Monday, December 27, 2010

Dino Discoveries Shock, Stir Controversy

Saw the most fascinating 60 Minutes last night. If it's online, check it out. A protégé of the eminent (and often unorthodox) paleontologist Jack Horner has discovered what appear to be vascular and cellular tissues in bone 65 to 80 million years old.  Most surprisingly, they do not appear to be fossilized; rather, under the microscope, they behave in the decidedly flexible manner of organic tissue.  I think there is a new definition of mind-blowing.  The findings are preliminary and highly controversial, but Horner and his ilk have a long history of doing what no one else dares: actually break into fossils and examine them. Through this technique, they have discovered the first dino embryos and learned that many dinosaurs didn't die out, per se, but rather evolved into modern birds. These discoveries would not have been possible if it were not for the seemingly capricious manner in which Horner and others treat these specimens—a manner that horrifies some.  To many, these precious specimens cannot be harmed.  However, as Horner said, "glue is cheap.”


Autumnforest said...

Now, I have to see that! I say go for it! The stupid shroud of turin nonsense seriously needed some snipping, examination and burning. You do what you have to in order to get answers. Just staring at a bone isn't going to get you much except some artist's rendering of how it might have looked, but if destroying a piece of the bone (after making a casted model of it, of course), can unlock the bigger secrets, like "who's your daddy?" "who's your son?" in the evolutionary process.

Cullan Hudson said...

Precisely. If there is an inferior specimen or one that is duplicated elsewhere, then use those to test further as these men and women are. As for the Shroud of Turin, it needs to be tested from the actual shroud. The testing done on it was snipped from a much newer patched corner that only dates to the middle ages.