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Beastly DML field notes
April 1, 2004 - Ship's log of the DML thrill of a lifetime voyage for money,
adventure and fame.
Tim Williams missed the 6 a.m. sailing, but had no worries as an Australian
swimming after the ship, fighting off crocodiles and Steve Irwin's baby. Tim
was sceptical of the trip, saying, "I have the original description, but it is
in Chinese (which I am unable to read)." Dann Pigdon grumbled, "Hunting is a
risky business anyway (regardless of whether you trip or not), but most risks
are worth taking to avoid starvation."
Finally landing on Skol Island, we heard the indigenous people shouting so we
pushed Nick Pharris to the front. He said he knew the dialect, "Hm. Half
Mandarin, half Latinized Greek. Ugh," but thought they were saying "Hong
Kong." David Marjanovic said he knew they were mispronouncing the words but
was pretty sure we weren't in Hong Kong "and the x has a fricative component,
too. Let's see... s, sh and ch as in Loch Ness at the same time. :-} More s
than sh in some parts of China, vice versa in others... yes, it is difficult."
Dan Varner and Rich Travsky led our group because they always knew what was
going to happen before it happened. Dan said he thought he might have been
there before, when the island was first formed. Rich particularly enjoyed
pushing people off the log that spanned a chasm. Greg Paul and John Hutchinson
kept trying to get the animal herds to run, so we had to send them back to the
ship. Jaime Headden protested the pace of the expedition, saying that the
"little steps are often the hardest to take."
Jim Cunningham was carried off by a Quetzalcoatlus but bargained for his
freedom through promising an Easter nest egg filled with David Peters and Dave
Unwin. Dino magnet Tom Holtz was abducted so many times that we decided to
leave him. His last words were, "My $0.02. Off to the Proterozoic..." Ken
Carpenter gave the warning, "Remember that where you are buried does not
necessarily mean where you lived." Agreeing, Phil Bigelow cryptically said,
"... whether or not Jimmy Hoffa will fossilize depends entirely on how and
where he was deposited." We all said eeuwww, but Donna Braginetz noted that it
was, "A sobering reminder for folks who like to indulge in a little scientific
scavenging now and then..."
Colin McHenry postulated that "One problem facing any future work on this topic
is that the specimens are not in a public collection." Ralph Miller's comment
"Does anyone out there know what building this is, and how the sauropod is
wrapped onto its surface?" sort of startled us. Before we lost sight of him
too, MariusRomanus yelled, "I'm getting carried away... What to get out of all
of that? How about this..." We were losing crew members but Mickey Mortimer
offered, "I can send both these as pdf's if you want."
Something was now pursuing us, and the tree canopy seemed an escape option.
Scott Hartman volunteered, "I can confirm that most brachiating primates
species occasionally have individuals fall to their deaths," and Mike Keesey
added, "Or are they just saying that what goes up must come down? Like, okay,
you got up the tree using WAIR ... now how are you gonna get down??" We didn't
have an answer to that so things were grim on escaping the terror when Tommy
Tyrberg volunteered a plan: "It is the one used by the critters themselves,
but of course they haven't studied cladistics." No one could argue with that,
though Tommy Bradley asked, "Is it not true that any prehistoric creature has
to be in 'just the right place' and at 'just the right time'..." True, but
Bill Hinchman said, "There seems to be a mix 'n match system in place with
different people going in different directions."
Trying to summarize our predicament, Dan Benson said, "Either something's not
right here, or Antarctica was a really crappy place to live 65 million years
ago." Jeff Hecht protested, "This is a story that I suspect will not be
covered extensively by the savvy science press because it's not real news."
Jordan Mallon disagreed, "I'm not trying to challenge your method... I'm
inquiring about it." Mike Taylor decided to strike out on his own but
reappeared, saying, "Have I missed anything that's come out recently?" Peter
Markman said, "This is the greatest bummer of them all, of course..." Mike
Habib said ominously that "Amongst vertebrates, snakes pose quite a problem.
They mate and produce fertile offspring between recognized genera." That
thought made us very uncomfortable.
Finally, we came to a large fence, on which Mark Hallett was already painting
murals. We opened the gate, but the creature inside was dead. Dan Varner
said, "Well...the airplanes got him." I cried, "Oh, no. It wasn't the
airplanes. It was Jack Black Beauty killed the Beast." Sadly, all attempts to
preserve the creature failed due to miscasting.
Mary Kirkaldy, captain of the S. S. Venture