Relative size of whale to man.

This is a fin whale (or Rorqual). It’s the sixth-largest animal on earth, after the blue whale, right whales, and bowhead whale. Unlike those larger whales, the fin whale isn’t lumbering and girthy.

Rorquals were often called the “greyhound of the sea” by whale fishermen due to their slender build and speed when chased; nevertheless, the Antarctic fin whale had over 750,000 animals killed in the 19th and early 20th century, and only about 15,000 remain today. The North Atlantic fin whale is somewhat better off, but never had high populations of individuals to begin with. 

Even though fin whales don’t reproduce quickly, they’ve recovered significantly since hunting bans were enacted. For example, the population around Greenland increased by nearly 4,000 individuals between 1974 and 1989, even given Indigenous Subsistence Legislation allowing the Inuit of the country to hunt the whales for food and oil - the skiffs of the Inuit are ill-suited to chase down fast whales, and the total take for the year of 1989 was 4 individuals, 2 of which were already injured and debilitated from unknown causes.

The Principal Forms of the Skeleton and of the Teeth. Dr. Richard Owen, 1854.


SNEAK PEEK #2 | Grey’s Anatomy 12x09 - “The Sound of Silence”


Oni masks are used to seal devils within and have been scattered across Earth to ensure that Tarakudo and his generals never again rise to power. Users can each summon different tribes of Shadowkhan, but if all nine are together, spirits are set free, summoning enough Shadowkhan to engulf the planet in darkness. The burgundy mask calls forth Ninja Khan who are able to hold their own against the most professional martial artists. The purple mask calls Razor Khan who demonstrate remarkable agility and could essentially tear anything apart. The yellow mask summons Bat Khan who are capable of flight and blast beams of energy from their hands. The green mask calls Sumo Khan who are strong to the point where their strength can rival someone who bears the Ox Talisman; unlike other tribes, they cannot be destroyed easily unless they fall over or hit each other. The blue mask summons Samurai Khan who are expert swordsmen capable of slicing through any matter. The orange mask calls forth Squid Khan, snake-like creatures considered the scariest of the bunch. The black mask summons Crab Khan who show great power and speed, even when split in half. The olive mask calls Mini Khan, tiny sharks that can eat humans’ shadows, causing them to grow progressively in size. The red mask calls Mantis Khan, nimble critters that use their claws to cut and pierce through anything.

The Shadowkhan and the Oni Masks, by Richard Owen.


“I had this memory game when I was a kid. A bunch of cards face down, in rows. Each card has a picture. You turn one over, look at it, then you turn it back over. Then you have to try and remember where its matching card was. Sometimes, you have no idea, and other times it shows us exactly what we need to see. The cards seem completely out of order and random but you keep turning them over and the more cards you see, you get a sense of how everything fits together.”

Forearm of Giant Armadillo - Dasypus gigas (now Priodontes maximus)

Look at those crazy claws! The giant armadillo actually walks on that third digit. Though it walks “normally” on its hind legs, the fore-body weight rests on just those two giant scratchers. They developed that way to help the armadillo dig, but apparently they work for walking on, too…what happens if they break a nail?

  • Nomenclature (obsolete):
  1. Dasypus - From Ancient Greek dasupous, meaning “rough-foot” - though the -pus in the genus name can be elucidated to mean “foot,” das(y/u)- is not a commonly-used prefix and is not listed in most Greek/Latin root references.
  2. (Dasypus) gigas - Gigas - from the Ancient Greek gigas, meaning “giant”. However, gigas CURRENTLY means “a billion.” When the name of the genus was changed in the 1950s, the species name was changed, too, as the currently-accepted definition of gigas was no longer appropriate.
  3. Dasypus gigas - “Giant Rough-Foot”
  • Nomenclature (current):
  1. Priodontes: Prio - from the Latin prior - “before”, -dontes, from dent/dont, “tooth” - so Prio - dontes means “before teeth” - refers to the fact that the genus is completely toothless.
  2. (Priodontes) maximus: Maximus - from Latin maximum - “greatest, largest”, which is the superlative form of magnum - “great, large”.
  3. Priodontes maximus = “Largest before teeth”

On the Anatomy of Vertebrates: Vol II - Birds and Mammals. Richard Owen, 1866.


The remains of the skeleton of the Hylaeosaurus.  Disovered by Gideon Mantell in 1832 in the Tilgate Forest of Sussex.

4 different depictions:

Gideon Mantell, The Geology of the South-east of England. 1833.

Gideon Mantell, The Wonders of Geology. 1840.

Richard Owen, Geology and inhabitants of the ancient world. 1854.

Richard Owen, Monograph on the Fossil Reptilia of the Wealden Formation. Part IV. London: Paleontographical Society, 1857. Series: Paleontographical Society Volumes, vol. 10. (1856).