fossil age

PROBOSCIDEANS

Whilst we all know that modern elephants are beautiful and remarkable creatures, few may be familiar with the order of which they are from, Proboscidea. Proboscidea not only contains the elephantids, but a whole range of diverse mammals, some reaching magnificent sizes and each one more intriguing than the last.

Deinotherium 

Deinotherium quite literally means “terrible beast” and they trawled the savannah-like Miocene landscape. Deinotheriums most striking feature is certainly its menacing downward facing tusks, a complete skull found in the nineteenth century measured at just under a metre in length, the skull also showed very deep nasal bones suggesting it had a much wider and shorter trunk than modern elephants. The reason for the unusual orientation of the tusks has been debated, perhaps they were purely for attracting mates or maybe they had a vital role in stripping tree bark to eat. Deinotherium was quite a bit larger than modern elephants standing a whopping 4 metres tall (almost as tall as a double decker bus) and weighing in at an estimate 11-14 tonnes.

Palaeoxodon namadicus 

Palaeoxodon namadicus, otherwise known as the Asian straight-tusked elephant lived during the pleistocene. Little is known about these species and whether it is a species on its own rather than a subspecies within Palaeoxodon antiquus, yet is is known from a thigh bone over 5 foot in length which indicates a possible height of over 4.5 metres which would make Palaeoxodon namadicus the largest land mammal to have ever existed surpassing Deinotherium and Paraceratherium.

Gompotherium 

Gompotherium is another highly unusual member of the proboscidea. Gompotherium stood around 3 metres high and had 4 tusks extending straight from its jaw, the two bottom tusks are flattened and shovel-shaped leading to suggesting that they were used in digging and finding food. Gompotherium is believed to be the first of the proboscideans to escape its homeland and migrate towards north america, mammoths would eventually evolve from the shovel-tusked creature. Although they are unfamiliar to most, they were very successful and flourished in north america for over 10 million years (during the miocene and pliocene). Their demise coincides with the rise of todays modern elephants, perhaps they were outcompeted to extinction.

Stegodon

Stegodon stood at around 3.5 metres tall and weighing in a 12 tonnes, however it is not this beasts size that is hard to comprehend, but its enormous tusks which could reach a whopping 3 metres in length. Stegodons thrived in the golden age of elephants 11 million years ago, exactly when they died out is a mystery, some believe they contained to roam across north america as little as a few thousand years ago.

Mammoths

Mammoths are amongst the most recognisable prehistoric creatures, they were extremely successful and thrived during the ice age thanks to their masses of fur, migration patterns and small ears. They died out around 4500 years ago when the ice age came to an end, although it is widely thought that humans contributed to their reduction in numbers as we fed on their meat, wore their fur and used their immense tusks and skin for shelter. The largest known species of mammoths could reach 4 metres in height and weigh up to 7 or 8 tonnes and they travelled in herds much like modern elephants. Incredibly well preserved specimens have been found across the world in peat bogs and permafrost preserving skin, hair and some organs in immaculate condition, this has led to multiple projects hoping to bring back the mammoth, although this is still highly controversial.

Elephants

All modern elephants are the only relic from the glorious evolutionary history of the proboscideans that we have left. They can reach 4 metres in height and weigh up 7 tonnes. Their tusks are used in competing for mates as well as for feeding and the trunks, perhaps the most recognisable feature of any animal, are analogous to human hands, they are used to grab things, communicate and sense their environment. Elephants travel in close herds led by a matriarch and have been shown to display emotions of grief when a valued member dies, their social structure is incredibly sophisticated and complex, when a matriarchs reign is over, their is a specific order of individuals to take her place, usually the eldest daughter. Separate families of elephants have even been known to form bonds with each other and socialise in passing.
Elephants have long been attractive to humans, their skin has been sold, their tusks highly valued for decoration and medicine. Elephants have been relentlessly hunted by humans, so much so that in in the twentieth century their numbers declined by 74% in ten years. Over the last few decades multiple conservation efforts have been put in place to save these magnificent creatures from extinction, their population numbers have shown slight increases since the efforts began.

The proboscideans have been, and are still, one of the most remarkable groups in the animal kingdom. They have been incredibly successful since their first appearance over 40 million years ago, with only the elephants remaining we must save these wonderful animals from extinction for future generations to see and to continue the reign of one of the most spectacular dynasties in the animal kingdom.

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Green River formation fish! Eocene aged lake fossils found in Wyoming. I have one of these on my shelf!

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Fossilized wasp, from eocene aged sedimentary rocks in Denmark

Hyenas in the UK

Meet “Eric” a 125,000 (approx) year old hyena from the United Kingdom (Creswell Crags). Believe it or not but hyenas were extremely common in Pleistocene Britain, it is argued that in Britain the hyena was the top predator and seemingly over-powered the cave lion and other felines in sheer number as backed by the fossil record of fauna in the UK at the time. 

Pleistocene hyenas used to be named “Crocuta Crocuta Spelaea” (Cave Hyena), however it is now argued that they are simply a sub-species to the modern spotted hyena “Crocuta Crocuta” due to almost identical DNA and skeletal structure, with the only difference of size with the Pleistocene hyena being bigger overall and different limb measurements.

Pleistocene hyenas had a long reign in Britain from 125,000 to roughly 60,000 years ago (though the end date isn’t certain). Hyenas would have been a menace to Neanderthals/humans as both lived in close proximity to each other and would have shared resources. Though we know that the hyenas had the capability to kill and eat humans currently there is no solid evidence to back this, their diet mainly consisted of animals such as horse and reindeer. 

Here is the M1 carnassial tooth of a UK Pleistocene hyena, this specimen currently resides in my collection. It is illegal to take any Pleistocene age fossils in the UK, I came across this by chance and after talking to experts in the field I have been allowed to keep it which is a major honor (this is partly due to my job as a curator myself). This tooth was found in Tornewton Cave a place renowned for hyena remains numbering in the thousands. Sadly most of the collecting was done within the Victorian/Edwardian eras so important data was lost, and due to the Victorian mindsets of “if it isn’t perfect I don’t want it!” a lot of specimens like this tooth were handed out to private collectors. 

This tooth however sparked off an interest, I found information on UK Pleistocene hyenas to be lacking in context and the information to be rather outdated and dull. So I have decided to do a year long project all on UK hyenas which will be then published! It will mainly centre around the baby hyena “Eric” and Creswell Crags where he was found (the last photo shows the exact cave where he was discovered!). (I will post updates on here)

So there we go! rather English hyenas!

100% Accurate Avengers Descriptions
  • Steve: language dino
  • Natasha: Actual Queen
  • Tony: bby beneath bitchy exterior
  • Pietro: the fast one
  • Wanda: also Actual Queen but scarier
  • Bruce: precious bby
  • Clint: Snarky Queen
  • Thor: p cool
  • Loki: dick

Amber

Amber is not technically a crystal, but fossilized tree resin. It is an invigorating energy booster that provides enthusiasm and sharpens your thinking. In this way, this ‘stone’ is great at helping you achieve your goals.

Amber symbolizes life energy and holds the concentrated energy of the sun. It balances yin and yang energies and reminds us to honor and love the earth.

Amber is associated with the throat chakra and the archangels Jeremiel and Ariel.


Amber helps us with:

  • Improving memory
  • Boosting energy
  • Dispelling negative energy
  • Aligning aura with physical body
  • Aura cleansing
  • Removing negativity from one’s aura
  • Increasing vitality
  • Addictions
  • Neutralizing effects of anesthetic
  • Laryngitis
  • Pain relief
  • Asthma
  • Breathlessness
  • Bronchitis
  • Backache
  • Constipation
  • Coughs
  • Fluid retention
  • Hay fever
  • Gallbladder
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Ovaries
  • Pancreas
  • Throat
  • Toothache
  • Vocal cords
  • Ears


Please note: none of this is intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any specific illness or ailment, yadda, yadda. Please see your doctor if you have anything going on medically…etc.

Native copper infiltrating wood

We recently shared (see http://on.fb.me/1Ot7Ms1) a piece of mine timber from an old copper mine in Arizona that was partially replaced by the copper carbonate azurite, precipitated from the waters percolating through the metal rich mine. In this sample, from the antique copper mines of Troodos in Cyprus that fuelled the Bronze Age around the Mediterranean (see http://on.fb.me/1Oleeph), a slice of trunk has been infiltrated by copper rich waters, and the pure native metal has precipitated within its grain, each zone surrounded by a faint green area tinged with copper oxides.

Loz

Image credit: LGF Foundation

AMMONITE FOSSILS

I didn’t know too much about these beautiful stones until i researched them in Slovenia. They are extinct mollusk shells in a coiled spiral form. They are as old as the dinosaurs and are found in fossils of marine rocks! It is a great stone for earth healing and is linked to the Base/Root Chakra. 

  • For protections, relaxation and birthing pains 
  • Enables you to see the whole picture
  • Activates Kundalini & life path energies
  • Attracts wealth, prosperity & success 
  • Draws away negative energies
  • Aids blood pressure & ear problems
  • Increases stamina & vitality 
  • Lifts depression 

Fossils 

Folk names: Sponge, Witch Stone, ammonite, snake stone, draconites

Energy: Receptive

Element: Akasha

Powers: Elemental power, past-life regression, protection, longevity

Magical/ritual lore: Fossils are the remains- or the negative impressions- of ancient creatures and plants that perished millions of years ago. Through eons they have been transformed into stone. Because they were once alive, fossils are linked with Akasha, the fifth element. 

In the mystic language of the psychic mind, fossils represent time, eternity, and evolution. They are a tangible example of how nothing in nature- not even prehistoric sea creation- is wasted. Energy cannot be destroyed, only manifestations of energy. Matter is transmutable. 

The ritual use of fossils is ancient. Fossils have been found in Neolithic burial sites in Europe. Why were they placed there? We can only speculate. Protection? Guidance to the other world? Assurance of rebirth?

Fossils are used as power tools by shamans throughout the world to amplify energy. Many contemporary Wiccans place them on their altars because of their mystic significance.

Magical uses: Though not stones in the usual sense of the word, the minerals that replace the ancient creatures and plants create rock-like substances, and so fossils have a definite place in a work of stone and crystal magic.

In general, fossils are used as protective objects. They are placed in the home, or fashioned into jewelry and worn to increase your natural defenses. In Morocco, stones embedded with fossils are carried for protective purposes.

Due to their enormous age, fossils of all types are also worn as amulets to increase the life span.

They can be placed in the altar as symbols of the Earth and the ambiguity of time, or to increase the power of magical rituals.

Some types of fossils have specific magical uses.

Ammonites (pictured), known in the Middle Ages as draconites, are fossilized, spiral shaped sea animals. Due to their bizarre appearance, they were thought to be stones removed from dragon’s heads, and were bound to the left arm for magical protection. In more recent times in Britain, they were known as “snake stones”.

Ancient sponges, sometimes found in Britain, are known as “Witch stones”. They are round and pierced through with a natural hole. These fossils are strung and worn like beads or hung in the house for protection.

Fossilized sand dollars, which show a natural five-point design, are often found on Wiccan altars. They are linked with the pentagram, an ancient protective symbol, and the elements. Because they and all fossils are ruled by Akasha, the fifth element, these ancient sand dollars are carried or used in magic to gain awareness of the realms of earth, air, fire, and water. Once this has been achieved, elemental magic can begin.

(Source: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic)

(Photo source: http://www.spiritualstoresindia.com/shopping123/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=77)

Some of these fish I see on stores… As beautiful as they can be people have no idea what they’re getting into.

Archer fish: brackish with special diet and housing. Will die in typical tropical aquariums.

SA arowana: 4’ jumpers… No place in an average aquarium… If you’re doing massive customs… Well all the power to you.

bichir: beautiful personality fish! But even the smallest varieties reach a foot in length. They’re belligerent predators. Great prehistoric fish, needs a specialty setup to thrive as an adult.

bucktooth tetra: I’ve seen these available in my saltwater store as piranha tetra/wolf tetra. They are beautiful, lively fish, but must be in a species only and in 12+ schools. They grow bigger making this hard. They’ll kill any fish regardless of aggression level or size. This includes eachother if they’re allowed to focus.

African butterfly fish: often brought to fish stores in poor condition. They have a poor survival rate unless specialty care is taken.

chaca catfish: not the prettiest fish. They’re venomous, aren’t afraid to sting you and will eat anything the width of their head. I’ve seen these as babies labled Sandy catfish due to their appearance. You don’t want one in your tank.

Chinese algae eater: once older they suck at eating algae and rather eat other fish. At a foot long that’s not a hard task.

cichla and pike cichlid: Big fish with special diet and care. They’ll outgrow most if not all aquariums, can’t have tankmates and require handmade diets. You don’t want these cool fish in your average cichlid tank.

electric catfish: Actually a dangerous fish. They shock strong and will send any fish with them flying. They also get big making them very hard to keep and manage.

mormyridae fish: These are your elephant fish, your knife fish. They can be cared for and are quite rewarding. But they require special diets and setups that are often large. Most normal or beginner aquarium owners will lose them or their other fish fast.

Flagtails: I saw these at my local petsmart labled as some sort of shark. Pretty when young. They get big, ate hyper, and can jump feet into the air. They leave most tanks in shambles even at a young age.

fossil cats: venomous and can cause a lot of harm even at an inch in length. They’re starting to become banned in a lot of places and should just be avoided.

giant gourami: I’ve seen them labled as whale gourami, grey gourami and goramy. They will almost always excced 2’ and are becoming more popular. Most people can’t deal with the size and dump them.

iridescent sharks: You wanted a “shark” You got one 4’ and up to 100lbs… Just try to manage one in your aquarium. They’re also catfish so will eat everything and sting.

pacu: The veggie Piranha. They grow massive and weigh 60 pounds. Most people will kill and eat them once they’re no longer able to be handled.

piranha: restricted in many places, I still see them for sale though. They get a fair size, need big schools, will kill and eat most anything…. But despite all that are very shy and lazy fish. Most people get bored once the predatory kick wares off and they become a lot of work.

pufferfish: not for a community. Most are brackish and require special diets and care. Some species can get bigger too. Do your research.

redtail catfish: Haha… They have personalities, but when adults are measured in feet, you should be worried.

rope fish: or Reed fish. Another one of those that grow big but can be managed. Do your research as they do have special care and tank requirements.

silver dollar: they need large tanks to thrive. They lose their appeal as adults. They can’t be housed with smaller fish or plants.

tiger shovel catfish: They get very large, are predators and are very easily spooked and startled often causing them to die of concussion damage.

shark catfish: I’ve seen them sold as silver sharks. They need a slow transition from fresh to marine water as they grow. They’ll rip the scales off of other fish regardless of size.

if you have any more feel free to add them. Theses are all fish I’ve seen being sold in stores or on local ads.

QUESTIONNAIRE, QUESTIONNAIRE.

Full name: Gilgamesh.
Other names: the Wise King of Uruk.
Occupation: King. Heroic Spirit.
Age: a fossil. Appears late 20s.
Gender: Male.
Sexuality: Pansexual.
Origin: Uruk.
Current location: Chaldea Organisation / verse dependent.
Nationality: Sumerian.
Ethnicity: Sumerian.
Spoken languages: Sumerian, Akkadian & every other language provided by the Grail.
Religion: Polytheistic.

Height: 182 cm.
Body type: Athletic, a little more on the slim side with less defined muscles but nevertheless the embodiment of physical beauty.
Eyes: All shades of red ( changes with mood and lighting ). Generally crimson.
Tattoos: None, but many mistake the seals ( purple flowers ) on each arm as tattoos.
Piercings: Three per ear ( two earlobes, one cartridge ), but usually only wears one pair of earrings.
Social media: None, but he would have a nature photography blog.

Smoking: He’ll try everything once but generally doesn’t smoke.
Drinking: Yes, lots of fine wine, tea and coffee.
Athletics: More interested in observing.
Hobbies: Reading, observing, refining his magic and other skills, smirking, and general feline behaviour.
Virgin: No.
Favorite drink: Wine, tea and coffee.
Favorite food: Tiramisu. 
Favorite music: Classical / instrumental / a cappella / anything that catches his attention.
Clothing style: Anything that compliments his natural beauty ( so just about everything ). Casual ( modern ) clothing is generally a semi-formal / smart casual style with a monochrome + red / gold palette. You’ll never see him without a pair of earrings and his signature red eyeliner though.
Underwear type: whatever the thing in the top right corner is ( semi-nsfw image ). it’s hard to say - v -

Tagged by: @nordiixa & @voyvodas ( tyvm!! o w o / )
Tagging: @hekigankiseki, @searching-mage, @mortalshinobi, @paradiseburnt, @solisnumen, @prismatic-homunculus, @vesselking, @ventusdraconis & everyone else!

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Devonian aged trilobite fossil from Kuwait, nice shots.

German Dog Breeds: The Spitz. Several modern breeds have come from the Spitz, including the Keeshond/Wolfsspitz, the Großspitz, the American Eskimo Dog, Miniature Spitz, Pomeranian, etc. The German Spitz is usually either black, gold, cream or white. They have many physical features found in the oldest stone age fossil dogs of Central Europe, leading experts to believe that the Spitz is the oldest dog type. However, modern genetic evidence places them in a much more recent lineage - the Wolfsspitz goes back to the 1800s. The German Spitz was later brought to the USA, and was renamed American Eskimo Dog due to the widespread anti-German sentiment during WW1.

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How come I’ve never found anything this cool in my backyard?

Mastodon Bones Discovered In Michigan Man’s Yard

A contractor at a Michigan home noticed a rib sticking out of the ground and over a four day period they excavated over 50 bones of a 10-14 thousand year old Mastodon.  Mastodon’s are a slightly smaller cousin of the Woolly Mammoth and lived during the ice age.  The remains they found show signs of being butchered by early humans.  Over the years hundreds of Mastodon bones have been found in Michigan and it’s even the state fossil.

Be sure to follow the Fossil Porn Tumblr blog for more amazing fossil photos and news stories.

This fearsome Fossil Friday appeared in early cave paintings!

Ursus spelaeus is a cave bear that lived 14,000 years ago. Cave bears, although related to the largest living bears the Arctic, lived only in Europe. Cave finds in the Alps are evidence that the bears’ habitat extended up to altitudes of 6,300 feet. Most of the tens of thousands of remains found are of young and old animals that died during hibernation. Skull accumulations and depictions in cave paintings show that the bears were important to ice age humans.

This fossil is located in the Hall of Advanced Mammals.

AMNH/D.Finnin

A Draft Happens.
  • MRAs: It's completely unfair that, while women have the unconditional right to vote, men [in the United States] are required to sign their bodies away to this archaic compulsory military service called The Draft, or Selective Service. Either everybody should sign up for it, or nobody should.
  • Feminists: We agree, The Draft is clearly a fossil of a bygone age. That's why we're going to mock your every attempt to change it.
  • MRAs: Wait, why? I thought that traditional gender roles and things being seen as "men's jobs" needed to die out as quickly as possible! Surely if nothing else, we agree on that?
  • Feminists: Don't worry, the last draft was like forever ago, the likelihood of it coming back is minimal. It's not a REAL issue or anything.
  • MRAs: But it COULD come back at any time, because despite it being a fossil, nobody got rid of it.
  • Feminists: Lol, MRAs. Always complaining about the littlest things that don't even matter.
  • *Women may be required to sign up for the draft*
  • Feminists: *panicking* Oh my GOD, this is AWFUL. Women's bodies will literally be regulated by the government!
  • MRAs: Well, we told you so.
  • Feminists: We must get rid of it immediately!... for women.
  • MRAs: Exa- wait, what? You don't seriously mean that after having the very real prospect of the draft forced on you, you still can't see why we want to abolish it for men??
  • Feminists: Well, men are stronger than women!
  • MRAs: But you... actually, keep talking.
  • Feminists: And women give birth to people, so they're more important in that respect, and really they're a lot better off staying at home...
  • MRAs: Keeeeep going...
  • Feminists: And men and women aren't REALLY equal!
  • MRAs: Bingo.
  • MRAs: We've known that you've thought this way for YEARS, but nobody ever listened because "it's literally about equality!" was somehow a more convincing argument. But you don't want equality - perhaps you once did, but not anymore. What you want is all the benefits and freedoms for women that society can afford them on the assumption that women are capable and independent, but all the protections society can afford them on the assumption that they're the weaker sex. You are gender traditionalists with a shiny new "this benefits women"-coloured coat of paint.
  • MRAs: ...are we at least going to abolish this thing now, or what?
A Dire Wolf For Fossil Friday!

One of the most iconic fossil canines of all time has got to be the dire wolf. Known to science long before the similarly named animal characters in the Game of Thrones, today the best record of dire wolf populations comes from the tar pits of Los Angeles, California. 

This is a dire wolf skull excavated from the La Brea tar pits, one of several tar pit predator specimens in our fossil collection (the majority of Ice Age fossils from the tar pits is curated in California). The dire wolf was about the same size as modern grey wolves, but the former had a more robust skeleton. These top dogs represent the pinnacle of pursuit predators in the evolutionary history of dogs, having leg joints specialized for long-distance running, with a range of motion restricted to a single plane for increased efficiency. They lived in North America at the same time as large hoofed mammals such as camels, horses, bison, and gigantic ground sloths (a skeleton of which is visible in the background), none of which were easy prey. Evidence of the intensity of predation, or perhaps competition with other dire wolves, can be gleaned from healed injuries such the blow to the top of the braincase that this animal survived prior to being laid to rest in its asphaltic grave. 

New research heavily based on the Museum’s fossil dog collection—the largest of its kind in the world—shows how dogs evolved in response to a cooling, drying climate in North America over the last 40 million years. Learn more about this new research. 

Image: AMNH/J.Tseng, posted on Instagram as part of the #TsengTakeover