Feathered Dinosaur Tail Discovered!

 

I can’t even remember what I was originally going to write about today. It doesn’t matter.

Why? Because all I can think about is this FEATHERY BABY DINOSAUR TAIL.

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image source: nationalgeographic.com

 

I just read this article:

First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber

Go check that out. Really, go read that article!

There’s an NPR article, too: Baby Dinosaur’s 99-Million-Year-Old Tail, Encased in Amber, Surfaces in Myanmar

I don’t know if I can express how excited I am about this.

The tail they found was curved, indicating it was definitely a dinosaur’s tail and not a bird’s, since the vertebrae in bird’s tails are fused, apparently.

It was the tail of a teeny little coelurosaur, and they named it EVA. Oh my goodness.

I really love dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies.

I don’t actually want them to clone them and reintroduce them to the world, to be clear, although I got a good laugh from the second comment on the NatGeo article:

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Learning more about them, though, and being able to see such incredible physical evidence of them, gets me very excited.

I have to be honest. If we did end up cloning dinosaurs, I can’t pretend I wouldn’t do just about anything to go see a live one. Even if it eventually killed me, it would quite possibly be worth it.

I cry every time I watch the triceratops scene in Jurassic Park.

Even though it’s a relatively old movie, considering how quickly movie technology advances, the animatronics have stood the test of time pretty well.

I mean, it’s not like watching the original Godzilla.

Okay, fine, here’s the movie trailer for the 1954 Godzilla film.

Dynamic violence!
Savage action!
Spectacular thrills!

There are an astounding number of amazing adjectives and most marvelous superlatives in that trailer!

And yet it falls a little short of thrilling me, whereas Jurassic Park has me on a rollercoaster of emotion every time I watch it.

Anyway, back to the real dinosaurs. The NPR article talks about the structure of the feathers in the discovered tail, and what it might indicate for the appearance of the feathers. This is quite cool:

“I think the fact that the finest branches, which could have harbored this bright iridescence, got established before we got very robust feathers — that could potentially lean toward this idea that feathers were mainly used to show off before they got used to fly with,” Vinther says.

“The fact that barbules might have originated earlier clearly show that some of these very bright colors, like this metallic iridescence, could have originated earlier,” he adds. “Perhaps a greater number of dinosaurs, and more primitive dinosaurs, could have been iridescent.”

And that means that feathered dinosaurs — even ones way back in evolutionary history — might have pranced around looking quite flamboyant.

Quite flamboyant. How fabulous is it to see dinosaurs described as prancing around looking quite flamboyant?

I hope this discovery helps us to get an even better idea of what these awesome creatures truly looked like in their lifetime. I’m loving the idea of peacockish iridescent raptors.

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image source: glitter-graphics.com

Not quite like that, but that’s still fun to look at.

It would probably look more like this:

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image source: terradaily.com

There’s an interesting article to go along with that photo, actually, if you’re interested: Evidence of iridescent feathers in a tree-hopping dino

If you haven’t already, I really recommend you click on the National Geographic and NPR articles and read through them instead of just taking my word for it. They’re worth the time.

Possibly the most exciting part of this news is that there may soon be more access to the area where this amber was found, and there’s a likelihood of more paleontological discoveries to be made in those amber mines.

Awesome.

Keep doing your thing, dino scientists! You’re making this lady very happy!

 


Sisterly bonding over literature and the Dread Pirate Roberts

 

Today is my sister’s birthday!

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Here we are three years ago, laughing at the fact that we unintentionally wore twin outfits on a day when we were seeing each other for the first time in probably months. (We are not twins. I am on the right, if you need help with that. Some people do.)

We had a good chat on the phone today while she opened up the gifts that I mailed her.

(It’s the birthdays and other special occasions that making living far apart a little harder. We manage, though.)

I got to put my crafty itch to good use by making her a necklace and earring set with turquoise beads from the local stone and bead store. (Turquoise is one of the December birth stones.)

Homemade jewelry usually seems to be a hit with family members. (I haven’t tried it with my dad, though.) Anything homemade is typically well-received. Plus, those kinds of gifts are fun to make.

In honor of my big sis, I started reading a book she’s been recommending to me for a while.

Okay, I actually just wanted some easy reading this morning. I bought the book a couple of weeks ago (ish) because I needed a fifth paperback to get the 5-for-$1 deal at the thrift store, and my sister had been talking it up for long enough that I decided it was worth 20 cents.

That came out sounding wrong, but it’s the truth.

What I’m reading is The Lightning Thief, the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.

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cover image courtesy of goodreads.com

One of the many things my sister and I have in common (not that we aren’t really quite different in numerous ways) is a love of young adult fiction  – especially fantasy. We just never grew out of it.

And there’s not a gosh darn thing wrong with that. Books for teens and so-called tweens can be every bit as good as books for adults. Some of my favorite authors, who are excellent writers, write mostly or all books for folks younger than themselves.

I had a bit of a rushed morning, so I haven’t made a great deal of progress in the book, but so far I’m enjoying it and eager to read more.

I’m a bit disappointed that there’s apparently only one film, but then again, I may not even want to read the other books when I’m done with this one.

Sometimes I need to remind myself not to put the cart in front of the horse.

I gave my sister a book for her birthday in addition to the jewelry, one that corresponds to another shared love – The Princess Bride!

At our charming local bookstore, I found a copy of As You Wish, which is sort of a behind-the-scenes tale of the production of the film The Princess Bride.

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Let’s just get a closer look at Cary Elwes in that costume, shall we?

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image source: imdb.com

All righty. I’m good.

Anyway…

The book looked like a lot of fun for someone who has probably seen the film at least as many times as I have, which is firmly in the double digits. Firmly.

Also, this is the same sister (I only have the one) who once gave me a gorgeous copy of the 25th anniversary edition of the book.

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image source: 4shadowsbooks.com

 

Given the evidence, this year’s gift of As You Wish seemed appropriate. I hope it’s good.

Even if it’s only mediocre, there are still pictures of a young, swashbuckling Cary Elwes inside it, and honestly, that’s probably enough.

So, Happy Birthday to my sister, and happy reading to all (and to all a good night).

 


Trying to Walk the Line

Blogging is a delicate balance for me, which is why I fall off the wagon so frequently and for so long.

I want to eventually be known as an author, and so I want to keep this blog somewhat professional.

I want to demonstrate who I am on a personal level, while keeping some things private.

I want to participate in political discussion, without being too radical or offensive.

I want to talk about what’s going on my life, without being boring, or again, getting too personal.

This is tricky!

That’s one of the reasons I talk about books and writing so often, and sometimes food, and for a while there, quite some time ago, I talked about running. (Now I focus more on walking than running.)

I don’t know how to fully be myself and yet be a moderate, buttoned-down version of myself that will be palatable to any future readers I might have, or agents who might want to see what I’m all about before taking the leap with a book of mine.

When things get a little overwhelming in my personal life, it’s almost impossible for me to compartmentalize enough to find anything at all to blog about that isn’t something I would feel uncomfortable sharing with the general public.

When I get in a low mood, I find it difficult to even write book reviews, because I tend to be more negative, and I really don’t want to do that when talking about someone else’s hard work – not in such a public space.

So, what does that leave? Blog posts about postage stamps and boot laces, apparently.

Sigh. I just don’t know. I’m trying.