A New Spin
"I'm astounded by people who 'want' to know the universe
when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown."
-- Woody Allen
'What is this?'
-- The short answer:
Its an attempt to rationalize the existence of the giant dinosaurs
in the past, even though their past viability on earth is puzzling.
--The long answer:
The following is not meant to introduce yet another theory for the demise
of the dinosaurs. Rather, it explores the past basic physical
parameters of the earth (not necessarily its environmental condition) that could enable
animals, weighing some 100 ton, to thrive for millions of years. Inevitably,
it will lead to conclusions about the dinosaurs' ultimate end when these
parameters suddenly changed, but that aspect is only secondary to the more
fundamental question, namely: given their enormous size, what made it possible
for these creatures to live and function in the first place?
Not quite a "National Geographic" take
For the impatient:
Given what we know about the size and function of the various giant dinosaurs,
their existence in the past is far from trivial. Can an eight ton
predator -- twice as big as the African-Elephant -- stalk
and give chase to prey similar to how a lion or a tiger would?
(Apart from Jurassic Park III, that is.)
A simple analysis based on fundamental physics seems to suggest that nature sets a limit on
how big animals can grow and still remain viable on some hypothetically existing planet
of a given size; (where the animals maximum possible size is inversely
proportional to their planet size).
This in fact refers to the weight of a creature rather than its sheer size,
which leads to an inescapable conclusion that despite their size, the dinosaurs
must have weighed no more than the their function-corresponding animals alive today
(predators and plant-eaters).
From the three factors that determine the weight of an object, the only
one that realistically may have been different at the time of the dinosaurs,
is the speed of the earth's rotation. If we are to conclude that the earth
was indeed spinning faster at that time, it would have given rise to a higher
centrifugal force. This force, which opposes gravity, would cause these big animals
to weigh no more than what their big counterparts weigh today and everything would
'fall in place', so to speak (including 40 feet wingspan, cold blooded birds).
'What is next then?'
The following will attempt to prove that giant creatures of the dinosaurs
given size could not have existed and functioned on earth with some of its presently
physical parameters. A condition that could make it possible for them to exist,
will then be outlined and hypothetical events which could have changed these
parameters will be proposed. Last, but not least, a simple procedure that can
be carried out by an informed reader to either prove or disprovethe suggested
hypothesis, in part or in whole, will be described.
(See also under
why dinosaurs remained cold blooded and
how a bird, with 40 feet wingspan, could fly.)
bigger they are ...