Hey, you gotta hand it to those dolphins. They just wanted it more.

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If whales were just a little more butch, maybe so many of them wouldn't be endangered. Here's some encouraging news from the dark past: "Savage ancient whale was 'marine T-rex,' researchers say."


More surprising still, this sharp-toothed, big-eyed, sonar-lacking, submersible ass-kicker was an ancestor of that gentle giant of the deep, the baleen whale. A 25-million-year-old janjucetus hunderi skull fossil discovered in the late 1990s by an Australian surfer sheds new light on the evolution of the deep-thinking sulphur bottom that eats plankton through bristles.

The janjucetus hunderi is just one of a treasure trove of fossils discovered Down Under in recent years, all of them weird enough to support my theory that Australia, not Pluto, should be considered another planet. There's a "devil wallaby"; a flesh-eating, sabre-toothed kangaroo; an 882-pound "demon duck of doom"; and a marsupial lion with an opposable thumb and retractable claw that one scientist, determined to torture his Jurassic Park metaphors, calls "the velociraptor of the mammal world." Of course, these are all mentioned in the Book of Genesis; you just have to find a good translation.

Ishmael gives a solid tutorial in cetology.

The whales may need some ultimate fighting skills: It turns out they probably ain't all that smart.

Could we send Kirk and the gang back to rescue a couple t-rex whales to talk with the aliens?

And what's Michael Crichton got against theme parks anyway?

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  1. “Savage ancient whale was ‘marine T-rex,’ researchers say.”
    Sounds like publicist talk, since, based on the size, a modern killer whale could eat one of ’em in a few bites, if not whole.

  2. I’m listening to Penn Radio, where Penn has been talking about bringing back the mammoth. Most of the callers wanted to bring it back only to return it to extinction (with firearms). Anyway, when the conversation got back to Monkey Tuesday (every Tuesday is Monkey Tuesday), Penn came up with a great way to sneak into events. Dress up in a higher-end gorilla suit. Good thing terrorists don’t listen to Penn Radio, huh? ‘Cause that’s a great idea. “Um, yeah, I’m part of a gag they’re doing–where do I go?”

  3. “a marsupial lion with an opposable thumb and retractable claw ”

    So THAT is where the Kzinti come from!

  4. So THAT is where the Kzinti come from!

    Look out! Drone attack!

    Oh wait, those are Star Fleet Battle’s Kzinti rather than Niven’s Known Space Kzinti.

  5. I’m not that impressed by the “demon duck of doom”.

  6. “Oh wait, those are Star Fleet Battle’s Kzinti rather than Niven’s Known Space Kzinti.”

    And with that statement, H&R’s nerd factor just went through the stratosphere. (Although I must admit to owning several Star Fleet Battle publications myself — I used them in conjunction with my FASA Star Trek RPG campaign.)

  7. I actually still own Star Fleet Battles, though I haven’t played it in 20 years. I do occasionally play a PC game called Star Trek: Armada II, which is vaguely related to the old “board” game.

  8. Orcas are dolphins.

    Yeah, but dolphins are whales.

  9. Bigger pictures of the “T-rex whale,” and some interesting text, here at the Web site of Australian paleoartist Brian Choo:

    http://www.geocities.com/ozraptor4/janjucetus.html

    Unfortunately, it’s a Geoshitty site — my exploring about 10 pages apparently caused the site to “exceed its [laughable] data transfer limit,” so you may have to wait a while before it’s available again.

  10. You ought to try Federation Commander, which is SFB-lite. No pre-turn energy-accounting, turns shortened to 8 impluses… it plays a lot faster than SFB, the game that caused me to go running to Full Thrust after a game with an impluse that lasted 4 hours to play out.

  11. Ishmael gives a solid tutorial in cetology.

    Whew, Moby Dick still sucks.

  12. Akira,

    Probably the last time I played SFB was my freshman year in college, when my roommate and I staged a Klingon invasion of the Federation. Before the war began, we both thought he had the advantage. But it turns out that photon torpedoes at long range are a nasty deterrent. Nasty. As he approached my first fleet and starbase, I knocked out three of his largest ships. So sorry 🙂 That game took a week.

    Now, ask me what classes I had that semester–I have no idea.

  13. Orcas are dolphins.

    Yeah, but dolphins are whales.

    Whatever they are, dolphins are tricky bastards

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