The Komodo dragon of Indonesia is, as Bob and Ray observed, the world’s largest living lizard. Full-grown at ten feet long and 300 pounds, occasionally it eats… people.
Some thousands of years ago, certain monitor lizards in Australia grew to be twice the size of a Komodo dragon. But they were pipsqueaks compared to the Mosasaurus of the Cretaceous Period (or whenever–we don’t want to take such things too seriously).
As you can see in this clip from Jurassic World, the Mosasaur was very, very big–up to thirty or even forty feet long, depending on the species. Mosasaurs are all the rage in dinosaur movies today, and of course their size is exaggerated therein. Closely related to today’s monitor lizards, the Mosasaur was likely the supreme predator of its time. Instead of legs it had flippers, so it had to stay in the water. And no, it was not as big as a New Jersey township.
What hath God wrought? We can only marvel at the scanty remains of these gigantic creatures that are no longer with us. Where they are now, only the God who made them knows. But maybe someday He will tell us.
Enough of nooze, enough of politics: let’s look at some of God’s stuff instead. In this case, I only have to look out my living room window.
Because my wife has been so sick–she’s getting better now, praise God: and thank you all for your prayers, the Lord has heard them–we didn’t have a garden this year. We let our little garden plot grow wild, and by the end of the summer, had a lush growth of wonderful little white flowers. Queen Anne’s lace, they’re called.
And the bees just love ’em! Early in the morning, the bumblebees are already at work. Then come the little native bees. And a little later, hallelujah–honeybees!
We hear that honeybees are in trouble everywhere–disease and habitat destruction being the chief culprits. For a while there we weren’t seeing any honeybees at all. But wherever their hive is (we don’t know), the tiny white flowers of the Queen Anne’s Lace are bringing them here. Once the day warms up a little, we’ve always got honeybees. And it pleases us to think we’ve got something that they like–flowers that we never planted, but that God has provided.
Thank you for that, O Father!
Isn’t this just beautiful? The red salander, Pseudotriton ruber ruber–when I was a boy, you could find them in my neighborhood. That was before the political party that claims to be “for” the environment paved everything over.
My friends and I collected salamanders. The most common were the little redbacks. They were just about everywhere. But every now and then you’d find a red salamander–bright red, speckled with black, with a salmon-pink underbelly. Like living jewels.
I still look for salamanders, occasionally, but the only ones left are redbacks. There are no more gorgeous red salamanders around here. They had to go, to make way for nail salons and trendy restaurants. And now, high rise tenements. Makes our town more urban, dontcha know.
In the restitution of all things we shall see Creation as the Lord Our God created it. And I’m sure He won’t forget to include these salamanders.
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.
We’ve all seen white swans, haven’t we? But for a lot of us, the idea of a black swan would be just a romantic notion, or a bit of poetry.
Not so! Mr. Nature here again: and as long as we’re on the subject of Australian bird life, I’m here to tell you Australia has black swans–and here they are. They sound, to me, like musical instruments that need to be played by someone who has practiced. But it would be a nice sound to hear in the morning, don’t you think?
I don’t know about you, but just listening to these birds carrying on makes me want to laugh, too.
Mr. Nature here, with proof that God does have a sense of humor. He must have, or He wouldn’t have created kookaburras.
Although found only in Australia, the kookaburra’s distinctive loony laughter was a staple in every jungle movie and TV show for decades–and for all I know, still is. The jungle can be in Africa, South America, India, or the Caribbean, it doesn’t matter where–no matter where it is, you hear the kookaburra. Tarzan, Sheena, Jungle Jim, Ramar–they all went about their business with the kookaburra in the soundtrack.
Frogs don’t usually make good pets. But the grey tree frog is different.
These little guys actually get tame, don’t mind if you handle them, and will take food from your fingers. Plus they change colors, and they sing. And there’s a lot to be said for the ability to cling to a windowpane without falling off.
Mr. Nature here–and to this day I have never seen a luna moth. I have to settle for video.
Here’s one that got rained on and needs to dry out before it can fly again. Meanwhile, it seems perfectly content to rest on this man’s finger and have its picture taken.
God creates beauty, for His own pleasure and for ours.
(Note: “Lunar” is an error. It’s “luna,” not “lunar.”)