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The article attributed to BBC News Online science editor Dr. David
Whitehouse seems to have a glaring oversight:
It says, "Measurements have been made on 100-million-year-old rock
samples...Researchers say that besides possibly giving T. rex a better
display of the Northern and Southern Lights..."
Did researchers really say that (about T. rex)? I didn't know T. rex was
that old! :)
Deductively (because of the T. rex reference), the author seems to be
presuming that the same magnetic intensity persisted at least through the
end of the Cretaceous ('T. rex time'), yet no evidence to that effect is
cited in the BBC News on-line article.
Thankfully, Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., adds time constraints in his
posting this morning: "Apparently preliminary data suggests that the Earth's
magnetic field during the Long Cretaceous Normal (C34n, running from the
lower Aptian (c. 120 Ma) to the beginning of the Campanian (c. 83.5 Ma)) was
three times the present intensity."
The Long Cretaceous Normal which Holtz mentions does not, to my
knowledge, include T. rex's time period. Someone please correct me if I'm
wrong on this.
Need the popular media be so sloppy as the BBC on-line article seems to
be? I can see no good reason for it.
"You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles." --
Sherlock Holmes in The Boscombe Valley Mystery