Here we are. About to dig into the hideous, cancerous world of dinosaur fanboys (and fangirls. They certainly exist, but I’m using fanboy as a shorthand. Plus most of the hate i have encountered has come from the male variety). There are no winners here. We all lose. Oh deep unabiding joy. Let’s get this over with.
My last post seemed like a total non starter. I knew it would be insignificant, but damn, did it seem to go unnoticed, even by this blog’s standards. But still, whether I had a billion dollars or just a few thousand, where would my museum go? I have talked about all kinds of places on “The Hit List”. These are extremely numerous and probably unfeasible to try and tackle in my lifetime (of course assuming I even make it far enough to start building a collection). So I have decided to place priority on some select localities I have dubbed “Paleontology Hot Spots”. These are places that boast a long and continuous fossil history. Instead of just a few million years of most geologic formations, these “hotspots” have multiple sequences of formations that really detail the changes in life and environment through time. I have selected 4 that I’d like my museum to focus on should it ever take off.
Today marks a momentous occasion: the release of Gareth Edward’s Godzilla! This is the first Godzilla movie on American soil since Roland Emerich’s disastrous (no pun intended) take on the iconic reptile in 1998. Considering the poor critical response and the perpetual ire of the fan boys, the G-Man would not get an American outing for 14 years. Godzilla is often used a comparison for any giant reptile. Most often it is applied to dinosaurs, since Godzilla is supposed to be a resurected dinosaur. But I think the title of Godzilla incarnate is better applied to a much different animal. Dinosaurs were related to birds, not lizards, and Godzilla is often called a lizard. We fear what we don’t understand, but often fear can come when something familiar (and maybe already terrifying) is taken to the max. And I’m not talking about feathered dinosaurs (“Would I like to see an enfluffled Tyrannosaurus chasing after hapless humans? Absolutely. I’d be thrilled to view such scientifically-informed nightmare fuel.”- Brian Switek. A featured tyrannosaurus is a can of worms for another time) I’m talking about something more insidious to our primitive monkey brains. Something that, unlike dinosaurs, early man would have encountered. I’m talking about the most famous of Australia’s Pleistocene menagerie: Megalania.
Welcome to the second (sorta) week of Australia month. Whenever the extinct animals of Australia are mentioned, it’s the Pleistocene fauna. And even among that, only a select few are brought up. One of them is an animal who towered over everything else. It was a creature we are quite familiar with but was at the same time unlike anything living in Australia today. In a pitiful attempt to give it a common name, I call it: the megaroo.
Long time, no see, busy, blah blah blah. Serious crap went down that have set me back as far as the Grand Vision goes. I considered writing about it but i don’t want to bore you with the details. It would have also tied into the commercial/professional debate and i think we ALL have had enough of that for now. So instead, I decided I’m going to talk about a corner of Paleontology that doesn’t get much attention: the fossils of Australia.
Fossil discovery is the stuff of legends. News reports, books, and documentaries portray paleontologists searching the forsaken terrain of far off lands, roughing it like cowboys. Cut off from the hustle and bustle of modern society, they have retreated to perhaps one of the last wild spaces on earth, free to scour the badlands for the bones of long forgotten creatures. Eyes to the ground, the keep a sharp vigil for any sign that a bone is peeking out of the ground. Any thing is welcome, but the remains of a beast new to science is the greatest prize to be had. It is the romantic vision most often conjured by the secondhand story teller as well as common people who hear the word paleontologist. This version was true back in the early days of paleontology, and it still occurs in some of the more remote parts of the world.
Really? It’s been over a month since my last post? I have been so damn busy with school, trips, housework, and now spring break (last week). So in a desperate bid to make this up to my few loyal readers, I am having a “Better Know a Museum” Month! Each week I’ll give you another installment of my long running series, delving into the new, the old, and the spectacular as we look the places that provide us with paleontological wonderment. And what better was to begin than an exclusive (at least for me) tour of the stuff unseen at the San Bernardino County Museum.