Giant Fleas, Tiny Old Horses, and Other News of the Week

We start off this week’s batch of science news with a story that has my cat Cozy digging furiously at his ear. Dinosaurs may have been covered in giant fleas. Ick ick ick. My daughter and her eight-and-a-half pound Sifrhippus friend are glad all those giant fleas died out some 100 million years before her Sifrhippus and his incredible shrinking horse family came on the scene.

In other ancient beastie news comes word that scientists have reconstructed an extinct giant penguin which roamed New Zealand’s rocky shore some 26 million years ago. At four feet two inches and 132 pounds, the Kairuku would have stood a foot taller and weighed 50% more than the modern emperor penguin. There’s an emperor needs new clothes joke in here somewhere, but The Four-Year-Old has gotten up far too early for me to find it.

Finally, a look at the history of the leap year, in case you share The Four-Year-Old’s curiosity about that crazy day we call February 29th. Happy birthday, all you leap year babies out there.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.