Friday, December 19, 2008

Stuff

The semester is over. Very nice to get that out of the way. Next semester will be hard too, but at least the language of law won't be brand new to me. I have an idea of what to expect.
We've been trying to get money from an old health insurance company for months. They keep on sending us lame excuses for why they won't pay us. I finally sent them a long angry letter (instead of polite phone calls and letters) and yesterday we got a check! It feels good to stick it to the man and win, that man being health insurance companies, or, in other words, the devil.
And, on an entirely random tangent, the coolest thing about dinosaurs is that they're not actually extinct. I'm not talking about the Loch Ness monster. I'm talking about birds. I grew up hearing that the dinosaurs were extinct, but it's not really true. Of course every species of dinosaur that was around 65 million years ago (and, for that matter, every genus) is gone. But we're continually learning more and more about dinosaurs, and the more we find out about them, the more we are able to establish a direct link between them and birds. An article I found today is a good example of some of the similarities. My reptiles professor at BYU considered birds just another type of reptile. So next time you see a bird, just think of it as being a modified dinosaur. Because it is.
For more info on the ancestors of birds, google "bird dinosaurs," or just click here.

3 comments:

Mommy Bee said...

How about alligators? or ceolacanths (sp)? or turtles? Most reptiles and fish continue to grow for as long as they live. Theoretically, if men were living 900 years, might not other animals have lived longer too? And if they did, certain of them would have become enormous--ie, dinosaurs. There are 'smaller versions' of MANY dinosaurs living all over the planet today. I think it's likely the same animals, just with shortened lifespans.
(and with the coelacanth, or however it's spelled, he's a funky fish that was considered extinct until they pulled one up--alive and wiggling--off the coast of Africa 50 years ago. As a biologist though I'm sure you know that story.) ;)

Tim said...

Dinosaurs are quite different from other living reptiles (except for birds and crocodilians). The difference isn't just size. There are serious differences in the bone structures, and most modern reptiles don't run around in groups like many dinosaurs seemed to do.
Turtles have been around for a long time. At least 220 million years. The turtles back then were not dinosaurs any more than the ones today are. They are distinctly different. A lizard-like reptile called the tuatara has been around for about 220 million years too.
Now, when I say "has been around," I don't mean the same species of animals were around. The turtles and tuataras that lived 220 million years ago were so different from the ones living today that breeding between the two would be impossible (their bone structures show that they are clearly related, but the bone structure also shows that they are not the same species or even genus, and so breeding would impossible).
Also, google coelacanth and see what wikipedia has to say about it. The one that existed millions of years ago is extinct. The one that exists now is a relative--yet again, a different species and even a different genus. Again, there are clear differences in the bone structure.
To put it into more familiar terms, the one that exists now is to the ancient fossil one like a mountain lion is to a dog. Similar, yes (both cats and dogs belong to the same class, and actually have a lot in common) but obviously quite different.

Tim said...

Evolutionary science is good, strong science. Any serious biology program teaches it. My biology major, at BYU, required a class in evolution and several other classes I took were based on evolutionary lineages (for examples, a mammals class, where we studied the first mammals, that for some strange reason looked a lot like reptiles...)
I think a lot of religious people feel threatened by it. I grew up believing it to be false. I had a science teacher my senior year in high school who was also an LDS bishop. Excellent teacher, and a BYU graduate. He told us he had no problem with evolution--that he accepted it, and that it wasn't a threat to his faith. That's also how BYU was. Mostly LDS professors, all teaching evolution as fact, and none of them had problems with it.
There's a lot I don't know about biology; there's a lot I don't know about God. I don't know how the two connect, but I'm content with learning what I can about both of them (and, seriously, there's a lot of learning to be done) I know that things will be revealed to me in the next life, but I don't think God wants us to wait until then to start learning.