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I know that monster!


I flip through a LOT of pictures online in the course of a day. Every once in a while, something turns up in an images search that makes me go what on earth is going on here?

Like the picture above. Goodness knows what I was looking up when this thing appeared in my search results. When I followed the link, though, turns out I know this beast! This is Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins sculpting a megatherium — a giant prehistoric South American ground sloth.

He’s one of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs (though a megatherium is a much later beastie than the thunder lizards). Uncle B used to live near this park and we went there a lot. This was the first attempt to make life-sized scale models from the big old bones that were all the rage in Victorian times. In the 1850s, would you believe?

Giant cement sculptures. They look all weird and wrong to us now, as paleontologists have re-imagined and re-re-imagined how the bones went together. Who knows? Maybe the Victorians were closer. We haven’t found too many giant corpses with the skin still on. Anyway, I loved that park. Even if the Crystal Palace itself burned down in 1936.

Right! Remember to come back tomorrow, 6 WBT, for DEAD POOL ROUND 107.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 23, 2018, 12:43 am

A megatherium, you say? Interesting! My first thought when I saw the picture was “That’s a very large tapir.” These animals, according to National Geographic, are unchanged for tens of millions of years. I wonder if tapirs and megatheriums (megatheria?) are related? Tapirs are sort of distant cousins of horses and rhinoceroseseses.

Comment from Weaseltablet3
Time: February 23, 2018, 1:05 am

Yes they are

Comment from dissent555
Time: February 23, 2018, 4:53 am

Thoroughly underappreciated are these Pleistocene megafauna. Dang lizards get all the good press.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: February 23, 2018, 1:40 pm

Yeah, but we won.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: February 24, 2018, 4:10 am

In the Lord Peter Wimsey Strong Poison, there’s a character who lost a lot of money in the collapse of “Megatherium Trust”.

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