Thursday, April 29, 2010
"The State Fossil is the Mastodon (since 2002)
Mastodons disappeared from North America about 10,000 years ago and were estimated to be about 10 feet tall at the shoulder. One of the most complete mastodon skeletons ever found was discovered near Owosso, Michigan and is displayed at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. The longest and most intact trail of mastodon footprints (30 prints) ever uncovered was located near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Mastodons were elephant like animals and sturdily built browsers of open spruce forests. They are often lumped in with mammoths, because of their shaggy coat and long tusks, but there were subtle differences. Their tusks were as long as the mammoths', but straighter. They were shorter and built more square than the mammoths who were more slimly built and had an upwards slope from back to front. They also had flatter heads than the mammoth.
The mastodon’s teeth could get five inches in diameter and two and half inches thick. The simple and low crowned teeth showed the animal had a tendency to eat softer vegetation such as twigs and leaves. Meaning, they ate off of trees. Their teeth are very distinctive, as they are coated with enamel and have 6-8 cone-shaped cusps and are similar to that of a pig’s molars.
The mammoth’s teeth are typical for a grazer, an herbivore. Their teeth could get up to eight inches long and twelve inches wide. The tall plates of the tooth act as grinding stones and the mammoths would probably chew grass the same way a cow would. Mammoth teeth grew similar to the process of a conveyor belt. Once a set of teeth was being completely worn down, a new set would be ready to grow in its place. This process would take place six times in a mammoth’s lifetime."
So here is my thing... I never really thought about the similarities between boars and elephants, because um -> different species and very few similarities. Duh. :P
But looking at some of the idealized pictures of the mastodons (which looked boarlike to me, well, plus the trunk) and reading about how they grazed in wooded/swampy areas with piglike molars, that just reminded me of this Monster Quest (yes, you may call me a geek for watching shows like that) that I saw where they were hunting for huge wild boars that supposedly are running around in Texas and thereabouts.
I guess it is one of those things trickling at the back of my head and has always been there since I was a kidlet and visiting the big museum in Lansing, Michigan. I loved looking at the befurred statue representations of these massive beasts, and I always wished they still were around. Wouldn't it be cool if somehow or other critters like Mammoths and Mastodons survived somehow? And why couldn't they have? Even though we are technologically advanced, we still have blind spots when it comes to exploring various spots even in our own backyards.
That Monster Quest show left it open as to whether monster boars really do exist.
Now I'm thinking it would be nifty to somehow work Mastodons into a story. As survivors.
Nudges BSW prospectively....
I guess I should explain here (so people aren't totally confused about how a mastodon could fit in with a paranormal/fantasy novel) -
BSW draws on the native American ideas/themes of animal guides + Eric Daniken type aliens.
*notices people look even more confused*
We all know the Genesis story and the history of the human race according to the Bible, right?
Imagine if we are just getting the human side of the story.
So God has been around for ages and has created other races, including one race which shares our world with us. This race is identical to all the other creatures here on earth, except their souls look a little bit different... :)
And that's about all I'm willing to put on a public website right now. But it wouldn't be too far fetched to say that one of these animal guides comes in the shape of a mastodon. :)
Maybe that will happen in a sequel or related story though....