Tuesday, May 27, 2014

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path

Trumpeter.
The Indiana State Museum has a temporary exhibit called "Ice Age Giants", running through August 17th, on Pleistocene Proboscidea, a fair number of which have been unearthed in the Hoosier State.
Apparently this is dead elephant country.
 This has led to the state museum having a heffalump ossuary as well-stocked with Jumbo bones as the Roman catacombs are with lion table scraps.
Dem bones, dem bones...
...dem dry bones.
There's a gloomy nook with a metal replica of a Clovis spear affixed in place, pointing at the darkness of the far wall at a 45° angle, and a placard instructing you to lightly grasp the spear. When you do, the far wall lights up with the image of a mastodon in the swirling snow. It notices you and bellows, the ground beneath your feet trembling first to its trumpet and then, as it charges into the screen like some berserk NatGeo version of a FATS simulator, to the thud of its pounding feet.

These things are freakin' big.
And before the parts of your brain that know algebra and sonnets can react, your inner monkey is wishing for something other than the thin reed in your hand. Specifically, something that can throw fire and thunder at the pissed-off wall of fur bearing down on you out of the picture. If you could figure out a way to profit on whelk shells back here in the 21st Century, you could probably make a pretty penny smuggling .458 Win Mags back to the Clovis people. I bet they'd be enthusiastic adopters.

22 comments:

staghounds said...

http://home1.stofanet.dk/ulrichbrorson/write_that_spot_down.jpg

ASM826 said...

Once there is time travel, maybe fresh mastodon steaks and roasts would turn a tidy profit on the exchange. I'm thinking anything that would penetrate, from 30.06 on up, would be a big seller.

Bob said...

You should have taken the opportunity to put up a BEWARE OF SLEESTAK sign. ;)

James Sullivan said...

ASM826,

Just be sure to stay on the levitating walkway. Or all hell will break loose.

Kevin said...

Well, you could profit on clean, fresh mastodon ivory for grips and carvers. A nice Muskox horn for the black powder shooters in your life, and maybe a Smilodon kitten for the cottage.

Paul said...

Yeah, but the dems would make it that you could only go back and kill ones that where already dieing. So you don't affect the time line.

Still, would be a change for the hunter vs the hunted.

I'm interested in what sort of havoc they will create when they make an elephant spawn a mastodon.

Firehand said...

Used to know someone who tended to think "What's the big deal with hunting? With a gun, ANYTHING is easy to kill." Till she came around a corner at a range and came face-to-face with the medium-size African lion mounted in a snarl. Made her reconsider her opinion.

Sigman said...

Can't remember the specifics but there was a SciFi short story titled "What Gun For Dinosaur."

Rey Brandt said...

I was lucky enough to attend a dig in Culver 5 years ago. A retired science teacher was expanding a pond on his property and uncovered part of a Mastodon. By the time it was done the count was 2 Mastodon and a giant ground sloth. I run the Nature portion of Culver Military Academy Woodcraft Camp and we took busloads of kids over to see it. The Indiana Museum folks running the dig were excellent about explaining things to the kids.

RevolverRob said...

Tam - This post reminded me - Weren't there several books about going back in time and hunting/collecting that you had recommended over the years? I remember picking up one on a recommendation, but I cannot remember if there were others.

Also, vis-a-vis time travel, I honestly think you'd find the paleontologists and archeologists getting into fist-fights across the land to decide who goes back first. Frankly, I bet the paleontologists win, because we've been killing things dead for more than a century to get skeletons, and mostly with guns (and as a result most of us still have guns).

-Rob

TJIC said...

> , you could probably make a pretty penny smuggling .458 Win Mags back to the Clovis people. I bet they'd be enthusiastic adopters.

Well, there are no mastadons now.

Maybe this trade already has / will happen.

Anonymous said...

Oh, god. This is going to turn into a "what gun for Mastodon" discussion isn't it?

Ok.

Having known someone who got charged by a mature African bull elephant while committing the crime of "being in a land rover, too close" and only managing a get away because the driver perfectly willing to lose the suspension and didn't miss any shifts, or take his foot off the accelerator at any time...

I will take his comment as gospel: "What you desperately want as it starts to get close enough to see his eye vascularization and feel his breath, is a semi-automatic fully stabilized anti-tank cannon. Mounted in an armored vehicle weighing at least as much as a elephant."

Noah said...

Then, add to all that the fact that with those thin reeds and stone points (and a bunch of other tools), they went out looking for those animals, found them, and killed them.

Pretty bad-ass monkeys, we are.

Anonymous said...

Rather than shells, I'd go for live specimens of animals extinct in our time. "How many rifles for a live Smilodon, there, Grook?"

There might be a small risk of A Sound of Thunder scenario playing out. Which, it sort of feels like that's happening anyhow, these days.

Mike James

mikee said...

At a city park in Vernal, UT, just before one arrives at Dinosaur National Monument, there is a big sand pit for the kids to play in.

Buried about 2 feet down are several very large dinosaur bone replicas.

My kids and I spent a half hour happily excavating every bone in that sand pit. I heartily recommend it to all.

As to the great woolies, get back to me when the cloning experiments are successful. I would gladly pay a small fortune to ride one around the zoo.

Stretch said...

Damn! How many gallons of BBQ sauce is that critter gonna take?

Critter said...

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Safari-David-Drake/dp/0523485417/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401222721&sr=1-2&keywords=david+drake+dinosaurs

Critter said...

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Safari-David-Drake/dp/0523485417/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401222721&sr=1-2&keywords=david+drake+dinosaurs

Ed said...

Not "what gun for mastodon?",
but "what gun for heffalump?"

Anonymous said...

howdy, a half a dozen years ago I was working on a paleo digging crew. mostly n. e. Wyoming. my boss, a monied fellow bought a mastodon (still in the bog) from an Indiana farmer. we ventured from Wyoming to Indiana to start the dig and I went into culture shock! (we're from sunny, dry, arid Arizona). I never saw so much green in my living days. and the restaurant we ate at (in Plymouth) served a whopping 3 pork chops on the meal plate! Indiana is a whole different world!

NotClauswitz said...

And the earth SHOOK!

OldTexan said...

I don't remember how we got into the discussion but I had a customer in Dallas some years ago who told me about her come to Jesus moment with a Bull Elephant while doing photography in Africa.

She thought it would be a great experience for her two grade school kids to tag along on a photo shoot in Africa. She said she was taking some cute antelope mom and baby pictures when she turned around and saw a bull elephant moving towards them between them and their Range Rover.

The woman said she was terrified for herself and her children while the Elephant communicated that he did not appreciate their presence with a lot of foot movement and noise before he decided to move on.

That's about all I remember except that she said it changed her perspective about cute wildlife, forever.