And an umbrella!

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For some reason, I’m reminded of a news item making the rounds. Emerging fossil evidence suggests that many dinosaurs had feathers, perhaps even most or all of them. This makes sense to me. Well within my lifetime, the idea that dinosaurs more closely resembled birds than lizards first gained public attention. It took years for this dramatic shift in perception to be generally accepted, but I thought it made a lot of sense the first time I heard it laid out. It didn’t make the idea of dinosaurs less terrifying, either. If you were a bug, which would you rather cope with, a sleepy anole on a limb over there, or a voracious hen rampaging around the barnyard? Anyway, I’ve wondered since if maybe dinosaurs didn’t have feathers, and now it seems maybe they did.

65 responses to “And an umbrella!”

  1. I had not heard of dinosaurs having feathers. I’m not really sure if I care either. I guess it just shows that world has always changed, despite mankind’s attempts to mess it up.

    Birds are somewhat like background noise. However when you take time to observe them, it can be quite fascinating.

  2. GR6: WTSHTF – am I correct that this acronym is referring to a time at which the excrement strikes the ventilating device?

  3. Good morning, Villagers! I read a book called The Hot Blooded Dinosaurs when I was just a kid, so I am on the page. I doubt that feathers would improve a T.rex, but what are feathers but modified scales anyhow?

  4. Relax, everyone. I recall hearing at the time that the movie “Airplane” was made that it was just modeling clay with chopped walnuts in it. Although come to think of it, that sounds almost as bad.

  5. If chocolate was a vitamin, I would take the calorie-free supplement. Kind of like I take fish-oil capsules, get the benefits without eating nasssty fisssh.

    Heh, once again, my one hearty out-loud laugh today was aqt the vintage “Peanuts” 😀

  6. What also fascinates me is that we’ll never know what colors dinosaurs were. Think about our birds (and reptiles, for that matter). The color combinations are phenomenal. So why would we assume that dinosaurs are murky gray/brown?

  7. Bonnie, right! Look at today’s lizards and birds. Although, I’m sure Debbe doesn’t want to think about a broodhouse full of Archaeopteryx.

  8. Caution: “On-topic” comment follows…

    A show of hands, please…

    Who thinks that (as apparently do most of the Darksidians) the 7-28-14 and 7-29-14 A&J cartoons are just about tomato sandwiches?

    Who thinks they are about Meg and Arlo bonding?

    And who thinks they are about both, because Jimmy is really good at the whole “multi-level meaning” thing?

  9. I prefer feathers to guns but, I suggest if you are accosted in a parking lot throw up your hands, yell “don’t shoot” as loud as possible and run. If I am going to be shot I want witnesses around and, as the videos prove, a punk can’t hit someone standing right in front of him.

  10. If your armed assailant is right handed, run away at an angle to his right side, rather than directly away from him. It’s harder to hit a crossing target, especially when it’s moving away from your dominant side. Ask any skeet shooter.

    As my SWAT ninja says, “Cheat.”

  11. Charlotte, I think Meg has the potential to develop into the most interesting of an already interesting group of A&J characters. Just look at her role models. 🙂

  12. I suppose we’ll just have to wait until the successful completion of Operation Universalstudiosaur, the secret dinosaur DNA recovery/cloning project, and see what color they are.

  13. GR, I’m definitely raising my hand for both bonding and sandwiches.
    CXP, I AM glad I asked; thank you. Now I admit that I not only collect stamps, which is fairly “normal” although not so common anymore, but I also have a very large collection of all kinds of bells, some of them purchased on eBay.

  14. I just posted this in response to gun talk, at the end of yesterday’s posts. It belongs here.
    emb 29 Jul 2014 2:00 pm #??.

    Speaking of guns, Brooke is dragging things out again in 9CL. Remarkable what his double agent can do with a pistol at great distances.

    Reminds me of a film clip I saw at an ’80s lecture about portrayal of women in films. This [police? no uniform] gal, has just seen a boy kidnapped and the villains are driving off. With her pistol, bang 3x, she kills all 3 and the boy is unharmed. Sure.

  15. NK: Glad to know of another philatelist here! I’ve been collecting for >2/3 century and into certain postmarks for >1/2 century…time flies when you’re having fun, I s’pose. If nothing else, philately has a way of keeping the mind active as well as educating the collector in so many aspects of the various world cultures. True, those tidbits of information may not often arise in conversation – when was the last time you heard folks speaking of “trangka” or of the derivation of “Skanderbeg”? – but they always satisfy the inquiring mind.

    At the risk of a verbal stoning: I dislike tomatoes except in pasta/pizza sauces & ketchup. On a sandwich, omit the B&L, leaving only the delicious, savory B!!
    This goes back to childhood in NY when we grew our own. One year, every one of the tomatoes tasted totally rotten to me. Were they? Probably not, or my parents would not have used them. Until that time, one of my favorite lunch dishes was sliced tomatoes smothered in chopped raw onions with salt, pepper, and a typical oil-and-vinegar dressing. That one year took tomatoes away from me.

  16. emb, the one in old movies that was always a real eye-roller for me was “pioneer woman closes eyes, points musket somewhere into the air and fires, hitting Indian on horseback at full gallop 50 yards away, flipping him backwards off his steed”. As I said last night, a firearm is not a magic wand.

    And as far as going up against a trained military sniper with a scoped bolt action rifle using a hand gun one has just picked up, at anything more than rock-throwing range…give me a break. SWAT ninja say, “The best use of a hand gun it to fight your way to where you can get your hands on a long gun.”

  17. CXP, no stoning, verbal or otherwise, but as a tomato grower (both heirlooms and hybrids) I am saddened that you don’t like fresh homegrown tomatoes. Neither of my daughters like fresh tomatoes, though both readily admit that homemade tomato sauce is yards above commercial sauce. We joke that they are adopted… A bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich (extra tomato) is my favorite summertime treat. At least my dog does like fresh tomatoes. Her favorite is a red cherry tomato, ‘Sweet 100.’ She only gets a few, for fear of what they might do to her digestion.
    I’m wondering about the sniper in 9CWL myself. Perhaps Martine would have some measure of success if she were in the various stages of undress that we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Distraction does sometimes reduce one’s effectiveness. She could move into effective pistol range. Of course, we already know that the sniper is not especially competent: 1) A good sniper would aim for center of mass, not the head 2) If he aimed for center of mass, he missed very badly. 3) If he aimed for Bill’s head, he still missed badly. A WWII sniper rifle should be able to hit a target much smaller than a head at any practical distance. Of course, Martine could throw the pistol and be just as effective as shooting it if the sniper is firing at any real distance, too.

  18. Darn, ce-p I was agreeing with you, there. And then you had to ruin it. 😛

    Ghost, I go to the pistol range at least once a month, and twice a year there is a place where they have one of those urban combat courses like in that Dirty Harry movie. I do pretty good on both, and if I can hit a three-inch bulls-eye at 50 yards, I’m not worrying about some thug at ten. And as for that cliche that women won’t shoot to kill a human attacker? Forget it.

  19. Good on you, Lily. You could be my poster girl on how to go about taking responsibility for your own safety. And I know of no one with a better reason to do so.

    And I concur. If I were a thug threatening a woman with great bodily harm, I would certainly never bet my life that a woman would not shoot to kill.

  20. Lilyb, we could do the J. Sprat thing: you take the L&T and I’ll take the B = nothing wasted.

    David/Austin: In 9CWL, if Martine were to shed some/all attire, I think she’d fog up the sniper’s scope even if beyond handgun range. It’d give her time to close the distance, perhaps.

  21. You folks are cruel. I truly miss fresh tomatoes but I just can’t bring myself to garden during severe droughts. What you find in the supermarkets are best saved for food fights and even the offerings at our local farmer’s market have been a disappointment this year.
    So I’ll have to stick with bacon and peanut butter sandwiches.

    re: 9CWL; Martine does like to shed her clothes, doesn’t she? I wondered early on how Brooke was going to go about drawing naked women (apparently his favorite subject (and for good reason)). I never suspected he would design a double agent with a penchant for exhibitionism.

  22. Why do I think the mystery sniper has something to do with Martine’s previous relationship with the other double agent who then showed up at military base with Bill’s former girl friend who is herself a spy/agent disguised as a sweet songstress?

    Heck, I think I lost myself there in that plot twist.

    This particular arc has taken so long I am lost in the plot and not sure it has a story board even?

    Love, Jackie Monies

  23. “I had not heard of dinosaurs having feathers. . . .. I guess it just shows that world has always changed, despite mankind’s attempts to mess it up.” and “Our science seems defined more by what it hasn’t yet discovered than by what it knows for sure. Much of what I was taught as a child has since been proven wrong.” Subscriptions to “Nat’l. Geographic”, “Smithsonian”, “Natural History”, or “Scientific American” are good sources of relatively up to date info on such developments.

    We’ve known about the feathers for a decade or two. I think some organic molecules found in soft-parts-preserving fossils, esp. near Liaoning, China, suggest color in feathers and perhaps bare skin. The world has “changed, despite mankind’s” messing it up, but the changes we are talking about occurred > 65 MYA. Science “defined > by what it hasn’t yet discovered > by what it knows for sure” describes science as it has always been, though some have foolishly announced [some > 110 YA] that we know just about everything now, except for filling in details.

    “[W]hat it knows for sure”: Good scientists know we know nothing significant for sure. Everything is subject to revision or rejection subject to future SCIENTIFIC evidence. I stress that, because most of the claims / the inadequacy of scientific findings and theories are based on notions that cannot be examined scientifically, and therefore are not suitable for teaching in public schools.

    “Much of what I was taught as a child has since been proven wrong.” Heck, some of what I have taught as a prof has been proven wrong, much of it to my delight. Peace, emb.

  24. “Some researchers also now think that many dinosaurs were warm blooded.” That showed up while I was typing the last ‘lesson’. First articles suggesting and supporting this came out in the early ’80s in professional journals, and have been in good biology texts since the ’90s. There is still controversy / the details. The details, BTW, include some dinos possessing air-sac/one-way breathing systems like those used by birds. Birds get about 40-50% more O2 per breathing cycle than we mammals do. A web search might yield details. No quiz.

  25. @emb-
    Ain’t science grand! I love working where actual discoveries are made and the bounds of what we know are challenged. My field is materials research – high-temp superconductors, nanocomposites, 3D printing – but paleontology and archaeology have always been fascinations of mine.

  26. I prefer learning about chemistry and physics to paleontology and archaeology. The former two have the advantage of replicable experiments to test hypotheses. The latter involve a lot of carefully constructed chains of educated guesses… they may be spot on, but skeptic that I am, I have decided to withhold judgment on their accuracy.

  27. When I was a young lad reading a science fiction story, a sentence beginning “My field is materials research – high-temp superconductors, nanocomposites, 3D printing…” would have made me think, “Wow, this writer sure is good about coming up with scientifical-sounding mumbo-jumbo, isn’t he?” 🙂

  28. I love biology. When you don’t understand something, you can study it and even cut it up to see what makes it tick. I like paleontology and archaeology. they are like giant whodunit-puzzle combination, and biology is at the root of it all. I hate physics and math. That is what seems like made-up stuff to me. This guy who was chatting me up in college was trying to tell me about topology. “You mean,” I said, you can take something, twist it, stretch it, whatever, and still can tell something about it? Baloney.” He looked at me like I had just grown a third eye.

  29. Archeology has always held a fascination for me. One of the things I longed to do was pay about $5,000 to I believe it was Smithsonian travel department to let me go on a dig and sweat and sift dirt and trowel in some forsaken, rocky land. I mean seriously, I wanted to do this and you PAID them to let you work, no college credit, just work.

    The closest I got to doing an archeological dig was my grandmother’s water cistern which was huge, buried full of dirt we removed and by the time we got to bottom found an antique car! I stuck a shovel in and then a post hole digger and came up with a rare bottle. I was hooked!

    By the time we got about 12 feet down and 25 feet wide, we had found a ton of history in trash and the house was sliding into the hole according to grandmother. She made us back fill it and wouldn’t tell us where any more trash heaps were.

  30. Trucker: “paleontology and archaeology . . . involve a lot of carefully constructed chains of educated guesses… they may be spot on, but skeptic that I am, I have decided to withhold judgment on their accuracy.”

    They also involve confirmation by independent lines of evidence. E.g., paleontologists debated which of two groups of terrestrial mammals gave rise to the amphibious ancestors of whales in the Eocene. The majority [a minority would have been ok] favored early artiodactyls [even-toed, mostly hoofed mammals, which later gave rise to pigs, deer, hippos, cattle, goats, etc.]. The discovery of an Eocene amphibious critter with the unique artiodactyl ‘double necked’ astragulus, confirmed that theory, but from the same sort of evidence. An independent line of evidence, DNA analysis, shows extant whale DNA to be most similar to extant artiodactyl DNA. That’s as good science of the natural world as it gets.

    Do you also “withhold judgment” on cosmology, the birth and death of stars, curvature of space by gravity, radioactive dating, and such? All of these depend on equally remote data, mostly not subject to experimentation, but often verifiable by independent lines of investigation. Are astronomers justified in concluding that Algol, usually the second brightest star in Perseus, is an eclipsing variable, comprising two close stars revolving rapidly around a common center of gravity, but too far away to resolve [so far] with a telescope? They do it on the basis of light curves and spectra only; we certainly cannot experiment with a pair of distant stars.

    Rick: What should I have left out? Polonius’s “Brevity is the soul of wit”, BTW, is Shakespearian irony. Polonius himself was verbose, and that quote is part of a wordy speech. Peace, emb

  31. Jackie: backyard archaeology. At the east side of Philly, near Independence Hall, a house of Ben Franklin’s is preserved. They’ve done backyard arch. there, below the former biffies. After decades of non-use, all the objectionable organic material is gone. Non-recyclable junk, e.g., broken pottery and such, was simply tossed into the biff. It now helps reconstruct the home life of our colonial ancestors. Neat.

  32. The Nile empties into the Mediterranean, which was inhabited by whales and dolphins. I suspect they sometimes beached on the land, as whales sometimes do today. I’ve not seen any Egyptian depictions of whales. Maybe a search . . ..

  33. I think we are going to Philadelphia soon and I will look for the backyard archaeology. In case anyone thinks we were little kids in that cistern, we were actually grown and I collected antique bottles at the time, so that was what got me started. We began to dig and never actually completely emptied the cistern but it was huge, brick walls and then filled in with about 100 years of trash.

    Among the things I learned were what patent medicines, condiments, oysters, olives and other delicacies were eaten and came in jars. The metals all rotted away mostly but we found lots of glass and pottery. You would not have thought so many foods were eaten in a remote plantation in Louisiana by our ancestors.

    My grandmother knew/suspected where the old outhouses had been but wouldn’t tell me by then!

  34. Trapper Jean, good for you! Now I’m going to look at the dinosaur photo — have seen it mentioned online, and have been curious to see what the fuss is about.

  35. Jean dear, one man who saw the “dead dino” picture said “I don’t care who he is, he should not have shot that animal”? A woman called him “ANIMAL KILLER”? Who ARE these people?

    I fear for the future.

  36. emb: Yep, I’ll withhold judgment on parts of cosmology where the experts’ opinions aren’t the same as they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago. And I’m prepared to junk all of them should someone come up with ways of exploring the universe to test those opinions in ways we can’t imagine today. I like being surprised!

    Here’s a lovely article by someone much smarter than I:

    My favorite line in that article: “Science can be as dogmatic as religious orthodoxy, and the scientific community also can be overly protective of its own ‘holy relic’, the status quo. Ironically, science is supposed to dispel dogma, but examples of persecution by the scientific ‘Inquisition’ abound.”

  37. Just read that when all of the world trade center debris was removed they then found the remains of an old sailing ship under the building. Sounds like a Clive Cussler novel, but it’s apparently true.

  38. Good morning Villagers…

    There are days I wake up feeling like an old dinosaur…

    …and Mark, you’re right, and I had to look that word up 🙂

    Yesterday was interesting….in prepping for the removal of the hens, they have been dissected for samples of meat to make sure they are chemical free. Then yesterday, a young, and cute, rep from the Corp came in to take blood samples from the hens. I asked if I could watch as I watched the dissection ( I was shown the whole egg making canal).

    He grabbed a hen, felt around her breast plate where the V is, inserted a syringe into her heart and withdrew blood, then he added “hoping we don’t kill her”. After he left, I checked the front eggs and found a couple of warm blooded dead hens in the front cages. Alas.

    The reason they draw blood from the heart is that in chickens, blood coagulates at a much faster rate than in other animals.

    Have a good breakfast….


    GR 😉 Jimmy was doing both.

    Also found out from another rep yesterday, they are dog food bound, so when you’re buying your Kibble-n-Bits…think of my girls

  39. I read an article in National Lampoon about the light opera companies dinosaurs organized and am really curious what dinosaurs sounded like, like proto-bird chirping ?

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