Z is for Zuul

Zuul crurivastator (Zuul, destroyer of shins), wikipedia.
Zuul, the Gatekeeper of Gozer, photo from collider.com.

Yes, Zuul from Ghostbusters. Zuul who inhabits Sigourney Weaver’s body in order to search for the Keymaster, schlubby Rick Moranis, so that their coupling will release the demon Gozer into the world. A nerdy fantasy written by nerds for nerds.

I was never a fan of the movie, but yesterday, when I was running down the list of which “Z” dinosaur would get the honor to front my very last post, and I said Zuul, my spouse immediately said Oh! The Gatekeeper of Gozer. Paleontologists, I suppose, are as nerdy as romance writers, medieval historians, and Hollywood directors, so, yes….

They did indeed name a dinosaur for Zuul.

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Y is for Yucatan

The Big One! Asteroid impact site in Chicxulub, Yucatan. Graphic from Atlantic.

BOOM! or maybe it was boom…boom…fshhhh..whap booma-booma…boom..bubble boom glub glub Boom…

Which was it? Luis Alvarez had one story, and he was laughed out of the paleontologist’s room. Until he wasn’t. Gerta Keller, who disagreed with him, has been laughed out of the same rooms. She’s won prizes for her research. Can they both be right?

There are multiple stories here. First, there is a story of a scientist who had a crazy idea and some data, which took decades for scientists to confirm. Then, there’s a second story, of a scientist still fighting for her own version, one which would upend those decades. Plus, there’s the underlying story, of what killed off all the dinosaurs. Between story one and story two, there’s still uncertainty about story three.

It’s been called “The Nastiest Feud in Science.” It’s still ongoing, even though now they do know where the asteroid hit. The crater is in the Yucatan.

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X is for X-Ray

Graphic by riddlez46.

Cutting-edge X-ray technology is providing researchers with unprecedented insights into the ancient world of dinosaurs. On World Dinosaur Day, scientists are unveiling the hidden secrets of the Harbury Ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that inhabited Earth millions of years ago, using advanced X-ray imaging techniques and 3D reconstruction.


They can X-Ray….

…hold on!!! World Dinosaur Day? Why have I never heard of World Dinosaur Day?!?!?!? I need to mark the calendar! I will be up in Oregon, but I will need to do something to celebrate World Dinosaur Day, June 1, 2024… stay tuned. Now, back to the blog…

They can X-ray 200 million year old fossils, oh yes they can. Those paleontologists are so darned clever!

Embryos with teeth. Blood vessels. Stomach contents. Identifying what the genus was from a jumbled mix of squished bones. Where the nostrils go! X-Rays, CT scanners, and particle accelerators are showing scientists a whole new world inside tiny, eroded bits of rock.

Dinosaur embryos too small to un-fossil, from Earthsky.org.
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