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#136458 - 12/26/04 06:21 PM Eudibamus Unknown
themilum Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/25/02
Posts: 1529
Loc: Aladamnbama the most watered s...
My perversion is paleontology. I lust after things long dead in tombs of rock. And this past spring I got lucky.

On a cold but sunny March day, hunting in a vacant lot behind a state liquor store in Fultondale, Alabama, my eight-year-old granddaughter Danielle and I searched through a gob pile of dark gray shale rocks for fossils. The rocks, dumped from a nearby strip mine ( the remains of the wave-washed mud flats of an estuary that covered this part of North Alabama over 320 million years ago) were a disappointment. Apparently these barren rocks were deposited in a low life zone (smile) between the Pennsylvanian forests and the Pennsylvanian epicontinental sea which held few impressions of life.

Soon I grew tired of looking at bland rocks without finding any fossils and wanted to leave, but didn’t. I didn’t want to disappoint Miss Smarty-pants - the sweet Danielle,- the blase creature who I wanted to trick into thinking that I was the smartest grandfather in all of Blount County as well as most of the civilized part of Bibb .
And, as it turned out, I was.

“Danielle, jump!” I said. “ Hurry to Paw-paw. This you gotta see!”

Sweet Danielle is not the most loquacious of grandchildren. Without a word she looked up from the rock that she was studying and raised both hands towards heaven and slowly shook her head, as if to ask - “Why , Lord, why me?”.

The sun rose and set a million times behind the liquor store. Great mountains rose and crumbled back into the sea. Still the sweet Danielle dilly-dallied the twenty feet to where I waited, stopping once to tie her shoelaces; a neat trick, she was barefooted and I had her shoes.

But all good things come to Paw-paws who wait, so one sweet fine day sweet Danielle stood before me, hands on hips and scowling, her manner spoke clearly , it said,
“ Ok, you ‘ve got fifty seconds tops, Pops, and this had better be good!”

“ Look Danielle!” I cried. “Footprints! This is great. Danielle, I’m famous!

Think deeply , O’ fair disgruntled descendant of mine, four score and three hundred million years ago a slimy low-life reptile walked upon this self- same gob-dumped ground and left behind a series of five- toed foot prints in the slimy Paleozoic mire and mud ; and today, I , your sharp-eyed and grandiloquent grandfather, have uncovered them.
Are you not the luckiest descendent on God’s green Earth?”

The Earth spun on its axis ten times until finally, the sweet Danielle wrinkled her brow and frowned. I smiled. Life is good. This was Danielle’s sweet way of showing her utmost approval.


The following weekend was bitter cold. In my company that day instead of Danielle, was the famous fossil hunter - Ashley Allen, the most knowledgeable fossil trackways expert in Alabama. Only last year Ashley had discovered the most prolific Pennsylvanian reptile track site in the world. Yes...world! This past summer, at a high ceremony at a Walker County strip mine the the US Department of Interior transferred ownership of this unique track way to the State of Alabama for the overseeing of further scientific excavation and collection. Ashley Allen is the man who oversees the overseers. Paleontologists in Alabama ask Ashley first and then they rush home and write up their papers. Ashley Allen is the top hip-hop rock star of the Alabama paleo-clans, and I am his groupie.

Unfortunately Ashley had brought his three year old daughter to the dig. I was disappointed. Important fossil digs are not a proper place for three-year-old pug- nosed little girls with a penchant to throw rocks at the important people who are doing the dig. I gave her a rock with a a worm trail in it and told her that it was a snake. She was very afraid of snakes so she kept her mouth shut for three minutes.

Meanwhile Ashley and I chipped away determinedly to remove a 300 pound slab of shale from the sandy matrix. At last the slab broke loose. Putting the slab on a piece of burlap we drug the rock out of the shallow pit and into the sunlight for a close examination. I stood back in the shadows so Ashley could have the light. He looked at the rock from different angles for five minutes or so. Then, curiously, he walked his index and middle finger across the rock. And then he looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Impossible! Milo, your damn lizard is bipedal!” I fainted.

No I didn’t but I can’t clearly remember exactly what happened afterwards. Somehow we got the fossil loaded into Ashley’s truck amid a shower of pebbles from Ashley’s kid who wanted some attention, and then Ashley and her drove my fossil off to the lab to be photographed and studied.

Whew! This was heady stuff. If what we believed was true my reptile was the first known animal to walk on two-feet, some 60 million years earlier than the previously thought oldest - a bipedal reptile from the Permian first known from a fossil nammed Eudibamus found in Germany in 1995. Wow!

___________________________________________________________

Next...a puzzle.



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#136459 - 12/26/04 07:57 PM Re: Eudibamus Unknown
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
What a blast that must be, Milo, amazing – congratulations! Don't keep us in suspense over the next installment...


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#136460 - 12/26/04 10:50 PM Re: Eudibamus Unknown
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
great story milo--i have gone on fossil hunting trips (to the slag heaps of deep earth coal mines in pennsylvian)and unearhted mostly ferns and small leaves and stems..
Still, it is miraculous to pick up a rock and slip along the cracks, and split the rock --and find encase a perfect small fern.. waiting there, for me!

i liked going to the dolomite outcrop in Herkimer NY to find 'diamonds' too-- realy just quartz crystalls. but free formed ones, not locked into a geode matrix, but double ended crystals.

Yes, please continue your story.. (I hope your granddaughter now realizes you are the smartes paw-paw on earth!)

_________________________
my other obsession

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#136461 - 12/27/04 04:38 AM Re: Eudibamus Unknown
themilum Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/25/02
Posts: 1529
Loc: Aladamnbama the most watered s...
Thank you for your interest, Maverick, of troy, and Doctor Bill, but please be patient. I didn't interrupt my story as a literary device, I simply realized that I needed some time to gather some visuals so that you all might help me overcome some slight problems that arose in the interpretation of the tracks, namely, all six of the tracks seem to be of the left foot. But we will see...

Speaking of interpretation, Helen, if you cock your head just right and squint your brain, you'll see that those crystals that you speak of are only slightly dumber than viruses. Both replicate themselves in envioments that are conducive to their replication. Is life much more?

Don't go away I'll be back soon.

Milum


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#136462 - 12/27/04 05:32 AM Re: Eudibamus Unknown
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
This is fascinating. Will it be Eudibamus mili or will you go with E. neptis?


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#136463 - 12/27/04 09:49 AM Re: Eudibamus Unknown
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
if you need some web space to put up some pictures, PM me, and I can put them up. I would love to see them.

_________________________
formerly known as etaoin...

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#136464 - 12/27/04 06:58 PM Re: Eudibamus Unknown
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
> Eudibamus mili

Sounds more like Eudibamus monopod so far :)


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#136465 - 12/28/04 06:43 PM Re: Eudibamus monopod
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
It's common practice for the species name of a newly discovered species to be the genitive singular of the discoverer's name in Latin.

But you knew that.


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#136466 - 12/28/04 10:51 PM Re: Eudibamus monopod
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
Couldn't be other than singular Milo :)


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#136467 - 12/31/04 11:15 AM Re: Eudibamus monopod
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
In reply to:

some slight problems that arose in the interpretation of the tracks, namely, all six of the tracks seem to be of the left foot.



The bipod was hopping?

Do continue, please, Milo.


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