Friday, January 23, 2004

Water has been discovered on Mars! This is truly one of the biggest breakthroughs in a long time. It is interesting to note that yahoo aren't reporting this and I heard it on the local radio.

Many thanks to my friends at Southern Cross for adding my link to their web page!

I started reading another different book - Time Traveller by Michael Novacek. It is a very interesting story about his life as a paleontologist. When he was in university he wanted to be a musician and he had a few scrapes growing his hair long and doing crazy gigs. Then he started going to the desert to look for fossil bones and got tied into that.

Contrary to what most people might think, he is not interested in dinosaurs, he is more interested in ancient mammals and their evolutionary process. A lot of quite unusual mammals appeared and then went extinct. For example the land whale. It had a whales body with legs and was probable amphibious. It is interesting to read the way biology / zoology is linked with geology. Bones are excessively used and at one point he spent 2 days writing about a tooth! In my time studying geology it was mostly chemistry I had to deal with, three way analysis and chemical evolution. He also explores the history of paleontology and some of the interesting characters from the past. It is humorous to note that one of his favourite places to collect fossils is a hill called 'Lomas Las Tetas de Cabra' - aka Hill of the Goats Teats! Imagine this in the scientific literature.

I don't think he finds dinosaurs boring it is just that dinosaur hunters are seen as being glamour seekers. I went to see a very interesting exhibition about Novacek in the Natural History Museum. I haven't reached the bit about dinosaurs yet. I think he has discovered some dinosaurs. He is about to go to Chile. Apologies for this more scientific blog, that's just the mood I'm in. Novacek's book is possible better than David Attenborough's.

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