It occurred to me that non-scientists often don’t hear about some of the newest discoveries until months after the work is completed, perhaps when the media starts picking up on it. Even for scientists, finding the important work outside one’s field can be challenging.
So I thought I would share a new study that’s been circulating among the scientists I know. It’s multi-disciplinary research that demonstrates the power of comparing historical climate records against cultural literature to learn about paleoecology.
The data shows that decreased temperatures at the onset of the Little Ice Age were associated with a period known as The Great Sleep, during which certain cold-blooded animals tended toward hibernation. The literature documents periodic awakenings of these fire-breathing species during the Little Ice Age that were seldom enough to relegate the existence of these animals to fiction over time.
However, the literature has alluded to these species with increasing frequency toward modern times and the authors suggest their widespread reappearance will be aided by modern conditions. Global warming has created a more hospitable environment for these reptiles to come out of hibernation.Further, the recent economic recession has led to an increase in the search for buried treasure, which may act to disturb the animals from their dens of hibernation. The authors suggest the recent reintroduction of knighthoods in Australia will provide a stable food supply which encourages breeding as hibernation ends.
There is certainly more room for research in this area, but the authors predict a Third Stir of these creatures is imminent and suggest such preparations as avoiding honorific titles and investing in fireproof protective wear. They also include the figure below of one such specimen for identification purposes.
This is the kind of hard-hitting science which is important to the public, but often goes ignored while the latest fashion trends clog the headlines. I hope this post has encouraged you to continue reading scientific literature at its source, in scientific journals.
Check here for even more cutting-edge science coming out this week.