Tag Archives: prehistoric animals

Another Weird New Dinosaur

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I don’t know how seriously, anymore, to take reconstructions of dinosaurs.

This newly-described critter, Gigantoraptor, judging by the shape of its skull, belonged to a group of dinosaurs called Oviraptors. Those were small as dinosaurs go, less than the size of an adult human. But Gigantoraptor was… well, gigantic.  It’s, like, hamsters are these little furry guys that fit in the palm of your hand–except for this one kind that’s as big as a Great Dane. How does that happen? Should we be looking for in-between Oviraptors?

Most of the reconstructions (I’ve only posted one) show the dinosaur richly covered with feathers. The feather thing has gotten completely out of hand. Some of these guys would reconstruct a parking meter with feathers, if they had the chance. It should be pointed out that most of these feathery dinosaurs are imaginary: traces of feathers have only been found with the fossils of a few kinds of small dinosaurs.

We don’t have anything like a complete skeleton of Gigantoraptor (this is true for many kinds of dinosaurs, even some of the most famous ones), but the skull pretty much nails it as an Oviraptor, so it seems reasonable to reconstruct it as an Oviraptor, albeit several magnitudes too large.

But look at Stegosaurus, a very famous dinosaur, discovered in the 19th century–and they’re still fiddling around with it today, trying out various possible arrangements of the plates on its back and the spikes in its tail. The jury’s still out. What’s settled science today will be laughed at tomorrow.

Image result for images of stegosaurus At least they aren’t suggesting anymore that maybe it could fly.

Oh, well! Dinosaur science is fun and I like to follow it as closely as I can. The next critter they come up with, I might find a place for in my books.


All About Those Weird Knuckle-Bears

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about those strange animals called “knuckle-bears” (because they walk on their knuckles)–plus some stuff that you can just ignore, about evolution and jillions of years, etc.

These were once found all over the world, but now they’re supposed to be extinct. If you read Bell Mountain, you know they’ve reappeared in Lintum Forest, venturing out at night and silently returning in the stillness of the dawn. Not even Helki knows where they sleep and bear their young.

It seems the Lord Our God was particularly creative when He made these. What are they? They seem to be a jumble of all these other animals–horses, bears, gorillas, tapirs, rhinos, and sloths… Don’t believe anyone who says Science has nailed down the chalicotheres’ place in the animal kingdom.

If you’re one of the few who’ve been to Lintum Forest and actually seen the knuckle-bears, you won’t even try to pin them down.


A Window into Another World

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Charles R. Knight was always one of my favorite artists. He is best known for the paintings he executed for our country’s great museums–paintings that make prehistoric ages come alive.

This is one of his renditions of Uintatherium, a walking fortress that exists no more. Well, naturally I’m going to groove on the prehistoric animals. But lately it’s been another aspect of Knight’s paintings that has captured my imagination.

His backgrounds.

Look closely. Take your time. Ignore the creature and study the landscape. I don’t know about you, but I would just about swear that Knight’s prehistoric landscapes were real places that he’d visited.

I know about that. I dream of places that are only real when I dream them. In fact, that’s how Bell Mountain started.

I know nothing of Charles R. Knight’s religious beliefs. But I believe that if the Holy Spirit wants to use you, He will, regardless of what you believe. If we approach Knight’s possibly real, possibly imaginary places in the right frame of mind, the Spirit might touch us, too.

God created the world and all living things, and pronounced them good. If He has Uintatherium safely tucked away in some unguessed-at corner of His universe, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in a place just like the one Knight painted.

And who would be more surprised to discover that than Charles Knight himself?


My Favorite Prehistoric Fish

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I fell in love with this little critter the first time I saw its picture in a book–Pteraspis, a prehistoric armored fish that supposedly went extinct some 350 million years ago. I don’t think I could’ve been more than five years old.

Pteraspis looks like a dart come to life. British pubs had not yet been invented, so Pteraspis didn’t have to worry about being pressed into service as a projectile. Its armor probably protected it from most predators.

Just a thought: Wait’ll someone finds some soft tissue in one o’ these babies! The fat’ll be in the fire then. Heads will roll, I tell ‘ee….


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.


It’s Tanystropheus Time!

All right, I give up on the nooze today, I totally give up. I’m old enough to remember when serious people used to run for president, but now it’s a freak show. I know it’s part of my job to cover nooze, but I’m sick of writing about these people. Bob Knight has a column on townhall.com today about questions he’d ask them if he were moderating one of their debates. I would ask, in addition to those, the following:

“What are you doing out of your straitjacket?”

“How many times a day do you sing ‘Imagine’?”

“What terrible thing happened to you in your childhood, to make you turn out like this?”

And so enough’s enough. And that means… well, what time is it, boys and girls? What time is it?

It’s Tanystropheus time!

I’m so happy I finally found one of these in an unexplored, uninhabited region of Lintum Forest. I don’t bother with the evolution fairy tales: this animal was just plain cool. Nothing like it before or since. It makes its debut in the story I’m currently writing, The Wind From Heaven–which, I say, is galloping like mad to some destination yet unknown to me. I can hardly wait to see what happens next.


Do You Really Want Me to Write About This S***?

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I was going to post some nooze this afternoon, honest. But as I scanned the headlines trying to decide which items to use, it seemed infinitely more desirable to publish another picture of a Baluchitherium. Biggest land mammal that ever lived–and King Ryons couldn’t have rescued his city without one.

Really, the news today is total dreck. Nothing but one jidrool after another flapping his jaw, her jaw, and spewing out political pornography. It’s supposed to make us want them to rule our country. Presuming we’re as hopelessly insane as they are.

Now I know there are no Baluchitheriums living on the earth today, despite how dearly I would love to see one. My hope is that God has stored them someplace safe, somewhere in the vastness of Creation, and that someday He will let me see them. In the sweet by and by.

*Sigh. Now it’s going on two o’clock. I’ve already had my bike ride and it’s too hot to do another one. Will anybody mind if I go outside and try to start writing the next chapter of my book?


Memory Lane: The Barylambda

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You’ve already asked yourselves, “What’s a barylambda?” It’s this animal pictured above, which exists no more. I love that picture, though. I’d swear it was shot in Edgar Woods, the way it used to be before Democrats paved over every square foot of it. That background does take me back!

This is one of my favorite prehistoric mammals. That long, powerfully-muscled tail looks like it ought to be on a dinosaur, not a mammal. I can’t think of any mammal today that has a tail to match it.

I was always delighted when my Free Prehistoric Monster in a box of Wheat Honeys or Rice Honeys turned out to be a barylambda. Like this one:

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*Sigh*  Even if we could get the barylambda back, we’d still need a woods to put him in. Our local Edgar Woods was just perfect, but it’s gone as surely as the barylambda.

I hope God remembers to put it back when he restores all things.

 


A Really Cool Prehistoric Critter

Image result for images of diplocaulus

I loved this creature from the first time I ever saw it–probably 6 years old, blissfully paging through an illustrated book on dinosaurs.

This is Diplocaulus, three feet long, and not a dinosaur but an amphibian. Dig that head! The first time my aunts took me to the American Museum of Natural History, and I saw the Diplocaulus fossils on display–just like in the pictures!–I could hardly contain my joy. And no other animal ever had a head like that.

These animals lived in Texas, in swamps and bayous which aren’t swamps and bayous anymore.

Now, imagine my surprise when I saw this picture:

Image result for images of diplocaulus in bucket

Holy cow! Somebody’s got a live Diplocaulus–right there, in a bucket!

But it was only a photo-shop job. In all the places that I’ve looked, I’ve never found a living Diplocaulus.

Please let me know if you do.


Mr. Nature: An Improbable Critter

Image result for images of tanystropheus

Jambo! Mr. Nature here; and today our safari takes us to an unexplored corner of Lintum Forest, by way of the Triassic Period. It will feature in Bell Mountain No. 13, The Wind From Heaven, which I’m writing now.

Behold Tanystropheus, with its improbably long neck. This fossil was so weird, that when its first pieces were discovered, the scientist thought it might be wing bones from a pterodactyl. But eventually enough pieces were found to yield the reconstruction pictured above.

How did this animal live? There’s nothing even close to it around today, no living creature to compare it to. Did it squat on the shore and use its long neck as a kind of fishing pole? There aren’t enough bones in the neck to make it very flexible. So the answer is, we just don’t know.

Our Lord is a highly versatile Creator!

 


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