Archive for the ‘prehistoric life’ category

Buick vs. Dinos

May 16, 2013

Buick dino– – You’ve probably heard certain types of vehicles referred to as “dinosaurs,” or perhaps as “big boats” or “land yachts“- -Well, in a commercial for the 2013 Buick Encore, the crossover vehicle has to navigate around a variety of dinosaurs including a stegosaurus, triceratops, and possibly an apatosaurus as they go plodding along city streets and even trying to park.  The message is that the time of “big luxury” cars has passed, and the next big thing in luxury vehicles is small and nimble.  This is somewhat ironic in that Buick in its day has made some of the biggest and softest luxury cars around; we also continue to burn fossil fuels aplenty, so perhaps the dinos shouldn’t be mocked.  The commercial’s voiceover is by Kevin Bacon, and the music in the spot is “The Guitar” by They Might Be Giants

Perhaps Jurassic Park was having a clearance sale…and kids of all ages seeing this commercial are likely to want to have a dinosaur rather than a Buick…

Grazin’ In The Grass!

November 14, 2012

– – Shut up and eat your creamed spinach!  New research has suggested that early human ancestors in central Africa 3.5 million years ago ate a diet of mostly tropical grasses and sedges before evolving a taste for meaty flesh.

After studying the fossilized teeth of three early human relatives excavated at two sites in Chad,  Oxford researchers found the signature of a diet rich in plant foods through analysis of carbon isotope ratios in specimen teeth.  They were not equipped as carnivores are with sharp teeth and also lacked cow-like guts to break down food such as leaves, so probably feasted more on roots and bulbs at the base of the plants.  Their diet was more like that of a cow than that of a Great Ape, indicating that our ancestral human diet diverged from that of the apes much sooner than was previously thought…

That Great, Prehistoric Taste!

October 21, 2012

  – – I, for one, do not relish the thought of eating long-dead things.  Let’s face it, however, some people will eat almost anything!  So for the strong of stomach and to dovetail onto the previous mammoth post, we will consider tales of those who reportedly have tasted mammoth flesh, and for the less adventurous we will consider simply what mammoth is reported to taste like by the few contemporary people who have sampled it.  

To put things into proper perspective, only several mammoths have been found in anywhere near an intact state.  Most were already scavenged, preyed upon, or decayed to some degree before their freezing in permafrost, leaving little soft tissue behind.  When the corpse becomes exposed, usually through erosion, it quickly starts to rot.  Additionally, modern scavengers will consume exposed thawed soft tissue.  Mummified frozen fossilized animals also tend to be found in frozen silt, not as giant ice cubes; it’s hardly a tasty smorgasbord.  What meat that does survive is nearly always revolting.

Frozen mammoth meat has been eaten, however, and is described as tasting like meat left in the freezer for way too long.  It’s tough and bland, and has no flavor.  Now The Explorers Club, an association of heavy-duty scientists and adventurers, did according to reports include  mammoth meat at a 1951 gathering; these were hardly large juicy steaks, but rather odd edible chunks or two supposedly recovered from Akutan Island in the Aleutians.   Now old-time paleontology lore is full of tales in which half-starved hunters or explorers defrost and consume an icebound mammoth carcass, but most of these accounts are impossible to verify. 

So in summation, finding a frozen mammoth is exhuming an icy grave, not walking into a meat locker.  If you were an early human and needed to feed your tribe for a month, however, a mammoth wasn’t something that you would pass up quickly…