“Across the sea of space,
the stars are other suns.”
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
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
“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.