Some Interesting Prehistoric Stuff

I love to browse the Sci-Tech page (page 154) on BBC1’s Ceefax (teletext) service. There’s always a lot of interesting snippets culled from various sources such as the New Journal of Physics, Nature and Science magazines. My favourite areas of interest are astronomy and space exploration, and palaeontology, and here are a couple of palaeontology snippets from recent pages:

Apparently scientists in Germany, Switzerland and the US claim that they’ve found the point at which the African and Indian elephants split and diverged from a common ancestor. They compared genetic research done on both species and other research done on the extinct woolly mammoth and mastodon, and came to the conclusion that the split occurred 7.6 million years ago.

Another interesting snippet concerns the dinosaurs. Accepted theories state that when the dinosaurs first evolved, they swept all before them, and rendered the earlier, more primitive forms of reptiles (known as dinosauromorphs) quickly extinct. Apparently that’s considered now not to be the case, and both lived side by side for many millions of years.

Just a couple of interesting snippets from the pages of Sci-Tech. Go to Ceefax page 154, and git yerselves ejjicated a bit. 🙂

Fossilised Remains of Giant Dino Bird Found in China

I’m just sitting back, having a late-night cup of tea, and browsing the Ceefax pages on TV (Ceefax is the teletext service of the UK’s BBC TV), and I’ve come across a fascinating page.

Apparently the fossilized remains of a giant bird-like dinosaur have been recently uncovered in the Inner Mongolia region of China. This guy belongs to the same group of dinosaurs that includes the much smaller feathered dinosaurs, some of them as small as chickens, a group which is supposedly linked to (or were) the ancestors of birds. But the other known dinosaurs of this group are all relatively small, while this specimen is a big beast.

Complete with beak and feathers, this monster weighed about 3,080lbs (1,400kg), which is about thirty-five times heavier than other similar feathered dinosaurs. It was 26ft (8m) long, and stood twice as tall as a man at the shoulder. Yet this one was only a young adult when it died, so we can expect an adult specimen to be considerably larger.

Now that would be a real big Christmas Turkey! 🙂

I don’t know how reliable this information is (I usually follow good advice – don’t believe everything you see on TV or read in the papers), but, apparently, the original source is the prestigious science journal, Nature. I’m definitely intrigued enough to look for more information, so this might be something to watch out for.