A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The famous Huttonian Transition re-examined.....

Geologically, the much-studied Huttonian Transition (dated approximately 82 BBC) remains highly controversial and open to many mis-interpretations. Recent work focusing on the Portland Place Fault Line indicates a rapid change of climate (though opinions differ), possibly related to over-heated carbon dioxide emissions, or to the effects of the dramatic and unexpected Huttonian asteroid catastrophe. Others favour a cold snap.

We know that the Prime Waffle (Homo sapiens blairensis) survived the Transition, developing a grin as wide as that recorded for the Smiling Tiger (Panthera tigris felix), as did the Lesser Hoon (Homo sapiens hoonensis) and the Scarlett Jic (Homo sapiens cardinalis or jicensis). One particularly aggressive predator, Homo sapiens primo-adviserensis or adverserensis, became rampant, feeding off a range of weakened prey, such as the Can't Copepods (very much lower-level plankton). This fierce animal could stun simply by grimacing grimly or by ejecting random missives. It eventually retired to gnaw over old bones in caves.

By contrast, a whole group of species belonging to the Family Loquaxiae (Class: Chattering Animals) became nearly extinct (as reported for the perturbed beds discovered at various locations across North London, primarily beneath Islington wine bars). This was especially so for the sinister group of such species, various of which appear to have leaned to the extreme left, even when they shouldn't. Others were just too right on, Carbon PC analysis has revealed. Remarkably, specimens indicate that some of these animals must have continued chattering to the bitter end, even as they were frozen out.

One unique fossil, however, remains to be identified; this was found in a special volcanic dyke buried with the skeletons of thousands of Reporting Birds (Ciconia shorthandia) (related to Secretary Birds) underneath Portland Place.

Lastly, a group of ephemeral taxa blasted themselves out of existence, as exemplified by the Shouting Howard (Gran bestiensis howardensis) and the Giggling Boris (Gran bestiensis borisone etoniensis). The former proved to be totally conservative and non-adaptive (it could only hurrumph in one key), while the latter remained but a spectator. Even more ephemeral, assorted socialist taxa related to the Tearstained Tribune (Sinister extremis novae-statesmani) just moaned and groaned as usual.

Top-up studies are now needed to see how evolution progressed as the Earth moved into the later WMD Transition (83 BBC). Deposits in Iraq might prove infertile hunting grounds for geologists. Yet, you never know what you can find in a hole.

Philip, Department of Political Geology, University of Life, London. A model of London in 82 BBC is currently under construction for 'Blue Peter'.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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