If you’ve ever found yourself imagining what your office or house would look like millions of years ago with dinosaurs wandering freely around, you’re not alone. Hey, I get distracted easily, okay?
As much as those daydreams were already highly unrealistic though, I’ve got news that will make it just a tad bit more so – as it turns out, dinosaurs roamed the Earth on an entirely different part of the galaxy.
To be more specific, they lived on the complete other side of the galaxy to where we are orbiting right this second. So, yeah, I guess you really do learn something new every day.
In all fairness, most of my dinosaur knowledge comes directly from Jurassic Park, so I’m probably not the best person to be explaining this to you. Luckily I don’t have to though, as NASA research scientist Dr Jessie Christiansen has already gone to the effort of doing so.
The scientist took to Twitter earlier this year to explain ‘galactic archaeology’, tweeting an animation made by herself to put it in layman’s terms for the average person like you and I.
She wrote, alongside the clip:
I have always been interested in galactic archaeology, but I don’t think this is what they meant. Did you know that dinosaurs lived on the other side of the Galaxy?
I have always been interested in galactic archaeology, but I don't think this is what they meant.
Did you know that dinosaurs lived on the other side of the Galaxy? pic.twitter.com/ngGCAu0fYU
— Dr. Jessie Christiansen (@aussiastronomer) August 28, 2019
Dr Christiansen said she created the animation just ‘for fun’ in a few spare hours, not in any official capacity, so unfortunately NASA isn’t out here working on a (not so) secret dinosaur project.
So why does this mean dinosaurs lived on the other side of the galaxy? As per IFL Science, the Earth moves at around 514,500 miles per hour around the Sun, at a distance of about 28,000 light years from the galactic centre.
In other words, it takes us approximately 230 million years (or between 225 million and 250 million years, to be precise) to complete an orbit around the galactic centre of the Milky Way. Basically, it takes a long bloody time.
Because dinosaur eras were long – there’s a bigger time gap between the stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus rex than there is between the T-Rex and us – that means many of the dinosaurs we’ve heard of actually lived on the other side of the galaxy to us.
Not only that, but from the time of the plesiosaurs (not exactly dinosaurs but rather large swimming reptiles) to the extinction event that wiped out the last of the dinosaurs, the Solar System had already moved three-quarters of the way around the galactic centre.
Mind = blown. Now don’t say I never teach you anything.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).