Monday, March 28, 2016

OK, a funny.

Image: The Awkward Yeti
Tyrannosaurus rex was a huge meat-eating dinosaur, with thick, heavy skull and a 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) jaw, designed to crush bones.

Scientists think T. rex could eat up to 500 pounds (230 kg) of meat in one bite.

T. rex was not just huge and immensely powerful: s/he could outrun all but the fastest of today's marathoners. Results of several studies suggest that this ferocious predator could run 10 to 25 mph (17 to 40 km/h) in order to catch its dinner.

Catch being the key word here -- its tiny arms were unlikely to seize another animal, and they were too short to reach its mouth.

So T. rex had to catch prey — mainly herbivorous dinosaurs, but could include smaller tyrannosaurs — in its monster jaws. And apparently, it wasn't above scavenging when a carcass was available.

Coincidence?  The largest and most complete T. rex skeleton found to date was nicknamed Sue (after its discoverer, paleontologist Sue Hendrickson).

Sue and her fellow predators had arms about as long as a large human's but had 12 m (40 ft) high, 5,400 kg (11,900 lb) bodies, so the funnies are not exaggerating.

So what did this monster do with its really short forearms?

Scientists think T. rex could use the small but super strong arms to hold a struggling prey animal while killing the animal with what are thought to be the most powerful jaws of any terrestrial animal ever.

The arms might also have helped this giant killer get up from lying down after a nap.

They just weren't good for clapping.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seed predators break into and eat nutritious foods that others can't

It's not even spring yet, technically, in the northern hemisphere, yet flowers are already starting to blossom. To be followed by fruits. We spoke about leaf-eating (folivory) awhile back, and now for St. Patrick's Day, we'll resume our discussion of eating (green, unripe) seeds.

In an earlier post, we learned how seeds and nuts have particularly high nutritional content, and that they provide us with numerous health benefits, despite their high fat content. Plus they are yummy.

Did someone say Yummy?  Nuts and seeds have a "high fat content"?
Does this mean that sweetened waffles with flavored whipped cream can substitute?
Answer: No. Photo: BridgettBlough

Monday, March 7, 2016

Can music really help our workouts?

Greg Sample and Jennita Russo of Deyo Dances.
Credit: Barry Goyette-Wikimedia Commons

As New Year's resolutions start to fade, are you trying to motivate your tired self to get to the gym, track, or aerobics studio but not looking forward to it?

Wondering if some upbeat (or bad-ass) music will make that dreaded workout pass by more quickly?

Might listening to your favorite tunes help you overcome your frustration at feeling out of shape enough to go to the gym?

Curious whether tunes at a faster tempo could actually make you run faster?

If you answered Yes to any of these, you'd be right!