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Crocs for dinner. Whole ones.

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From Colombia, a snake story to remember:
clipped from www.npr.org
Artist's interpretation of how Titanoboa might have looked.Morning Edition, February 5, 2009 · The largest known snake that ever lived grew as long as a school bus, was 3 feet thick, weighed over a ton and ate crocodiles — presumably whole and al dente.

Not to worry: Titanoboa cerrejonensis lived 60 million years ago and is extinct. But for some 20 million years after the dinosaurs disappeared, this 42-foot serpent ruled the land.

Listen Now [3 min 56 sec] add to playlist

Titanoboa vertebra dwarfs an anaconda vertebra.A vertabra from the Titanoboa dwarfs that of an adult Green anaconda.

Cold-blooded animals such as snakes require warm climates to grow large. The Titanoboa’s size suggests that the average temperature once was considerably higher than it is now.

Python crawling over Titanoboa vertebra.Enlarge A live python crawls over the enormous vertebra of Titanoboa.

Head points out that a cold-blooded animal that big would have had to live in a very hot place to survive […] several degrees warmer than the [current] tropical average and […] warmer than scientists believed the tropics ever got […] even during ancient periods of greenhouse warming […]

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See the whole story at the NPR link.

Stands to reason, I suppose, that if global warming is happening anything like majority scientists believe it to be, reptiles in some parts of the world will grow larger again.

And then there’ll be snake stories to tell. Let’s see: what reptiles do you think would become huge first?


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Written by Monte

February 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

Shoot from stumps (sermon for Advent 2 A)

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Second Sunday of Advent: December 9, 2007
Matthew 3:1-12; Romans 15:4-13; Isaiah 11:1-10 Psalm 72:1-7,18-19

Silver mapleWe sang: Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus; I Waited; Open the Eyes of My Heart; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel; Open Our Eyes, Lord

Welcome

The sermon: I want to show you something about God that is built into creation. Towering over my house is a massive old silver maple.

In fact, it used to be literally “over” the house, till the tornado of ’98maple over garage took down a great branch. Leroy trimmed it up, now it looks like this (right) – you can see where the branch used to be.

If you look closer (below left), you’ll see something remarkable:

maple stub

Where it used to be a thick, strong, single stub, it’s now covered with new growth. In fact, the more you look at this tree, the more you see this has happened all over it.

We like big, strong trees, and Leroy tells me this isn’t a particularly good thing if you want trees like that. But regenerative growth like this is so built-in to the universe, that for centuries entire industriescoppice tree came from it. Read the rest of this entry »