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(OOPS OFF-POST) SHARKS, APOLOGY TO JERRY ETC



Firstly, regarding some recent postings of mine, I would like to clear some
things up.

I strongly implied that the ichnites Jerry is/was studying are the _same_ ones
that Dale Russell discussed in 'Odyssey' and that David Norman mentioned in
TIED. This was an error on my part, and I didn't mean to imply that it is the
case - as I'm probably wrong! Sorry Jerry.

SHARKS

1) The greatest authenticated size for the Basking shark is _not_ about 6 metres
(as I previously stated), but... a whopping great 12.27 metres long! This
specimen, caught (and presumably killed) in the Bay of Fundy, tipped scales at
16 tonnes! The Zuiyo maru carcass (I've decided to plump for a more Japanese
spelling) may well, therefore, have been a Basking shark after all (it was about
10 metres long)
2) The whale shark - which I referred to as _Rhinodon typus_ - is, according to
an ICZN ruling, now _Rhincodon typus_. Previously, _Rhinodon_, _Rhineodon_,
_Rhinciodon_ and other variations had all been used (all, of course, mean the
same thing anyway).
3) We have rumours of a giant shark from the Cret. of the US, possibly Kansas
or thereabouts, here. Can anybody give me any help with reference chasing?

There's an awful lot of people out there interested in _Carcharodon megalodon_.
I promise I'll reply to you all (ee-gads!) [you'd think Jim Farlow would have
better ways to spend his time..... no offence intended].

CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBIT

During my tour of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, we were told this charming
little anecdote:

"I asked the children how they knew this dinosaur (the megalosaur) was
carnivorous. 'By the look in its eye', a boy replied."

I wasn't too interested in the Crystal Palace animals - until I saw them. All
the little details that Owen and Hawkins put into the exhibits really make the
whole thing fascinating, but if you don't go round with a guide you'll miss 
loads of little details. 

Owen did intend to have dodos, moas, and even extant animals like big cats,
snakes and a terrapin, on the islands, but they never got finished. The two
small _Pterodactylus_ are missing (possibly used for target practise when the
area was used as army barracks), and the bigger ones that remain have
reconstructed, rather than original, wings. For those of you with the Mitchell
and Rickard book 'Living Wonders', look on the title page and you will see Dr.
B. Heuvelmans posing with one of these pterosaurs. It was one of my ambitions
to do likewise for a photo, but, now that I have visited Crystal Palace, I know
that you can no longer walk right up to and play with (most of) the models. Just
as well for them I suppose: some of the mammals, an anoplothere and a paleothere
if I remember rightly, are missing also, and the antlers of the _Megaloceros_
have been broken off (the intention was to have real fossil _M_ antlers on the
model, but they have now been replaced by plaster ones). 

At the time Owen supervised the models, 'cheirothere' ichnites were thought to
belong to labyrinthodonts, so aside one of the labyrinthodonts were numerous
'cheirothere' prints. However, these have also been all but destroyed, and only
one print is left! A megathere reaching into the canopy of a tree, and
supporting its weight by embracing the tree, now has cracked arms. The tree has
grown too big for the embrace.

Rounding off, I was unaware of the way in which Owen and Hawkins cleverly
designed the exhibit to educate people about geology. There are bits were strata
are being diagrammatically laid down (unfortunately, part of this was blasted
by dynamite during the 60s by the then site-owners). Also, all the animals are
standing on pieces of the rock their fossils were actually found in! 
There is a book that goes into detail on all this, and I can site it if anyone
wants. There's also a set of little metal badges that depict the Crystal Palace
animals. Only the _Iguanodon_ is available at present, but the _Megalosaurus_
comes out in a couple of weeks.  

Sorry for going on so much. Bye now.

"Do you have any famous last words?"  "Not yet!"  "'Not yet'? Is that famous?"

DARREN 'wearing an _Amargasaurus cazaui_ t-shirt' NAISH