Below a rock and a cold place
Tuesday February 21st 2012, 12:21 am
Filed under: Family,Life

I love this one. The picture of the little white flower on the plant looks so much like something you’d see growing around here; they did say it’s a very adaptable species.

Somewhere still in my brain is the formula for figuring out how old something is by the half life of the amount of carbon still left in it.

Thirty thousand years in carbon-dated rock sediment ago, a squirrel dug down and tucked away seeds and fruit in its burrow in Siberia. I love that they described the little den as the size of a soccer ball; when I was a kid, I had one of those hamster balls and the pet to match bumping into the furniture while I kept it away from the stairs.

I can just picture my own squirrels strutting around proudly, tails high, to say they always knew their work was important. See, there’s a reason they steal every apple from my two trees! Just helping future researchers do their work.

But I rather wondered if the original article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences actually mentioned soccer balls and put its measurements in the colloquial like that. The Washington Post doesn’t say the scientists sprouted a seed; it says they produced the fertile plant from the fruit, in ways the reporter didn’t try to describe.

I can just picture the reporter thumbing through their copy trying to figure out the jargon and how on earth to talk about it.

I’ve done likewise. The scientific articles presented in that top-rated journal are well beyond my expertise. They offer the culmination of many years’ studying and learning and hard work. Not to mention the joy of having discovered something new.

Which I know, because they also published our Sam.

6 Comments so far
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Isn’t it a sweet little bloom? I had very similar thoughts when I saw the story on the news…

Comment by Channon 02.21.12 @ 7:42 am

Life is persistent–and very patient. What a good example this little flower has set for us. I’m also glad to see that Sam posted again. After her last crisis post, I wanted to see a post that at least said, “I am still alive.”

Comment by LauraN 02.21.12 @ 9:19 am

I can tell from reading Sam’s words that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree — she has your gift with words!

Comment by Bev 02.21.12 @ 9:58 am

What an amazing discovery and success! And cute too! I found Sam’s piece on the PNAS site. I read it 3 times, but I just don’t have that vocabulary. Thank goodness she’s so good at writing for the rest of us, too.

Comment by DebbieR 02.21.12 @ 7:49 pm

I heard about this on the commute home. Fantastic to see the plant, and fantastic to think this may be the reason for a squirrel!

Comment by twinsetellen 02.21.12 @ 9:14 pm

Congratulations to Sam!!!
And Campion is one of my favorite flowering plants.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.22.12 @ 1:38 pm

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