Geckos lived 100 million years ago!
The Honolulu Lite Department of Geckos is giddy to announce that scientists from Oregon State University have discovered a 100-million-year-old fossil of a gecko, suspended in amber.
I am frankly astounded for a couple of reasons. One, that such a discovery should be made at Oregon State University is surprising. I graduated from OSU with a degree in Ballroom Dancing and Billiards. Had I known I could have gotten a Bachelor of Gecko Arts I would have changed majors. Secondly, it is astounding that "lamellae," or sticky toe hairs, can plainly been seen on the gecko's fossilized little feet. These hairs allow geckos to this day to cling to walls and run across ceilings.
This amazing discovery means that not only were geckos living in the Lower Cretaceous Period in the tropical forests of Myanmar, but there also were walls and ceilings for them to cling to. Up to now, most experts of geologic time thought the first ceilings and walls didn't come about until the Miocene or Pliocene periods a mere 20 million years ago. And that was purely theoretical. No actual archaeological evidence of walls or ceilings from that time have been found, although scientists did unearth a rock formation in Brazil from the Holocene Period that they think was a dance floor.
But the 100-million-year-old gecko fossil doesn't lie. That gecko, who got caught in a blob of tree sap that later hardened into solid amber, clearly has the sticky toe hairs. Why would he have them if there were no ceilings to cling to?
The journal Science Daily quotes OSU professor George Poinar Jr., an expert in insects and other life forms trapped in amber, as saying, "There's a gecko society, gecko clubs, just a lot of interest in these animals because of their unusual characteristics. So there are a lot of people pretty excited about this."
And how! Researchers in the Honolulu Lite Department of Geckos have been sloshed on margaritas since hearing the news.
There are 1,200 species of geckos in the world today, most of them in Hawaii and most of those in my house. In fact, it's a bit embarrassing that major gecko discoveries come from cold, waterlogged universities like Oregon State instead of a warm, tropical gecko-loving University of Hawaii, which has more geckos per capita than any other college campus in the world.
This great gecko fossil find means that geckos not only walked with (and probably, upon) the giants of the Cretaceous Period like the fierce T. Rex and flying pterodactyl, but actually outlived them.
Scientists think that when the huge killer meteor came flaming through the sky, geckos were smart enough to climb in a deep hole while the dinosaurs just said, "Whoa, what the hell is that?" and went extinct. Dummies.
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