EXTINCTION OF DISTINCTION
edited: Friday, December 14, 2007
By George E. Albitz
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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Dinosaur discovered in ANTARCTICA or Where the Hell is Gondwana? Think about that for awhile.
Professor Penwose Pro-bono Prose
Good Evening! I’m Professor Penwose,
Today as I calmly sat reading an early edition of National Geographic I found, to my dismay, that once again I had reached the last and final page, yet unfinished in my primary endeavor. On the windowsill beside me I spied an even earlier release of one of my favorites, and I’m sure yours as well, The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. What a blessing at that particular time.
As I began to skim through it I was startled by this amazing headline...
REMAINS OF ANCIENT, TANK-LIKE CREATURE FOUND
As you might imagine I was motivated to read on...
SCIENTISTS UNCOVER REMAINS OF ONE OF THE MOST HEAVILY-ARMORED MAMMALS EVER TO LIVE.
Previously to this disclosure I always hypothesized the most heavily armored creatures on Earth were the knights of King Arthur, but then again I must concede they were not mammals. The closest thing I knew to what they were describing were the armadillos of Texas which I had never seen and knowledge of only through readings in other sessions such as this one. At this point I was glad I was no feline, for my curiosity was burning. Onward I read...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists searching for fossils high in the Andes mountains in Chile have unearthed the remains of a tank-like mammal related to armadillos that grazed 18 million years ago.
The creature, Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis, was a primitive relative of a line of heavily armored mammals that culminated in the massive, impregnable Gyptodon, a two-ton, 10-foot(3-meter)-long beast covered in armored plates and a spiky tail.
Gyptodon, the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, died out 10,000 years ago. Parapropalaehoplophorus had similar traits, but was much smaller, at 200 pounds (90 kg) and 2-1/2 feet.
The creature is a member of a family called glyptodonts that originated in South America and later entered North America after the two continents joined 3 million years ago.
The remains were first discovered in 2004 at 14,000 feet in the Andes, which scientists believe was much lower during its lifetime.
As always the reasons for its extinction are a mystery, however I must assume it had trouble mating. Imagine the scenario as it meets a suitable female of the opposite sex, “Hello there! I’m Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis, but you can call me Parapropalaehoplophorus.” By the time he got it all out she was probably gone. If he had a speech impediment, forget it!
Through my crystal set I was able to reach a ham operator in Chile who spoke through an interpreter with a foreign accent, who said his father may have seen one of these beasts while he was attending his lamas, but before it got close enough for a good look he got the flock out of there. He did suggest it would make good chile. Well, they were certainly in the right place for it.
So, where the Hell is Gondwana?
Other news of significant significance...
My curiosity had peaked and I was eager for more dinosaur news. Fortunately there appeared a relatively new copy of the popular journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. I opened its pages and found this headline...
NEW DINOSAUR DISCOVERED IN ANTARCTICA
ANTARCTICA! Dinosaurs in ANTARCTICA?
TURTLECREEK - A hefty, long-necked dinosaur that lumbered across the Antarctic before meeting its demise 190 million years ago has been identified and named, more than a decade after intrepid paleontologists sawed and chiseled the remains of the primitive plant-eater from its icy grave.
A plant eater in Antarctica? I’ll bet it soon switched to meat.
A team led by William Hammer of Augustana College had unearthed the dino fossils in the early 1990s. They found a partial foot, leg and ankle bones on Mt. Kirkpatrick near the Beardmore Glacier in Antarctica at an elevation of more than 13,000 feet.
The Antarctic dinosaur was about 20 to 25 feet long, weighed in at 4 to 6 tons, and determined to be a new genus and species of dinosaur from the early Jurassic Period.
Dubbed Glacialisaurus hammeri, the beast was a type of sauropodomorph, a dino group that includes the largest animals ever to walk the earth. Their sister group is the theropods, which include Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor and primitive birds. The sauropodomorphs were long-necked herbivores and included the "true sauropods" Diplodocus and Apatosaurus (sauropods are a subset of sauropodomorphs).
Anyone able to pronounce these terms please contact me over the wireless with suitable translations.
The new results suggest sauropodomorphs were widely distributed in the Early Jurassic—not only in China, South Africa, South America and North America, but also in Antarctica. This was probably due to the fact that major connections between the continents still existed at that time, and because climates were more equitable across latitudes than they are today.
Back then, most of the landmasses in today's southern hemisphere (including Antarctica, South America, Africa and Australia) formed the supercontinent Gondwana. The landmass started to break up in the mid-Jurassic, about 167 million years ago.
I’ll bet that was something to see. I wonder if there is any footage of it?
So Gondwana was a supercontinent...very interesting! Also interesting is the fact that dinosaurs lived in Antarctica. What happened to the theory the Ice Age wiped them out? As a scientist I must wonder how an animal with no fur could survive in such a climate?
So now you know where Gondwana is, or was. Another question arises from the depths of my medulla oblongata. Why are there no dinosaurs today?
Evolution is an amazing thing. All life comes from the oceans. We really don’t know what took place to bring about the huge beasts, but one certainty cannot be argued. Anything that happens once...can happen again!
Maybe the evolution is, at this very moment, taking place in some remote area of the globe? Maybe the climate is not quite right?
Perhaps global warming will have a hand in the return of the dinosaurs.