Surfing The Wierd

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Mighty Mantids @ National Geographic Magazine

Text and photographs by Mark W. Moffett
These ferocious insects are masters of disguise, outwitting their prey (if not always their predators).
Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt. She seems almost human, this mantid (above) I found in West Africa. She has such alert eyes, and her head tilts to follow me. But she is pure menace to any prey that happens to wander within range of those huge forelegs, which can snap shut like bear traps. Most of the roughly 1,800 species of mantids—often called praying mantises—spend their time sitting and waiting, seemingly at prayer. In fact, I learned as I pursued them across four continents, they are among the insect world's craftiest hunters. Sphodromantis lineola, 3.5 inches (8.9 centimeters) Mantids, like many spiders, eat their mates when or after copulating. What a way to go!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gomphothere - ancient elephant kin
  1. Short article and picture of gomphothere elephant, from the Natural History ... Description of a Gomphothere exhibit from the website of Sierra College ... - Cached
  2. The Gomphotheres are a diverse group of extinct elephant-like animals (proboscideans) that were widespread in North America during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, 12-1.6 million years ago. Some also lived in parts of Eurasia and Beringia, and following the Great American Interchange, in South America. From about 5 million years ago onwards, they were slowly replaced by modern elephants, but the last South American species did not finally become extinct until as recently as 400 CE[1].

    Gomphothere remains are common at South American Paleo-indian sites.[2] One example is the early human settlement at Monte Verde, Chile, dating to approximately 14,000 years ago.

  3. The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
  4. A gomphothere is a four-tusked relative of mastodons which are in turn distantly ... two curved upper tusks, the gomphothere had four straight tusks, two upper, ... - Cached
  5. GOMPHOTHERE FOSSILS TEETH JAW FOSSIL... jaw of a Pliocene era Gomphothere Cuvieronius tropicus, a bizarre prehistoric ... original teeth and the final set of molars the gomphothere grew prior to death. ...


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Monday, May 5, 2008

Photo: Beipaosaurus fossil

Beipiaosaurus Fossil, China, 1999

Photograph by O. Louis Mazzatenta

The Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, part of the Academia Sinica in Beijing, houses the fossilized teeth of the dinosaur Beipiaosaurus. The prehistoric reptile lived in the Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago.

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Feathers for T. Rex," November 1999, National Geographic magazine)

Buy a print of this photo.