Stories tagged amber

Why the "yee-haw," JGordon?

Man, I don't know. Because "dinosaur feathers" sounds lot like "horse feathers," and no one in the history of humanity has ever uttered "horse feathers" without also shouting "yee-haw" in the same five-minute window. And because dinosaurs and their feathers are exciting, so why not toss a little yee-haw in there.

It doesn't matter, really. What matters is that you check out all these cool images of Cretaceous period feathers preserved in amber.

Yee-haw.

Jan
08
2008

An alternate theory holds that dinosaurs died of embarrassment: A Fredrogersaurus, obviously wishing he were dead, extinct, or just anywhere but here.
An alternate theory holds that dinosaurs died of embarrassment: A Fredrogersaurus, obviously wishing he were dead, extinct, or just anywhere but here.Courtesy Elston

Biting insects spread all kinds of diseases. (You can learn all about this in the Science Museum’s newest exhibit, Disease Detectives.) Now a scientists thinks they may have also helped kill off the dinosaurs. George Poinar, a professor of zoology at Oregon State University, notes that many insects from dinosaur times have been preserved in amber. Many of them carry microbes that can cause malaria, dysentery and other illnesses. He speculates that these illnesses could have been the major cause of the dinosaurs’ long, slow demise. The asteroid impact / volcanic activity / climate change simply finished them off.

Poinar and his wife Roberta have published a book, What Bugged The Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease And Death In The Cretaceous. In it they also note that, late in the dinosaur era, flowering plants spread rapidly, helped along by newly-evolved insect pollinators. This sudden change in available food may have also played a hand in the dinos’ extinction.