Endless mysteries lurk in the depths of space. To pare the list down to eight—now, there’s a challenge



Yüklə 500 b.
səhifə27/42
tarix17.08.2018
ölçüsü500 b.
#71523
1   ...   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   ...   42

Yet the mythology marches on.  It’s not only the Emperor in this parade who has no clothes; it’s the drum major and all the band players, too.  The media have joined in, tapping their bare feet to the drumbeat of the “natural selection” myth.  It’s enough to make the normal people wonder about their normality.

  • Yet the mythology marches on.  It’s not only the Emperor in this parade who has no clothes; it’s the drum major and all the band players, too.  The media have joined in, tapping their bare feet to the drumbeat of the “natural selection” myth.  It’s enough to make the normal people wonder about their normality.

  • Don’t worry.  If you find this bizarre, it’s because it is.  You’re normal.  It’s time for some letter-writing to expose the perpetrators (as if they have not already exposed themselves).  Let the rumbling of a thousand master composers like Beethoven rolling in their graves stir you to action until they rest in peace, or (shall we say), de-compose in peace.



Evolutionary paleontologists have a mystery on their hands: how did turtles in the act of mating become fossilized?

  • Evolutionary paleontologists have a mystery on their hands: how did turtles in the act of mating become fossilized?

  • Most of the news media are amusing themselves with prurient attention on turtle sex, using double entendres and French or Latin expressions to remind themselves that “turtles do it,” too: “Palaeontologists catch turtles in flagrante,” PhysOrg headlined, while Live Science put up in bold type, “Coitus Interruptus: Ancient Turtle Sex Fossilized” (we’ll spare our readers further titillating examples of sexting as news).



A more obvious question reporters seem to be skipping over is, how quickly would an animal have to be buried to be preserved in the sex act?  The BBC News article showed a photograph of the exquisite preservation of one of the pairs of fossils claimed to be 47 million years old.  About nine pairs have been found at the Messel Pit in Germany, most of them apparently in mating positions.

  • A more obvious question reporters seem to be skipping over is, how quickly would an animal have to be buried to be preserved in the sex act?  The BBC News article showed a photograph of the exquisite preservation of one of the pairs of fossils claimed to be 47 million years old.  About nine pairs have been found at the Messel Pit in Germany, most of them apparently in mating positions.



Evolutionary paleontologists were not without a turtle tale to tell.  The BBC News article told it this way:

  • Evolutionary paleontologists were not without a turtle tale to tell.  The BBC News article told it this way:

  • Researchers think the turtles had initiated sex in the surface waters of the lake that once existed on the site, and were then overcome as they sank through deeper layers made toxic by the release of volcanic gases.

  • The animals, still in embrace, were then buried in the lakebed sediments and locked away in geological time.



Notwithstanding the romantic visions in this tale, wouldn’t turtles drifting downward in a toxic lake have become separated?  Wouldn’t their bodies have decayed on the bottom before enough sediments could bury them?  Only Nature News mentioned reasons why this explanation makes little sense:

  • Notwithstanding the romantic visions in this tale, wouldn’t turtles drifting downward in a toxic lake have become separated?  Wouldn’t their bodies have decayed on the bottom before enough sediments could bury them?  Only Nature News mentioned reasons why this explanation makes little sense:

  • Edwin Cadena, a doctoral student in palaeontology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, agrees that the study shows “strong evidence to consider this the first case of coupling captured in the fossil record of vertebrates”. 



More controversial, he says, is the interpretation of what the Messel lake was like. The notion of a stratified lake works as an explanation for the turtles’ fate, Cadena says, “but not so well for other fossils found at Messel, for example bats or birds or even other small mammals”. If the upper layers of the lake were inhabitable, Cadena asks, then what caused the death of airborne and terrestrial animals? The turtles are just part of an ongoing fossil mystery.

  • More controversial, he says, is the interpretation of what the Messel lake was like. The notion of a stratified lake works as an explanation for the turtles’ fate, Cadena says, “but not so well for other fossils found at Messel, for example bats or birds or even other small mammals”. If the upper layers of the lake were inhabitable, Cadena asks, then what caused the death of airborne and terrestrial animals? The turtles are just part of an ongoing fossil mystery.



These specimens add to a long list of fossils showing nearly instantaneous burial: ichthyosaurs trapped while giving birth, fish caught while swallowing other fish, fish with undigested small fish in their stomachs.  How many seconds does turtle sex take?  Are we to believe they remained in mating posture long enough to sink to the bottom of a lake and wait to be buried, even if poisons in the water killed them on the way down? Wouldn’t Tom Turtle shout, “Gasp! I can’t breathe!” and disengage from Myrtle Turtle?  We can’t assume turtles would have the same priorities as humans.

  • These specimens add to a long list of fossils showing nearly instantaneous burial: ichthyosaurs trapped while giving birth, fish caught while swallowing other fish, fish with undigested small fish in their stomachs.  How many seconds does turtle sex take?  Are we to believe they remained in mating posture long enough to sink to the bottom of a lake and wait to be buried, even if poisons in the water killed them on the way down? Wouldn’t Tom Turtle shout, “Gasp! I can’t breathe!” and disengage from Myrtle Turtle?  We can’t assume turtles would have the same priorities as humans.




Yüklə 500 b.

Dostları ilə paylaş:
1   ...   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   ...   42




Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©muhaz.org 2022
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə