One of the great things about working at Curiosity Advertising is the fact that each employee is given an extra day off each year. It’s called a “Curiosity Day,” and it encourages us to go out and explore, and to learn something different—something we are curious about. After nearly 20 years, I chose to go back to school for a day, by attending a graduate-level Paleontology lecture and lab at the University of Cincinnati. Here are 10 things I learned that I thought would be worth sharing:
- The University of Cincinnati’s Paleontology Department, which is par of their Geeology Department, in considered one of the top Paleontology programs in the nation. Why?
- Aside from the fantastic teaching staff, the Cincinnati area is home to on eof the planet’s richest and oldest exposed marien fossil bends with an age anywhere between 443 and 485 million years old—a full 250 million years before dinosaurs. But marine fossils in Cincinnait?
- Yes! Nearly half a billion years ago, Cincinnati was floating somewhere around the equator of the planet and occupied a tropical, shallow marine environment, teaming with cephalopods, brachiopods and the crowd favorite, trilobites. But what about the fish you ask?
- Sorry, no fishe were around back then, or anything with a backbone for that matter. A sea without fish?
- Yes, it’s true. In fact, the kind professor who allowed me to sit in class with his 13 graduate students was Professor David L. Meyer, the author of a book titled A Sea without Fish, which covers the amazing diversity of life that once swam, crawled and slithered beneath our feet.
- Modern and fossilized species of coral are Prof. Dave Meyer’s specialty. For over 37 years, he’s spend his career traveling the world visiting reefs, and finding connections between fossils and modern equivalents.
- Don’t think corals are exciting? Neither did I at first; however, under a microscope, they reveal some pretty amazing things, like a combination of annual and daily growth rings (similar to a tree). So what’s so exciting about these rings?
- Modern corals show what you would expect, 365 daily growth rings, corresponding with their daily growth cycle throughout the year. However, corals from the Ordovician sea of about 450 million years ago show around 400 daily growth rings!
- This data, along with a variety of other inputs from physics and planetary science, shows us that there were more days in a year back then—over 400—making the days about 21 hours long, versus the modern 24 hours. In fact, we know that as the moon travels farther away from Earth, the time to completely revolve once increases—small increments at a time—due to a weaker gravitational pull.
10. It’s never too late to learn something new, or pursue a passion. A simple Google search is all you need to start feeding your curiosity.
Thanks to both Curiosity and Professor Dave Meyer for a memorable curiosity day!