Brothers from Anotha Taxa: How Much DNA do Humans Share with Dinosaurs?

Brothers from Anotha Taxa: How Much DNA do Humans Share with Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs were the most awesome things to ever stomp the earth. I bet every one of us has wished at least once to have seen an Apatosaurus or T-Rex in the flesh, that’s why Jurassic Park is still constantly on TV  22 years after its release. Last year, scientists activated some ancient dinosaur genes lying dormant in their most disappointing descendent – the chicken – causing them to take on some dinosaur-like attributes. Humans are not descendants of dinosaurs, but we do share some common ancestors. How much DNA could the square and lowly Homo sapiens have in common with the rockstars of terrestrial life?

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IT CAME FROM SPACE: Celestial Events and Terran Extinctions

Space is a hostile and chaotic place, and yet on our little rock, life – as Richard Attenborough famously said – finds a way. Unless a gentle shift in stellar fortune BRUTALLY DESTROYS IT.

We know about the threat of comets, aliens, the inevitable nova-ing of our star and the eventual heat death of the universe, but space also has some more subtle tricks…this post explores one of them.

Two million years ago a slightly underwhelming marine extinction event occurred: fossil evidence shows a mass death of molluscs and Plankton which is considered to be the marker between the  Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. What puzzled palaeontologists who studied this extinction was that it occurred in conjunction with a spike in levels of the iron isotope 60Fe in the sediments where these fossils were found. Were the extinction and the isotope related?

Phytoplankton By NOAA MESA Project (http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/fish1880.jpg [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Phytoplankton By NOAA MESA Project (http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/fish1880.jpg [1]), via Wikimedia Commons

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