Amazing Wonders and Creature Marvels


“Across the sea of space,

the stars are other suns.”

(Carl Sagan)

In August, a 440 pound Galapagos Island, wild-born tortoise joined the Toledo Zoo.

This tortoise, Emerson, is estimated to be 0ver 100 years old. His acquisition caught

my Mom’s eyes, in the friendly photograph she found buried in the mound of papers

she calls, “blog-worthy.” While reading about the history of tortoises, you find out

the horrible reason why sailors kept them in their ships while on long sea journeys.

These amazing creatures can live for almost a year without food or water, delicious

in soups, when there is no ‘meat’ available.

This made me sad, since the carefully cut out article that my Mom included in her

letter this week, had written in the side column by Mom, “Why didn’t the sailors

just eat fish?” Really good point! I learned that Emerson had a first negative

impression of his new environment, so his head was in the corner, not at all

interested in ‘making friends.’ But within hours, he had turned around and was

slowly, methodically moving towards people. He wanted to know about this new

location and nibbled on fresh vegetables. The photograph has him eating a carrot.

Somehow, the fact that he had his head in the corner, showing his reaction to a

new place to live, made me visualize human reactions to our own having to make

moves or transitions in our lives. This human feeling can be turned around with a

new food offered, a person warmly greeting him and calling him by name. I like

the way the journalist, Alexandra Mester, mentions that when he gets up in the

morning, he seems “to pause and soak up the sun”. They further made me ‘like’

Emerson by explaining how he likes his neck rubbed, shown by the way he stretches

his neck out for this daily affection given him.

Sadly, statistics given from the 1800’s when an estimated 100,000 to 200,ooo

tortoises lived in the Galapagos Islands have shrunk in species to 10,000 to

20,000 left. There are 4 of 14 sub-species now considered extinct.


Speaking of extinct subjects, Rachel Feltman, for the Washington Post, wrote

about the Spinosaurus. This is possibly the only know ‘swimming dinosaur.’

This is also the dangerous dinosaur that may have ‘chomped down on sharks!’

My grandsons were fascinated by this story, passed on by my mother in the

mail. They still like the variations of the animated children’s movies called,

“The Land Before Time.” New fossil evidence may be found in the September’s

copy of, “Science” magazine.

The speculation of the dinosaur out-ranking the T-Rex in size is also amazing.

It may be a record-breaker, largest predatory dinosaur to have existed on Earth.

Scientists believe that it was mainly a water creature, due to these facts or clues:

1. Tiny nostrils placed far back on the middle of the Spinosaurus’ skull. This

makes it appear like the water-crawling and swimming alligators and crocodiles.

2. The skull’s head has teeth that have interlocking connections that can be good

for catching fish, while trolling in the deep oceans.

3. The hook-like claws would be ideal for catching slippery prey, in the water.

4. Big flat feet- bones that could have connecting skin, making them ‘webbed feet.’

5. Legs and pelvis were unlikely ‘built’ or connected to land animals, more likely

resembling water creatures.

6. It would be easier to carry their own weight in water, paddling around, than

on land.

Over one hundred years ago, a German paleontologist, Ernst Freiherr Stromer

von Reichenbach, found giant “Spinosaurus” fossils. He found them in the Sahara

Desert, where from current satellite’s far out in Space, can determine rivers existed.

Unfortunately, records on paper exist but the “Spino” bones were destroyed during

WWII. I would like to look at the river channels from Space. Wouldn’t you?

I think the greatest part of this story is, you may go to the National Geographic

Museum in Washington, D.C. There you can view the fossil bones structured into

what the researchers and scientists believe to be the ‘spino-saurus aegyptiacus’

in all of its marvelous glory. This is available for the public to see until 4/14/15.


Speaking of satellites and Space. . .

NASA’s Mars land rover discovered in 2012, rock-eating microbes. This Mars

rover named, “Curiosity,” had  new details released to the public recently.

It has reached the layered rock area known by scientists as Mt. Sharp on Mars.

The exploring vehicle is getting a little rickety but had been able to begin

drilling into the rocky location. Samples may be soon analyzed by the unique

ability to transfer information back to Earth.  I am very interested in this

further details, since we still have hopes of finding a compatible environment

for human life to exist in the future.

On December 4, 2014- a new gumdrop shaped capsule known as, “Orion,”

will be launched 3600 miles  from Earth. This is four times farther than our

International Space Station and will ‘careen back’ into our atmosphere at the

incredible speed of 20,000 m.p.h. Why? Because this is testing the thermal

dynamics. This would be considered a possible future human (astronauts-

bearing) space ship. It looks like a huge coffee thermos to me, in its drawings.

If it ‘bears up’ in entering our atmosphere without burning up, this would be

a future manned flight that managed to have a strong protective shield. I am

always pleased when NASA is making progress in going farther into the unknown

in Space.


“A blade of grass is a commonplace on Earth,

it would be a miracle on Mars.

Our descendants on Mars will know the value

of a patch of green.

And if a blade of grass is priceless,

What is the value of a human being?”

Taken from, “Pale Blue Dot:  A Vision of the Human Future in Space,”

written by Carl Sagan.


28 responses »

  1. Sad about the turtles, and the demise of certain species. The space program has always fascinated me. However, I would never want to go if I have to leave earth’s atmosphere. I have problems simply flying in an airplane. 🙂

    • I don’t know if I could leave Planet Earth, either, April! I just have hopes for other generations, we have come so far… I am also sad about many animals who seem to have some kind of special traits. Which means they were meant to last yet somehow, we as humans don’t value their lives, until too late. I can totally understand fear of flying, April!

    • My heart is with the turtles, too, Luanne. I only had a poster quote about turtles, which is one I think I have used before: “Behold the turtle… He only makes progress by sticking his neck out!” It is like a Chinese cookie fortune or a Confucius saying!

    • I loved this comment, Beth! I was hard to ‘rein in’ and put a focus on this post! I got so excited! Glad you are a huge Carl Sagan fan, also fascinated by the creatures, too!

  2. It’s disturbing to contemplate how generations before us viewed animals as serving absolutely no purpose other than to serve some need of theirs: food, labor, adornment. Of course it is still this way in much of the world, I know, and I lean towards being anthropomorphic, but long may you live, dear Emerson!

    • I am so glad you labeled this habit I have, I forget it from time to time! Anthropomorphic, putting my own thoughts and labeling Emerson’s actions as if he were a human. I am writing this more for me, than you! Maybe I will remember it next time. Thanks for this!
      I am always appalled when I hear of cruel treatment. I am so glad Emerson made it to 100, although a few of my friends at work asked, “Why did Texas give him away?” (I am not sure if it was the Houston or Dallas Zoo either.) I do eat meat, feel guilty for the killing of animals and their suffering close quarters. I try to buy free range animals, hoping that their death was quick and painless….

    • I am not sure why my reader is not always getting all my blogs I follow? Sometimes, I just need reminders, like when someone presses ‘like’ or comments. So glad you liked Carl Sagan, along with this post, Dan!

      • No problem, Dan. I tend to go in ‘spurts’ mainly on weekends. I don’t have a computer, glad I don’t in some ways, so I can go to the library and when my ‘time is up,’ it is up! Smiles!

    • Thank you, Jill for loving the quote and feeling sad, along with me, over the loss of animals like the turtles. I wish that this were not true of so many animals, creatures, bugs and butterflies… I hear of extinction and the word makes me ‘cringe!’ My grandkids laughed on Sunday morning when I carried a spider out of my apt., down the hall and into the outdoors to ‘set it free.’ I have done this with crickets with my grandies following closely with me. I have heard crickets are ‘lucky’ on hearths, so I would hate to be the one who killed them, making my ‘hearth’ (apt.) unlucky! Smiles!

  3. What a marvellous posting Robin,
    I know, let’s get into our Spacesuits
    and leave orbit, it will be an exciting
    journey with pineapple fritters and
    chocolate bars, a candy moon, mars
    bars and lots of juicy wine gums too.

    I am sure that we will have fun along
    the way and if you fancy a glimpse
    of Saturn and Venus then I will get
    those in view and let you take our
    ship closer than anyone else in the
    whole universe 🙂

    Yes of course we are taking our swim
    suits, there are red sands on Mars, and
    golden paradises everywhere from our
    Earth to planets beyond the realms of
    imagination, so how about it, do you
    want to join me? 😉 🙂

    Yes I am crackers I know 🙂 lol

    Andro xxxx

    • I would definitely join you, will we have a gang along with us, I love the idea of parties in Space! The sweets and the wine may make me ‘woozy’ but the oxygen in our space suit may make this balance out… Fun passages and you showed a lot of warmth and imagination. Thanks, Andro!

  4. Pale Blue Dot is an indispensable part of my essential bookshelf. Always wisdom to be found.

    So many of the preconceptions we had about dinosaurs when I was a kid have been turned on their end. I’m OK with that! I remember when we thought brontosaurus was a thing, and when we believed tyrannosaurus rex walked upright. (I also remember days before we called him T-Rex.)

    Driverless cars, Mars colonization, tasty fat-free ranch dressing … all is possible in the future with technology, isn’t it?

    • This was such a great combination of thoughts in this response, Eli! I thoroughly enjoyed the way you described your childhood perceptions and how we have come a long way from them. I admire that you have this very book on your essential bookshelf, too. Wonderful and amazing! Have a great day with unlimited possibilities!

    • Thanks to you both for finding my rather “scientific” post! I like to read and as if a student “give my report” (especially awhile back on posts). It took a lot of time and very few people commented. Your comment made my evening!
      Off to bed at midnight up at 5:45 am. If it is night, sleep tight. 🙂

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