Posted tagged ‘Dinosaurs’

DINOSAUR HEAVEN

August 29, 2017

Those of you who know me know my enthusiasm  for dinosaurs!   A 5,000 mile road trip is just my excuse to visit dinosaur museums  ( ahem,  “natural history” museums).   So please join me on this leg of the trip for a visit to the dinosaurs, for as much patience as you have!

Getting there was easy:

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That’s  the middle of our country!   Kansas,  home of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.   And a very good one it is:

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Easy parking.  No waiting in lines.    That big cream-colored  dome in the back houses the main exhibits.  You can see it better from the expressway.

Inside is a beautiful lobby, with blue and yellow live relics from ancient times on display  (more later)  and a lovely plesiosaurus   hanging overhead.     Also a thoughtful welcome sign:

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Guests are all primed and ready!    First stop, though, is actually the sea creatures,  displayed in a beautiful curving pathway through  “the sea.

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And  close to the “swimming”  monsters:

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Looks fierce at maybe 25 feet long,  but we know what it used those teeth for,  sort of:

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Each of the blue arrows shows bite marks on an ammonite,  a mollusk kind of thing, possibly eaten by the “sea monster.”

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Thirty or so feet long.   Tyrosaurus.

What’s left of him:

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Reptile bones can be a little boring,  but sometimes they can show us interesting things:

This fish swallowed another fish whole . . .  and then died:

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The head of the fish that got swallowed is to the right, so he was swallowed head first.  They know what kind of fish these are:

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But the main attraction is always the big reptile things —  all kinds of dinosaurs — so I entered into “the cave” —

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Through the cave to another world –  with fun warnings:

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And then a rather serious thought:

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I mean,  if you’re observant,  you would notice that tail sticking out from behind the rocks.    That’s a mighty big tail!

Life is mean,  80 million years ago.   Always was,  always will be.    Predator and prey.   It’s a “dog-eat-dog”  world out there.    Or whatever these are.

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A T-Rex towering over me:

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And many others:

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One walks through a land of dinosaurs with sounds of swampy groans and growls and piercing whistles and occasional roars . . .  it became eerily realistic after a while.  Occasionally a huge dinosaur would move as it called out –  thanks to subtle animatronics.

Although the Age of the Reptiles lasted for many millions of years,  even long before these dinosaurs was another age,  the Permian Age:

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You really have to think about this to begin to understand the magnitude of ages before the ages before . . .  us.    If you were a time traveler and started out at the time of the dinosaurs and moved backwards in time . . .   if you stopped off every ten million years and saw what lived on this planet,   you would see the height of the Permian Age;  no dinosaurs for a long, long time to come.  Just Permian Age creatures of all sizes.

Then take a time-leap back another ten million years.  Still the Permian Age creatures.

Then take a time-leap back another ten million years.  Still Permian Age creatures.

You could keep doing that until you were tired of leaping backwards, ten million years at a time —  at still hardly reach the beginning of the Permian Age.

Maybe we don’t do that because the creatures aren’t as glamorous and familiar to us,  but if this scientific guess reconstruction is somewhat accurate,  then it was a beautiful and complex age too.

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It was predator and prey,  dog-eat-dog then too:

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That guy was going after a tasty dragonfly.   The museum had a model of the dragonfly,  much larger, according to Permian Age fossils than our dragonflies today.

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My hand , in the corner,  was much closer to the camera,  but still you can see the exceptional size of this creature with maybe a three-foot wingspan.

There were land creatures too of all sizes,  and creatures who lived in the water and on land

And then it came to an end.  We can only speculate why.   It’s called the Permian Extinction Event,  or the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event.   It occurred about 252,000,000 years ago.   So much of the planet’s biodiversity was lost;  about 96 percent of those sea creatures, and 70 percent of land vertebrates . . .  almost all the insect species.

This was the P-T Event,  which came long before the K-T Extinction Event which killed off the “dinosaurs.”      Someone once wrote that it’s like the earth was nearly scrubbed clean of life, and then after a long recovery period, something like a “cosmic dump truck”  just unloaded an explosion of brand-new life forms that became dominant.

What age are we in? How long will it last?

One thing is very clear from actual history written on this planet:  Extinction events happened because of natural causes –  causes caused by Nature and Nature’s significantly, planet-wide drastic changes.   Whether caused by events from outer space,  cosmic bursts of lethal radiation,   or by upheavals within the earth itself —  mankind DOES NOT CAUSE  planet-wide destruction  and mankind CANNOT CAUSE  planet-wide destruction of the “environment”  or the “ecosystem”  or even any portion of the immense “biodiversity”  that exists on this earth.

Climate change is the result of these immense forces that impact the earth.    It doesn’t start from any one species living on the planet.

Please don’t dismiss the Young Earth Theory  (not the “earth is six thousand years old theory”  but the legitimate Young Earth Theory —   that’s worth looking into too, and there is actual evidence, geological and fossil evidence,  that the earth’s age doesn’t need billions of years to explain itself.)   But just play around with all the theories offered.   There is “a diversity”  of theories too.    (None of us living today can determine the right theory.)

Sure I love dinosaurs,  but my heart  is in the last Ice Age,  about 30,000 to 10,900 B.C.

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Or — as they exist now in the Sternberg Museum:

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Here are Dr. Sternberg’s actual working tools:

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That’s all we have of these magnificent past ages:

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It’s so worth a trip to your nearest natural history museum,  just to enter their worlds.

And ours.

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QUETZACOATL, ET AL.

July 30, 2017

Westward,  ho!!!   On the trail of Quetzacoatlus,  the winged . . .  serpenty thing.

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I know I should say that  the greatest “draw”  for me as I prepare my westward journey is my grandson, Cooper.    And my daughter.  And my son-in-law.    But . . .   I know me.

There’s another:

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It is one of the most exciting and recent fossil discoveries!!!  This fossil shows us the skin, the ridges, the scales, and the feathers of a nodosaur, a reptilian-serpenty thing..

I’ll show you the head in a minute,  but, first, a few comments — and I’m gong to be very, very sketchy and abbreviated in my words.  You’ve either speculated on this stuff, or you haven’t.

Here’s another view of the Quetzacoatlus:

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They’re winged,  they’re  feathered (more feathers than this artist gave them) , and they  perhaps fly.

The Native peoples of Mexico await the return of the Winged Serpent, whom they call Quetzacoatl.    Snouted, not beaked.  (Taxonomers seem not to care.)

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Interaction with human beings.    Forbidden interaction.

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Who is that Nachosh spoken of in the Bible;  that Shining One;  that Reptilian-Serpent Thing that interacted with the first humans in their protective Garden?

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Forbidden.     Deadly.

Quetxacoatl again –  (also known as the head of a nodosaur)  —

nodosaur head

What are these things and when did they live –   and what is this . . .  interaction?   It was a time not made for human beings.      But forbidden spiritual interaction is not my point today.    And there’s plenty of evidence for the physical interaction of humans and “dinosaurs”  depicted in artwork:  pictures,  objects (like ancient little toy dinosaurs),  and in weaving and sculpture.   But that’s not my point today either.

It’s this —  Fossils and Footprints!

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That’s a MAN  lying in a dinosaur FOOTPRINT!   The silhouette of the dinosaur is below the photo, and the silhouette of the man is that teeny thing under the tail!

More three-toes dinosaurs,  smaller ones:

hand in print

One time I was in Carson City NV with Cooper,  in the dinosaur display room in a children’s museum.     At two and a half years old,  I wasn’t sure if he understood why I was so excited about seeing the display of three large dinosaur footprints.    He didn’t say much,  but he walked away,  came back with three little plastic toy dinosaurs,  and he placed one toy dinosaur in each footprint.

He got it.

So, yes,  “westward”   —  into dinosaur country.   I’ve got my  route planned from museum to museum!

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Here’s a footnote to the Michael Crichton book I wrote about yesterday,  just to be honest:   The main character about whom the story is told —  didn’t exist, much to my surprise.   The   minor characters who were paleontologists did exist:  Professors Cope and Marsh —  and, of course,  Wyatt and Morgan Earp and assorted famous outlaws.

The places in the book Dragon Teeth  really exist too.  I’ve been to many of them, and reading this book was like having a movie played before my eyes.

Reading and living!

I’d like more of both,  God willing.

 

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.*   To enjoy some quite plausible speculation,  you can’t do better than the series called “West of Eden.”   (Although I suspect modern “environmentalists”  would not be on the side of the humans.”    It’s a clear clash of technologies.)

 

DEAR YOUNG PEOPLE: THREE WORDS

June 1, 2017

After today’s announcement about our country’s non-participation in the Paris Accords,  I see there has been a lot of hysterical,  illogical,  non-scientific pronouncements coming out of Mainstream Media,  Social Media,  and Hollywood actors and actresses.

I trust  there are many among us with love for our planet,  love for our country  (The United States of America),  a love for science and invention,  and a can-do attitude.    Therefore,  I give you,  the up-and-coming generation,  THREE WORDS:

Zero.   Point.   Energy.

 

BIG BANG

 

Zero.  Point.  Energy.   (it goes by other names and there are variations)

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  1.    It’s all around you;  you just have to find a clever  way to get it.

 

2.   It’s challenging, dangerous work;  don’t get killed.

 

3.    “Fossil” Fuels  are not made from “fossils.”    The planet isn’t about to run out of  smooshed dinosaurs – and there is no such thing as peak oil.  Therefore,  you have plenty of time for this project.

 

4.   “Solar power”  and “wind power”  require more electricity  (generated from coal, etc.)   to create its electricity  than what these techniques can  even generate.      So far.    It may take a very long time to make this technology viable.

 

5.   It will soon become apparent to all just how lethal nuclear power plants are.   It is the most deadly way humans have ever invented in order to simply boil water and generate steam.

 

The three words:  Zero Point Energy.    The old-timers will laugh at you;    but you will be on a righteous mission and you’ll save the planet.

Just keep your newly discovered technology:  Open Source!

 

 

 

HALT!! WHO GOES THERE?

August 28, 2015

 I’ve always wanted to say that!

              —  Who goes there? !!!

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Big feet!    The feet of a sauropod!

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Here is a 90-meter long  trail of footprints that was recently discovered  (in Germany,  I think)  by some quarry workers recently.

The footprints were quickly turned over to the paleontologists.

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This is the longest continuous trail of dinosaur footprints ever found.  Each footprint is about 1 1/2 meters wide, and about 40 centimeters deep!      They reckon that the animal who made these tracks weighed about 30 tons!!!!    By the shape and configuration of the footprints,  they know they were made by a sauropod –  one of the biggest type of dinosaur, with a thick body, a strong, long neck, and thick powerful legs.

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30 tons!

Yep,  those are two little people beneath this life-size model.

Here is an artist’s rendition of what they might have looked like in the wild:

This is a Golden Mystery.   A vast, wonderful, intriguing, undiscovered,  fun Golden Mystery about the Creation and early years of our world.

Dinosaurs keep us humble.     We know so little!

WHY WE TRAVEL: THE JEWELRY STORE MINE

August 16, 2014

Well, I guess that’s the “royal” we in “why we travel.”       Here is why I travel:    Because I enjoy exercising my sense of humor!    As I’ve written before,  I love hyperbole, irony, and absurdity.   They always surprise me when I come across them, as I did one day in the Far Far North.

I was walking down the main street of Marquette, acting like a tourist with lots of time  and no particular plan.   That’s when I saw this sign in front of a really nice jewelry store, diamond rings and things:

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As many of you know,  I’m a sucker for dinosaur-anything!    I’ve walked alone in the high desert out West for hours amongst the dinosaur fossils, and I’ve seen dinosaur eggs up close and personal.   So here was an invitation to walk among the dinosaur eggs again — in a jewelry store, absurdly.

And the jewelry store poster was also announcing a tour of its gold mine.     Inside!

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There was just a small display of dinosaur eggs.  Not too much information as to whose, and where and when.     But as I turned around —

SAMSUNGThere was the gold mine entrance!   How inviting is that!   

When I walked inside,  I had entered what looked and felt and sounded like a cave.  It  seemed like mining tunnels, cut into rock.  Part of me knew I was still inside a jewelry store,  but the fun part of me went exploring.

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There were displays of “gold” bricks — or maybe it was gold bricks.     Gold jewelry and gold coins.   Or maybe that was “gold” . . . .     And then there was this sample of Fool’s Gold,     You know:  iron pyrite that looks like gold;  it’s fooled even experienced miners in the past.   We kids in Illinois would find it stuck to the crushed rock that was used for landscaping,  but it was pretty common and not so special back then.

There was a display of the phenomena called luminescence:

SAMSUNGYou could play with the black light settings.    Which I did.

And there were genuine authentic artifacts and equipment and tools used by actual miners:

SAMSUNGI enjoyed the “realism”  it added to the tunnels.   Men really, really worked in deep tunnels with this equipment.   Men in my family being among them, although they were mining iron ore, not gold.   Still,  I enjoyed the attempt at realism.  

Maybe too much  “realism”  as I rounded a corner and nearly bumped into this man —

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Yep.  That’s a miner, looking at me.   I had to remember I was still inside a  “jewelry store.”     I’m real, not him!!   How fun!

I bought a few souvenirs and trinkets,  mostly of the mineral variety.      Here is some calcite:

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When the lady behind the jewelry counter took my money, gave me my receipt, she went over to a little treasure chest on the other side of the counter, and then, putting a handful of something in my bag,  said,  “Here is a little surprise for you to remember your visit here.”     That was nice to have a surprise waiting for me.

But a little kid – a lot smaller than me –  said,  ” I know what those are!   Those are  gold coins that are really chocolate candy!”   Well, there went my surprise.   But I’m an adult, after all.    What I did, though,  was remember the pleasure “gold coins that are really chocolate candy”  gave me when I was a child.  

It’s kids – and remembering what it feels like to be a kid – that made this such a fun gold mine in a jewelry store!

And that’s why I travel,  for the surprising fun of it all.

I wish for all of you Many Miles of  Fun Surprises too.

 

 

WHAT I WON’T TELL MY CLASSES

March 15, 2014

So. . . . .

SAMSUNG. . . . .who made you?

Did you “draw”  yourself?   Did the planet you live on just. . . write you into existence?   Can your existence be explained by the irresolvable complexities of a mind illustrated by  the artist Escher’s  compellingly absurd drawing in the photo above?

My mind is very much on the book of Genesis this week.   Our classes have just started a study of that book –  and it is so stunningly beautiful and vast — allowing room for all the legitimate sciences that mankind has ever come up with –  and there is still more room to discover and hypothesize and explore till the end of time!

As we began the first two chapters of Genesis,  I wished I could have brought in a whole armload of books from our libraries, filled with photographs of tens of thousands of amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful birds and flowers and trees and rocks and ocean creatures and stars . . .   non-living material objects of all kinds;  living creatures of all kinds . . . but I couldn’t bring all those books;  I am left gesticulating wildly in front of my classes, practically levitating off my chair.  I want so much to convey the never-ending beauty of Creation – and the Church’s whole-hearted encouragement of the exploration of every bit of Creation . . . .

Soon we will come to the chapters in Genesis which make brief reference to the vast ages of human civilization, represented sometimes only by a name or by a short description:  this name, representing the age of discovery of this;  that name, representing the development  of that;   the next name, representing  little known planetary events that shaped their time.

But I won’t be talking about this new discovery, recently, in Siberia:

Russian man in there

See the man?  See the man just about the center of the photo standing on the ledge of snow?    He is standing in front of a wall of finely hewn granite blocks, weighing 3,000 tons, some more, some less.   We cannot lift 3,000 tons today.  We have no equipment, no power, no idea how to put such blocks on top of each other.

Another view:

Russian 3 men

Please don’t default to the “20,000 slaves, 20 years, pulleys and ropes”  idea of ancient construction.   That won’t even work for the Temple at Balbek in Lebanon, some of whose granite stones weigh “only”  1,500 tons.

To which age in Genesis does this construction belong?    I have my ideas, but I won’t be bringing these photos to class.    The words in the book of Genesis are sufficient in themselves to increase our amazement, perhaps to humble ourselves when we think about the march of human history.

Here is something else I won’t be bringing in to class:

stego on temple door

You know what kind of creature this is;  it’s one of the types of dinosaurs we call stegosaurus.     It (and other creatures of the dinosaur age) was put on a giant doorframe by the people who built one of the largest religious temples ever found, at Angkor Wat, in Cambodia.    And before western man even discovered dinosaur bones a couple centuries ago!

I’ve seen photographs of museum objects in South America that are perfect depictions of dinosaurs, both statues and drawings – some with men riding on the backs of the dinosaurs.

I’ve seen photographs of lovely woven blankets and coats made in Peru a few thousand years ago, and just recently uncovered as we’ve explored ancient caves and burial urns.   There are pictures of perfect little dinosaurs woven into the design of the fabric; and they are unmistakably dinosaurs.    A little fun mystery to think about – in spite of the inevitable swift appearance of the debunkers –  which don’t always accurately address the artifacts.

Ica-Stone-DinoHere is one of the Ica Stones, discovered a while ago when a cave was opened … We can’t be sure of the timing, because among the many hundreds or thousands of such stones we now find imitations – or “fakes.”   But many of these are genuine.  And they are manmade.   And the dating suggests fantastical ages. . . .

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Some of the Ica Stones are so elaborate it’s hard to tell from a photograph what’s being depicted,  but there is at least two-horned mammoth- or ticeraptops-type animal in this one,  and a dinosaur-type turtle-backed creature, and another possible stegosaurus-type creature up there on the upper right.

Not all Ica Stones are imitations made for tourists.   The hands of men made some of these a few thousand years ago – or more! – near what we call the Andes Mountains.

The Genesis of the Bible is a book for open minds, for explorers, for discoverers of great wonders – for those who find satisfaction and joy learning about this planet, our home.  It’s enough that the words in Genesis merely suggests all these things, because once you think you have it all figured out,   you’ve closed the possibilities and have created the details of your own existence.

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There are enough irresolvable muddled-up complex ideas out there already.  I won’t insert my own into my classes.    They won’t be hearing any open-ended theories from me!

(Unless someone asks:  “Have you ever heard of…?”)   

Ahhhh.  let’s discuss the possibilities!