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Eternal Calcium

episode number
ED-010

 

eternal calcium
Credit: EmmaLDavis via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0])

Take a moment to look at your hands. Move them around, and watch how the bones work. Think about what your hands have done in your lifetime alone.

They learned to write. Drove your first car. Took the hand of the person you’d marry. They work every day, in an office, shop, or laboratory. And they held, or will hold, your children for the very first time.

Your hands will touch every part of your time on Earth— but the minerals that make them up are eternal.

The calcium in the bones of your hands is older than Earth itself. It formed after the Big Bang through supernova explosions and became concentrated in rocky planets.

Once on Earth, it may have spent 500 million years drifting in seawater, or passing through generations of ancient sea creatures. 200 million years more in the age of dinosaurs, making up the bones of tyrannosaurs or the eggshells of Pteranodons.

Your calcium then journeyed through 100 million years of mammals—finally pausing for a geologic split second to form your hands.

After your hands have held their last cup of coffee or played their last song, no matter how your remains are disposed of, your calcium will one day reenter the earth.

Who knows where it might end up next? Perhaps it could pass through the bones of generations of future humans. One of whom just may take a tiny part of you, once again, to another galaxy.


Eternal Calcium References

Understanding the Calcium Cycle | EcoGEM

How Stars And The Big Bang Got Into Our Bones | Astro Bob

Facts About Calcium | LiveScience

 

Contributors: Harry Lynch, Juli Hennings