Jambo, Mr. Nature here; and today’s safari takes us back in time and under the water for an encounter with the biggest, scariest shark that ever lived: Carcharodon megalodon–“Megalodon” for short.
The only fossils we have of this creature are its teeth. In the picture above, the white tooth is from a modern great white shark, a la Jaws. The black tooth belonged to a Megalodon. Except for the size, they’re virtually identical. Both are classified as belonging to the genus Carcharodon. So we can imagine Megalodon as a prehistoric great white shark two or three times the size of today’s 16 to 20-foot monsters.
I didn’t opt for a Youtube video because there’s so much sensationalism loaded onto Megalodon, it’s hard to get any videos that haven’t succumbed to the temptation to exaggerate. Why you would need to exaggerate the lethal potential of a 40 or 50-foot white shark is a mystery to me.
Megalodon is extinct, which is good news for anyone who wants to go to sea. Oh, there are always rumors that maybe it is not extinct, maybe a few of them survive in the deepest waters of the ocean where we can’t see them. Down there in the dark, eating whales and giant squid–anything else would probably be just a snack.
We may wonder why God ever created such a fish. Well, He had His reasons: we just don’t know them. Whatever those reasons, these gigantic teeth that still remain can leave us in awe of their Creator.
And remind us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
It isn’t every day you get to see video of a Baluchitherium, so enjoy it now.
The Thunder King, Book No. 3 of my Bell Mountain series, was born of a dream I had, in which a Baluchitherium–the largest land mammal ever–figured dramatically. With a little extra shaping, that dream became the climax of the book.
Just imagine it… Just imagine!
I’m getting antsy for Obann, and I want to flush the day’s nooze out of my brain… so let’s join Mr. Nature on a prehistoric safari.
Hi, Mr. Nature here–and the video is in Hindi, so I have no idea what the narrator is saying; but I know a Deinotherium when I see one. Well, okay, there are no more Deinotheriums, only pictures and video recreations.
These are related to the elephants we know and love today, and lived in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Some of them were considerably bigger than modern elephants. Plus it looks like their tusks are on backwards. Deinotherium’s tusks were attached to the lower jaw instead of coming out of the upper, like an elephant’s.
We do not know how this animal used its tusks. Scraping bark off trees? Maybe. They look so much like elephants that the two must have had a lot in common. Except for those tusks. The more you look at them, the more puzzling it gets. What good did their tusks do them, down there?
But God the Designer doesn’t make mistakes, and doesn’t create living things that don’t work. However those tusks functioned, we can be sure they served the animal well.
One of these days I’m gonna have to have Jandra’s pet bird–with teeth, claws, and a somewhat nasty temper–featured on the cover of one of my books. Meanwhile, here’s a bird in our own world that has claws on its wings.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Jambo, Mr. Nature here, with a brief safari into the past.
Today we’re looking for the largest bear ever, which is not the Alaskan brown bear or even the polar bear. They’re big: but the short-faced bear of North America, ranging from California to New Jersey, was bigger. Based on fossils, an adult short-faced bear weighed around a ton and stood 12 feet high when it stood on its hind legs. On all fours, it could look a six-foot man right in the eye.
Scientists estimate that these bruisers went extinct ten or eleven thousand years ago, along with a lot of other awesome mammal megafauna in North America. No one knows why. All we can say for certain is that they were here once, but not any more. Maybe the bears ran out of big stuff to eat–although we really don’t know why any of those beasts died out. Theories abound.
I try to imagine what it would be like to see one of these. Okay–but it might be the last thing you ever see.
God created these animals and pronounced them good. We don’t know why He removed them from the scene, although it might have been a good thing for us that He did.
We can only wonder.
This clip has two of my favorite dinosaurs in it, Stegosaurus and Ceratosaurus. All you have to do is ignore the apparent suicidal stupidity of the Ceratosaurus in attacking two adult Stegosaurs. You might want to ignore the pipe-stem necks, too.
I’ve got a feeling you could find some of these in Obann, if you knew where to look.
This little character doesn’t get much ink nowadays, having been upstaged by his more spectacular contemporaries. But back when I was first getting hooked on prehistoric critters as a boy, “Seymouria” was in all the books.
Not everything that comes from Texas is big. Seymouria was only two feet long or so. Its fossils have also been found in Europe. The odd thing about Seymouria was that he seems to have been an amphibian that was able to prosper in a dry climate because some of his features were more like a reptile’s than an amphibian’s. No fossils of its young have been found. I discount reports that Seymouria tadpoles resembled beautiful women.
The Creator is very creative. Seymouria may not look like much, but it was really a very innovative design.
I wonder if it’ll turn up in Obann. It might make a nice pet for somebody.
P.S.–I couldn’t post this as a “Memory Lane” piece. Someone might think I’d seen a Seymouria.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, introducing you to New Zealand’s tuatara–the sole surviving member of a whole group of reptiles that died out while there were still dinosaurs around. Today it lives only on a few offshore islands around New Zealand; and the zoos have started captive breeding programs to make sure the species doesn’t go extinct.
It looks like a lizard, but it’s not. Internally, everything is different. Back in the Jurassic world, the tuatara would have had many close relatives, some of them as large as hogs. Tuataras like cool weather, and a healthy one can live more than 100 years.
I’ve heard that tuataras sort of “sing,” when in the mood, and that if you sing to them, they’ll answer. I couldn’t find any video of that: it’s something that I’ve always wanted to hear. Something that brontosaurs heard when they were here.
Nobody painted ’em like Charles R. Knight
What with one thing after another, I don’t have much oomph today: not much spark to my bark. Too much noise in the environment.
Anyhow, to turn to a more promising subject–
Uintatherium has been one of my favorite prehistoric critters since I was six or seven years old. Alas, the only video I’ve ever been able to find is this old soup commercial:
C’mon, somebody! Make us a real Uintatherium video. I mean, the world’s been waiting for it–right?
A great deal of silly stuff has been written about dinosaurs, including the claim that they never existed and the whole thing is just a fiendishly clever conspiracy, blah-blah.
God has done things that we don’t understand. He created dinosaurs, pronounced them good, and then, it so appears, removed them for our sake, leaving only fossils and trackways behind.
Which, in all probability, is as it should be.