age of dinosaurs. The Mesozoic has dinosaurs like crazy. Of course, dinosaurs are reptiles and that’s why you won’t find any until after the Paleozoic which contains the first reptiles. The Mesozoic also has the first flowering plants, birds, and mammals, though few if any birds or mammals that we know of today.

On top of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic is the Cenozoic. This is the current layer that is still being deposited in oceans, deserts and swamps all around the earth today. The Cenozoic is the first major layer where we find modern mammal fossils like cats, dogs, monkeys and humans. This layer, or “era” is often referred to as the age of mammals.

These three layers make up a sort of 3-layer cake. Just like a cake, the bottom layer went down first, followed by the middle and the top. Since fossils progress from fish at the bottom to humans at the top, we have clear evidence that life evolved through time.

Credit: prehistoricplanet.com

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Settling the debate over the nature of the T. rex

One question has hounded the T. rex, perhaps the most famous dinosaur of them all, for years. Were they terrifying, active predators? Overgrown vultures? Or perhaps a mix of the two?

Now for the first time, there’s direct evidence that T. rexes were hunters, with palentologists discovering a vertebrae of a hadrosaur that had healed around a T. rex tooth, suggesting the prey had been alive when it was bitten.

The tooth crown and vertebrae found in South Dakota’s Hell Creek Formation is “the piece that settles the controversy,” said University of Kansas paleontologist David Burnham, a member of the study team.

Read more over at Science Now.

Photos: Fallon E. Cohen, Robert DePalma, Rudolph Frank Pascucci

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“Based on the Bible, I believe that all the land animals were made on day six, and Adam and Eve were made on day six, and people try to make fun of us for believing that dinosaurs lived with people, but there are a lot of animals living today that evolution says lived with dinosaurs.”

-Ken Ham

My favorite quote in response to creationism nonsense:

“Young earth creationism is essentially the position that all of modern science, 90% of living scientists and 98% of living
biologists, all major university biology departments, every major science journal, the American Academy of Sciences, and
every major science organization in the world, are all wrong regarding the origins and development of life….but one
particular tribe of uneducated, bronze aged, goat herders got it exactly right.”

- Chuck Easttom