Gee, maybe it got lost on the way down…
Well, WordPress has also fixed my reblogging feature, so now it works again. The test has been successful.
But it was more than just a test. We enjoy a lot of Michael Graeme’s blogs, and I think you will, too. Please do not interpret the reblog as an endorsement of dowsing. I just like to see know-it-all science fundamentalists tearing their hair out when they can’t get people to believe them.
Mr. Nature again.
Some of you don’t think Tanystropheus could have been real: there must have been some mistake in reconstructing it. Not an unreasonable suspicion. In fact, the first scientist to study the fossil, in the 19th century, reconstructed it as a flying reptile. He soon conceded that that was a mistake.
So here’s the skeleton. A number of Tanystropheus fossils have been found, all pretty similar, all with those crazy long bones which are now interpreted as neck bones, leaving us with an animal that’s very hard to understand.
If you can think of a better way to put these parts together, go for it.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with that Tanystropheus I would’ve shown you yesterday if I’d only remembered to do it.
This was one of the most unusual creatures ever to walk the earth. Supposedly it lived in the Triassic Period–which was less a real thing than it is merely a way for geologists to talk about earth history. Anyway, there are no more Tanystropheuses.
Marvin (I thought it needed a shorter name) was about 20 feet long, and 10 feet of that was just his neck. Marve is often depicted with this snaky neck that can practically tie itself into a sheepshank, but that would have been impossible: there were only 12 or 13 bones in that long neck, severely limiting its flexibility. A giraffe has only seven neck-bones, and you see what they have to go through if they want a drink of water. Marvin’s neck would have been almost as stiff as a giraffe’s.
He’s also depicted, often, as living mostly in the water–probably because scientists just don’t know what to do with him on land. We have no evidence for this. Some of the fossils suggest a lot of muscle in the pelvic area, which would have counterbalanced the weight of the neck. But how this animal actually lived is a mystery to everybody. Don’t be too hard on paleontologists for not having figured it out. There are lots of things in the fossil record that no one will ever figure out.
What did God do with these strange and spectacular animals He created–the ones that aren’t here anymore? Well, frankly, we don’t know: He hasn’t made it known to us.
Maybe someday He will.
I had every good intention of doing a “Mr. Nature” piece on the Tanystropheus today, and I just never got around to it and now I’m late for my nap. So I’ll have to do it tomorrow.
If any of you have already had it up to here with Tanystropheus, let me know and I will abandon this resolution and write about Congress instead.