Sunday, May 15, 2005

[geek] 30-second science blogging - something very right with Kansas...

...and I'm not referring to the far-right morons that are determined to turn Kansas' science curriculum into a religious text. What I'm referring to is one word: Niobrara. I wasn't familiar with it either (at least, not by name) until I read this piece (thanks, Hunter!). Short version: massive chalk bed teeming with evidence of Mesozoic sea organisms. Shorter version? Sea monsters. From the article:

"The predatory king of the Niobraran Sea was this fellow, Tylosaurus, a mosasaurid that reached lengths of up to 50 feet. It’s a giant, air-breathing reptile, and is probably most comparable to a killer whale.

I’ve only briefly visited modern Kansas, but the Kansas of my imagination is a fiercely exotic ocean, a warm and savage sea richer than any place still extant. Try mentioning the magic word “Niobrara” to a paleontologist, or any enthusiast familiar with Mesozoic reptiles…their eyes will light up as it conjures visions of the world of 85 million years ago, a world well documented in the incredible fossil beds of Kansas. It’s a powerful, evocative word that links us to a wealth of evidence and a complex, fascinating history."

Go. Read. Good stuff.


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