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4/1999 Dicover Mag



All:

    Two miscellaneous notes from April 1999 Discover magazine (The one with
the Woolly Mammoth on the cover).

        1)    Two scientists from Sandia National Labs have suggested that
the asteroid that smacked into the Caribbean may have kicked up billions of
tons of debris into orbit - leaving the Earth with a Saturn-like ring.  It
would have taken a hundred thousand years to form, and would have lasted 2-3
million years.

                They made computer simulations that showed the ring would
have cast a deep shadow on the ground - like a total solar eclipse.  The
size and location of the shadow would have varied with the seasons.  The
biggest shadow would have been more than 650 miles wide, and would have
fallen in the Northern Hemisphere on December 21 (This would darken Mexico,
the Caribbean, and the Sahara desert areas).   The shadow would cover the
Southern Hemisphere at its maximum on June 21.

                They report that it would have turned warm tropical rain
forests into colder, temperate regions - putting a huge amount of stress on
life - which would then need to adapt to the shadow, then re-adapt when the
shadow left.

        Just another example of how dangerous them falling rocks is!!!

        2)    Biologists at the University of California at Irvine glued
white feathers to the head of male zebra finches, which the females seem to
find irresitable.  This suggests that the prediliction for crests may be
hardwired into the avian central nervous system.

        Think about what this might imply about non-avian dinosaur
crests....


            Allan Edels