Tag Archives: prehistoric animals

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!

 


Mr. Nature: The Amazing Colossal Giant Centipede

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Imagine a centipede that’s six feet long, maybe a little longer, and weighs a hundred pounds, and maybe more. Yipes!

Jambo, Mr. Nature here–and today our safari takes us to a tropical forest in what is now somewhere in, I guess, Oklahoma: a lot has changed since then. And there are these things crawling around through the ferns… Not really centipedes; but probably, if you saw one, you would cry out, “Eeyah! A giant centipede!”

Be of good cheer: “fossil material suggests it may have been herbivorous,” scientists have said. Uh, what if the suggestion is wrong? Not to worry–no one has seen a live Arthropleura in donkey’s years.

Why, once upon a time, were bugs so big? Some scientists believe there was more oxygen in the air than there is now. Let me point out that, where fossils of these giant bugs are found, we don’t find the fossils of gigantic birds, chameleons, or anteaters. Anyway, who knows? It’s God’s planet and He has done as He pleased, without explaining it to us. But He’s certainly left enough hints to keep us busy.

I guess the closest I’ll ever come to Arthropleura is the “giant millipede,” eight inches long, that they had in one of our local pet stores and which they let me handle: millipedes don’t bite. It was a gentle little soul, although its feet tickled. Maybe Arthropleura was peaceful and benign.

All I know is, it would take my breath away, to see one.


Lost! 200-foot-long Dinosaur

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Jambo! Mr. Nature here, with today’s safari into the incredible. Maybe even the preposterous.

Once upon a time, or so they say, there was a dinosaur–a sauropod, like a brontosaur or Diplodocus–that grew to be 200 feet long. Twice as long as an NBA basketball court. Edward D. Cope named it Amphicoelias. With all the new discoveries, in recent years, of super-sized sauropods all over the world, interest in Amphicoelias has been renewed.

The key piece of this dinosaur was a single vertebra 8.9 feet long. And sometime after 1878… it got lost.

Now, how do you lose a 9-foot-long dinosaur bone? It’s not like it could have slipped behind the couch. What kind of dingbat loses something nine feet long? “I coulda sworn I had it in this closet, with the Christmas tree ornaments…” “It somehow got lost when we moved…” Really!

We still have drawings of this bone, made by scientists who studied it, but who wants to take the kids to a museum to see drawings?

And so a land animal as long as two blue whales laid end-to-end… is lost. Like a spare set of car keys. Like that carefully boxed complete set of 1961 baseball cards that should be up on that shelf in your bedroom, but isn’t. Alas and alas!

We can only hope it turns up in someone’s garage someday.


Mr. Nature: One Big Deer

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Hi, Mr. Nature here again–with one of my favorite artists, Charles R. Knight.

This is his famous painting of Megaloceros, the “Irish Elk,” the deer with the biggest antlers ever. Best known from the Ice Age, there have always been stories of this creature surviving into historical times in Ireland. No one’s been able to prove it, or disprove it.

Ice Age people saw it, though. They hunted it, ate it, and painted its picture on the walls of caves.

This is just one of incalculably many creatures that we can’t find anymore. My own belief is that God, with the whole universe at His disposal, has put them elsewhere. Maybe someday God will let us see these animals again.

I sometimes wonder if He might have given Charles R. Knight a peek at them.


Oh, Boy! Knuckle-Bear Video!

For no reason at all, everything here is working again. Thank you, Lord!

Okay–yesterday there was nothing green on any of the trees; and today there is, some leaves have budded. Spring is definitely here. And how do they do that without anyone noticing until afterward?

In a matter of weeks it’ll be time to start writing again, back to Obann to try to clean up the mess I left at the end of His Mercy Endureth Forever. I haven’t got the seed of the story yet: I have to wait on the Lord to give it to me. A nerve-wracking procedure sometimes, but it’s gotten me through twelve books.

Meanwhile, dear readers, finally I have some video of chalicotheres, the “knuckle-bears” that live on the edge of Lintum Forest. It comes from the BBC and Tim Haines’ “Walking with Beasts,” a source of inspiration to me despite its bent for Darwinian fairy tales. What can I say? The beasts are cool!

The video includes a shocking cameo appearance by a hyaenodon, aka the “death dog” that would’ve gulped down both Ryons and Cavall if he hadn’t been interrupted by–but I don’t want to spoil the story.


How Many of These Critters Have Appeared in My Books?


These are somebody’s idea of “the Top Ten Prehistorical Mammal Predators.” I didn’t actually count them, but I suspect they listed more than ten.

How many of these have appeared in Obann?

Andrewsarchus, Hyaenodon, Smilodon, Entelodont–plus a lot of critters not featured in this video. The books in which those four appear are Bell Mountain, The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, The Thunder King, and The Last Banquet. I do have fun, writing them up–and I hope it’s fun for the readers, too.

Note I have resisted the temptation to invent animals, like giant hamsters or talking clams. I deserve extra sales for that, don’t you think?


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