Mr. Nature: Podokesaurus

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Jambo! Mr. Nature here: and our safari today takes us into the world created by artist Rudolph Zallinger in his 1947 mural, The Age of Reptiles.

I am particularly interested in Podokesaurus–because it has a cool name, hardly anyone has ever heard of it, and it’s so much smaller than all the other dinosaurs. In the picture above, you can just make it out: it’s that tiny little thing just below the Plateosaurus (the big purple thing) that’s bending over to much some plants.

Podokesaurus was discovered in 1910, in Massachusetts, by a Mt. Holyoke College geology professor and her sister, who were taking a walk together and happened to spot traces of bones in a boulder that had somehow split open–and what are the odds of that? The original fossil was destroyed in a fire in 1917, but the casts were saved; and in 1958 another Podokesaurus specimen was found. This one, scientists estimated, grew maybe up to nine feet long. The one found at the college was only three feet long.

When I was a little boy I used to gaze in fascination at pictures of this mural: must’ve spent hours doing it. This was another world. I couldn’t tear myself away.

Nowadays Zallinger’s renderings of dinosaurs are considered wildly inaccurate; but in 1947 they were Settled Science.

One thing about Podokesaurus–it was small enough to hide. Keep your eyes peeled, next time you go camping.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

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