Friday Fodder – Dinosaurs & Astroids

One of my goals with this blog is to be a source of topics for Moms to chat about.  Many of us spend most of our day thinking about the health, growth, milestones, and simple joys of our babies.  So, when it comes to cocktail party time (or when we would like to talk about something other than babies with friends), even though we have all the same thoughts and beliefs we did before becoming Moms, that Mom brain takes over and it is a tough to pull up a topic.

So – introducing “Friday Fodder” – something to make you think, laugh, imagine, and give you something else to talk about.

Dinosaurs & Astroids

As I rocked William to sleep one day this week, I took note of his pjs – Dinosaurs wearing pajamas.  Puzzling I thought.  My mind wandered, I’ve never seen an “atomically correct” dinosaur.  Wait, that would have to be “atomically imagined” because the soft tissue would be long gone.  Has anyone ever depicted male and female dinosaurs?  Would T-Rex look much different – scarier or strange – if he were “complete”?

My mind wandered further – there are male AND female dinosaurs then.  I never think of dinosaurs and gender.  It seems that growing up there are boy dinos, the big scary T-Rex, and girl dinos, the triceratops in Land Before Time had earings I believe.

Dinosaur Gender and Mating Habits, friday folder, interesting topic to think about, cocktail party conversation

All of these thoughts sent me to the internet over nap time.  I could not find one single article or imagining, but then I happened upon this article.  This is the best I could conjure up on dinosaurs and their mating habits.

“Rather than having a mammalian setup like ours, what they would have is—and this is seen in both crocodilians and birds—a sort of a cloaca. They’d have a one-stop orifice. It wouldn’t be like budgies, or pigeons, or other birds that reproduce with a “cloacal kiss,” with no external genitalia to move the sperm from male to female. Instead, we expect dinosaurs to be more like archaic birds, crocodiles, and alligators in that there would be some kind of organ to allow the passage of sperm between the two. How big that would have been, what it would look like—that’s anybody’s guess. Especially when you figure that there were over 1800 genera of dinosaurs during their prehistoric heyday, and you look at the differences in genital anatomy in birds today—even with just ducks, it’s mind-boggling—so, you know, does Stegosaurus have a weird prehensile thing to get around all that armor? It’s possible, we don’t really know.”

The article is worth a skim.  It takes you down the path of understanding a section of biology you may not have thought about before.

 

…and that brings us to astroids. 

Earth from from one million miles away, Deep Space Climate Observatory, NASA, Friday Foder Skylines and Sunshine Blog

There are many theories to why dinosaurs became extinct.  Most scientist believe that a change in climate or food supply lead to their demise.  There is also a theory based on “a distinct layer of iridium–an element found in abundance only in space–that corresponds to the precise time the dinosaurs died. This suggests that a comet, asteroid or meteor impact event may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.” (read more)

That reminded me of a segment I heard this week on All Things Considered.  In an interview with scientist and former astronaut Ed Lu, they discussed the risk of a large astroid striking Earth and what could be done to prevent it.  It turns out that science is actually very close and united on the subject of how to prevent this “global natural disaster”, just not how to pay for it.

Lu is working on the creation of an astroid detection telescope that could be placed in space to spot any astroids large enough to threaten the planet.  This telescope would then be paired with a system to simply knock those astroids off course.  So, the problem is not science, it is funding.  This project has an estimated budget of $500 million and only $10 million has been raised.

There is a UN committee that discusses these things, but according to the article, there is absolutely no coordinated effort to pay for preventing these “global natural disasters”.  If I have my dollar ready – where do I send it?

 

If you haven’t taken the time to look at photos from space recently, take a few minutes and try out one of these links.  I find that thinking about space opens my mind, puts things into perspective and brings up more questions than answers.

Did you see the photos of Pluto taken from the New Horizons spacecraft?  Gives the dwarf planet a bit more dimension.

My favorite is always the spectacular images released from Hubble.  These images make space look alive and vivid.

Have you ever spotted the International Space Station flying overhead?  Know when to look up.

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