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Re: Earths Axis

> Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 18:38:29 -0400
> From: tlcomp@iu.net (Timothy C. Loss)
> To: dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu
> Subject: Earths Axis
> Message-ID: <199506302246.SAA10589@bb.iu.net>
> I too had struck on the idea that a simple change in the tilt of the earths
> axis would completely change the problem of long nights for polar
> dinosaurs. But alas, when I counsulted my oracle (Ralph Molnar), not only
> had he thought of the same idea earlier, he had also found out why it is
> impossible.
> Doesn't the earth "wobble" ? and Is there any proof that the moon has always 
> (4.5BY) been with us? Might it not have joined us say 250MY ago thus 
> mofifying the earths wobble and allowing life to move onto the land? Perhaps 
> the wobble had a different period then, that could account for times of very 
> cold alaskan winters and periods of warmer climes? Are dinosaurs found 
> continuously through time in alaska, or are they stratified periodically? 
> that are there gaps in time between the various finds of dinos in alaska 
> that might suggest this possibility?
> Timothy C. Loss
> timothy@tlcomp.iu.net

There is fossil evidence that the moon has been around longer than the
dinosaurs. Daily growth rings on now-extinct 400MY-old ruggose corral
indicate a year with about 400 days. That means the rotation of the
earth has slowed about 8% or 9% since then. It's very difficult to find
a mechanism for the earth's rotation to have slowed that much WITHOUT
the moon in place. WITH the moon in place, an exchange of angular
momentum would account for the difference very nicely.

In fact, the effect is observed by astronomers. The moon is currently
moving away from the earth. As it does, it takes angular momentum with
it. Consequently, the earth's rotation is slowing down.

This doesn't bear directly on dinosuars, but I thought it was an
interesting tidbit bearing on a specific question...

Andrew Robinson