Check out this article on Sarah Palin. Speculative, anecdotal and ridiculous but I wouldn’t put it past her saying something like this.
“Palin said “she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,” recalled Munger”
Really? No…really? What pictures? Did she draw them with her crayons in grade 2? WHERE?! WHEN!? WHAT!? I’m hungry.
Most people in Australia would know of the Thylacinus cynocephalus, more commonly known as the Thylacine or the Tasmanian Tiger. For those of you that don’t know what the creature is let me give you a quick run down.
The Tasmanian Tiger is not a tiger at all, and despite its looks it isn’t a canine either. It was a marsupial predator that roamed Australia, and more recently, the small state in Australia, Tasmania. It bears a striking resemblance to a common dog and is defined by its tiger like stripes on its back towards its hind legs that continue down its long tail.
The last Tazzy Tiger died in 1936 in captivity.
Well, the ol’ taz tiger may be set to walk the forests of Australia once again with new advancements in cloning technology. Dr Andrew Pask and Professor Marilyn Renfree from the University of Melbourne have managed to insert a Thylacine gene into a mouse embryo. The gene used was the proα1(II) collagen (Col2a1) gene which controls the growth of bone and cartilage. The embryo continued to grow with the gene in place so that is definately good news for extinct species.
However, this doesn’t mean that the whole creature can be resurrected and there is still a lot more work to be done before that can be achieved. Even though it may never happen, damn its fun to think about. Dinosaur cloning is probably out of the question but if the technology is developed then you can be sure it will be possible to see Mammoths and other extinct mammals in reserves and parks (à la Jurassic Park). That would kick ass!
Check out these links.
The Research Article http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002240
You stand on an expansive open prairie knee deep in strange fern like plants. Their rubbery branches brush against your legs as the warm breeze washes over you. You look out towards the towering mountains, covered in conifer trees. You hear a strange noise from there. Like a loud moan of a dying cow and you wonder what it could be. In fact, you wonder where you are also, this land seems different, like nothing you have ever seen.
You hear a faint rumbling coming from behind you and you turn to see what it is. There is nothing there. The rumbling gives way to a dull roar, and then the earth beneath you really starts to pulsate. From behind a copse of conifer trees comes a huge long necked quadrupedal creature, and as it extends from behind the trees you see that it is almost sixty meters in length. This creature is massive and it is not alone. A whole herd of these beasts lumbers around the bend. These creatures are called Amphicoelias. Close relatives of Diplodocus but almost twice the length.
As these massive creatures casually stroll past, you now manage to grasp the immense size of these monstrosities. It’s nearly the length of a Boeing 747!
Well in case you couldn’t guess you are now standing in the late Jurassic, 150 million years ago. These animals were the largest land animals to ever exist and maybe the largest animals to exist in the future. To get to this point try and imagine the amount of different animals that have been and gone with the final culmination being a creature of such colossal size that it is almost the size of a 747 Jumbo jet.
Lets also think about how many other dinosaurs and other animals there were even before this time slot of a 150 million years ago and lets think about how many have existed since then! I wanted to write this article because I want to try and convey how lucky we are that we even exist, how lucky we are that we have had such a rich and diverse Earth history.
We don’t need magical stories from old books to give us awe in the world and to make us excited of our existence. All we need to do is look back and be humbled by what we see. Our existence is such a small dot in the evolutionary time line of Earth and the universe and it is wonderful that we are alive today to look back on it. If you are interested in looking back at the worlds evolutionary history and getting a grasp of the vast amount of time it has taken to get to us, check out The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. This book will truly enrich anyone’s understanding of the world we live in. It certainly opened my mind to how big the world is and how little we actually know about it.