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RE: Dinosaurs in space?
I totally agree that stromatolites were probably our first fossilized
"astronauts". That thought had never occurred to me. But the only decent
chance of finding them would be on the moon. Gravity tends to pull most
debris toward the center of the solar system, so finding Mars rocks on Earth
is more likely than finding Earth rocks on Mars (the escape velocity factor
you mentioned would enhance this tendency further).
The most likely planets with Earth rocks would therefore be Venus and
Mercury, but their extreme environments aren't very conducive to rocks lying
around unchanged like they would on the Moon (which also has the advantage
of being so close to us).
However, the notion (mentioned in this report) that we might find
dinosaur bones on the Moon (especially with muscle and skin still attached)
is obviously absurd (but I wouldn't be as diplomatic as Horner was in how I
criticized it). But who knows, we might someday find some pulverized
dinosaur bone bits on the Moon. But with the greater amounts of
stromatolite bits (not to mention non-fossil rocks and dust from all over),
it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
By the way, if you found a bone "bit" the size of a tiny grain of sand,
would you be able to distinguish mammal bits from reptile bone bits (much
less narrow it down to dinosaurs)? How big would the bit have to be to
distinguish mammal bone from reptile bone? (I guess it would probably vary
among different bones of the body, and tooth bits might be better than most
Speculation is fun, but if this guy Shull thinks he is going to find
chunks of dinosaur thighs on the moon, he is in for a very rude awakening,
not to mention a lot of jokes about dinosaur moon steaks.
From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <email@example.com>
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Dinosaurs in space?
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 12:49:34 -0400
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of
> Me Again
> Well, it's been a while...
> I was surfing the net looking for info on Saturn, and came across
> this article on space.com Couldn't help but let you people look
> at it for kicks...
Actually, although it would take a proportionately more energetic impact to
send Terran fragments into space (because of Earth's larger escape
velocity), there is a VERY VERY good chance of some bits of home are
on the other terrestrial bodies. Of course, statstically the chances are
vastly against any dinosaur-bearing rocks, but chunks of (for example)
Proterozoic or Paleozoic limestone might be pretty darn good.
Stromatolites: Earth's first astronauts!
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796
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