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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  03:33:13  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dinosaurs. It seems that they get all of the good press. Every time a moldy scattering of ancient lizard bones is found and described, everybody, supporter of evolution and dedicated creationist alike, goes all a'twitter -- the latter sometimes becoming outright irrational.

I correct myself: Dinosaurs were not lizards, but no matter, they still hog much of the glory and just recently Ken Ham's Creation Museum, if museum it can be called, opened their Dinosaur Den display, to the wild applause of several.

I correct myself again: there were many more than just several applauding wildly, some even hysterically, but no matter, it's still the same old saw, albeit from a flawed perspective.

But no matter, we are only going to mention Dinosaurs briefly and in passing anyway, and that has been pretty much taken care of already.

Our mammalian ancestors bid the Dinosaurs hale & farewell some 65 million years ago during an horrific event called the KT Extinction. Although Dinosauria was the undisputed reigning Order for some one hundred and sixty million-odd years, none survived beyond the avian decedents of a few Dromaosaurs. This left a considerable number of ecological niches wide open, and, as Nature abhors a vacuum, evolution, working with what it happened to have on hand, produced some creatures fully as amazing as the Dinosaurs to fill those niches. In this writing, we'll look at the ancient Order of Edentata.

“Edentata,” means, “lacking teeth,” or at least not having very many of them, relatively speaking, although many Edentates had/have a great many teeth…… hmmm.

Today, the order, now called Xenarthra (The name ‘Xenarthra' means "strange joints", and was chosen because their vertebral joints are unlike those of any other mammals), includes Armadillos, Sloths, Anteaters and, at one time, Pangolins. Their ancestors included at least a couple of the most spectacular of the so-called mega-fauna: Megatherium and Glyptodon.





Megatherium was the Giant Ground Sloth. It was the size of a healthy elephant and an herbivore (I have read that it might well have been a casual predator of small animals and scavenged a bit as well. This is certainly not inconceivable). It had a small head on a rather long neck, relatively slender forelegs and massive hind quarters. It's tail was also quite heavy, indicating that the animal spent a lot of it's time in an upright position and used it for a counterbalance. The claws of it's forefeet were so exaggerated that it could not walk with them in the normal position, but was forced to fold them under and walk on the side of the foot and/or the knuckles. This trait remains in the descendents of it‘s cousins; today's arboreal Sloths, which can scarcely walk on the ground at all, and the Anteaters.

This was not an animal to trifle with. It lived with some large and extremely efficient predators, including the Short-Faced Bear, and in spite of the skinny-looking forelimbs, it was perfectly capable of disemboweling any overly-optimistic carnivore foolish enough to come within arm's reach if it.

Glyptodon on the other hand, was rather like an armored vehicle. About the size and shape of a Volkswagen Beetle, and with all of the grace & agility of a speed bump, it was an unassuming herbivore that fed mainly on low growing plants. It looked rather like a huge tortoise but could not retract

"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!


Edited by - filthy on 07/24/2007 03:36:40

Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1261 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  11:28:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As always, filthy, your essays are informative and highly entertaining. I especially like this little gem:
I speak, of course, of the Pangolin (one genera, eight species) and this youngster is in it's ‘Creationist Denial' mode: ”I can't see you, therefore you can't possibly exist!”
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  17:06:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh cool! Great essay filthy! Expect this to make its way to the homepage...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  18:31:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys. Reading back over it, I see I've got some clean-up to do. What with Harry #7 on hand and a couple of other things, I rushed it a bit.

How come the italics aren't working?




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  18:39:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Italics work fine.

Try using lowercase I.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  18:44:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Italics work fine.

Try using lowercase I.
Hmph. Ok, I'll do it tomorrow. Must be something to do with my Word program -- I put them in as I wrote. Got some images to straighten out as well. Thanks!




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Ghost_Skeptic
SFN Regular

Canada
510 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2007 :  22:23:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ghost_Skeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great stuff Filthy - I too think the ancient mammals have been getting short shrift compared to the dinosaurs.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. / You can send a kid to college but you can't make him think." - B.B. King

History is made by stupid people - The Arrogant Worms

"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism." - William Osler

"Religion is the natural home of the psychopath" - Pat Condell

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" - Thomas Jefferson
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2007 :  06:46:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I was a kid I wanted an anteater for a pet.

Good stuff filthy!


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2007 :  22:36:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks once again, Filthy, for another fascinating and educational essay, done in your own inimitable style. I learned a lot, and enjoyed the process.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2007 :  04:41:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks 'Mooner. I'd been mulling this one for a while, but it was Jerome who set me to putting it up -- a shade prematurely, I fear. I thought the evolution speculations might shake his cage and I'd have a little fun bouncing him around -- when did I ever claim to be a nice person? -- but, 'tis not to be, alas. Why did the fool have to go and get himself suspended now? He could'a had the decency to wait a few days.....

But, if I do say so myself, it's not too shabby for a quicky (took about a week after the rough-out).

And again, thanks guys! Attaboys are always good for the soul.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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