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Of dinosaurs & other primeval big beasties [[+ Pterosaur bk]



Forwarded by:
Terry W. Colvin <colvint@cc.ims.disa.mil>       Voice: [520]538-5392
U.S. Message Text Formatting (USMTF) Program      FAX: [520]538-5435
Air Tasking Orders [Desert Storm I]               DSN: 879-5392
Fort Huachuca (Cochise County), Arizona USA
"No editor ever likes the way a story tastes unless he pees
in it first." -Mark Twain




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Subject: Of dinosaurs and other primeval big beasties
Author:  Terry Colvin at FHU2
Date:    11/6/1995 5:05 PM


Along with "Ye Real Reason Behynd Croppe Circles", and "How the Martian 
Pyramids are Fossil Sea Urchins", I have this pet theory of mine about 
brontosaurs, pterosaurs, and sundry gigantic primeval beasties.

Once upon a time, when I was wondering how in the dickens the south node 
of the moon could be moving at ten times the angular velocity of the 
north node in Thai astrology, this zany thought came to my brain, 
probably befuddled by too much Laphroaig or Talisker: what if the earth 
had rotated so fast that the centrifugal force had reduced the 
centripetal force to 0.5 g? Reaching for my faithful HP 41, rummaging 
through my thousands of books, some stacked three deep on their shelves, 
I eventually calculated: a 2-hour day. I might have stuffed up of 
course, by courtesy of those most excellent malt uisge beatha's. But the 
fundamental idea remains. And it is testable. If the huge size to which 
dinosaurs and assorted creepy-crawlies, and flyies (viz the 
Quetzalcoatlus, with a wing span of 12 m), if the huge sizes to which 
they grew had anything to do with the earth spinning like a mad top, 
then only those living near the equator would have benefited from the 
reduced gravitational pull. A statistical survey of the sizes of fossils 
could invalidate my zany theory. Hence it is falsifiable, hence worthy 
of consideration, placet Karl Popper!

To add insult to injury, to grind it in, to turn the knife in the 
wound, and to rub salt in it to boot, I beg to draw your attention to 
one Polynesian myth.

A long time ago the sun used to cross the heavens so fast that men could 
not tend their fields and fish their fill, so quick was the succession 
of nights and days. Maui, the trickster god, the cultural hero, ensnared 
the sun in his nets and commanded him to take it easy.

I did say "myth", didn't I? And yet, sometimes, I wonder.

And now, a shameless plug for "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 
Pterosaurs" by Dr Peter Wellnhofer, Crescent Books, New York, 1991. ISBN 
0-517-03701-7. I notice with much glee that "This book may not be sold 
outside the United States of America or Canada". So much for the 
diffusion of knowledge! (Sold it may not be, but *remaindered* it was, 
nyah nyah nyah!)