Prehistoric Man and His Petrifying Pets – WIF World

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Terrifying Animals

That Lived Alongside

Prehistoric Man

hunting-the-cave-bear

Hunting the Cave Bear by Zdenek Burian

Our species, Homo sapiens, have only been around for about as long as a blink of an eye in terms of Earth’s history. It’s believed that the Earth formed over 4.6 billion years ago, and the first humans evolved about 200,000 years ago in Africa.

 In order to survive so that modern humans could flourish, our prehistoric ancestors had to fight off and hunt animals that were much bigger and far stronger than them. These are 10 horrifying animals that they may have encountered as humans migrated all over the world.

10. The Columbian Mammoth

Columbian mammoths were one of the biggest mammals to ever walk on Earth, and they were cousin to the more famous woolly mammoths. Columbian mammoths were found all the way from modern-day Canada to Mexico, while woolly mammoths, who were smaller, were found in northern Asia, Russia, and Canada. Another major difference is that Columbian mammoths had much less hair, so they looked closer to modern day elephants, but bigger with much longer tusks.

Columbian mammoths were 12 to 14 feet tall and weighed anywhere between 5.5 and 11 tons. The Columbian mammoth also had the biggest tusks out of the elephant family. They were, on average, 12 feet long, spiraled, and very strong. They would have been used to fight off predators, including humans.

9. The Ground Sloth

We know that this list is about terrifying animals, and sloths are anything but terrifying. However, their ancient ancestors, ground sloths, were a bit more intimidating than their modern day counterpart because they were some of the biggest mammals to ever live.

There were several different subspecies of ground sloths and the ones that lived in North America were the size of rhinos and humans most likely dined on them. However, the biggest ground sloths, the Megatherium, which lived in South America up until about 10,000 years ago, were as big as an elephant. From head to tail, they were 20 feet long and weighed up to four tons. Also, because they had sharp teeth and long claws, there is some speculation that they may have been carnivores.

Ultimately, the last species of ground sloths lived until about 4,200 years ago on theCaribbean islands. When humans arrived on the islands, it was the final death blow to the ground sloths.

8. Gigantopithecus

The biggest known primate to ever walk the earth was the Gigantopithecus, which is a relative of orangutans. They were 10 feet tall, and they weighed around 1,100 pounds.

One thing you may notice is that the Gigantopithecus looks a lot like the mythical Sasquatch. However, before anyone begins to speculate, the Gigantopithecus died out 100,000 years ago. So unless a group of 10-foot, half ton apes actively hid themselves from humans for one thousand centuries, it doesn’t seem likely that people have seen Gigantopithecus and thought it was Bigfoot.

The reason they died out after living on Earth for six to nine million years is because they needed a lot of food, like fruits, to sustain their giant bodies, which wasn’t a problem when their home in Southeast Asia was tropical forests. But then, because of weather changes their forests started to disappear and they became dry savannas, meaning there was less food and the giant primate just died out.

Of course, Gigantopithecus may be familiar to those people who saw the very excellent live adaptation of The Jungle Book, because King Louie is a Gigantopithecus.

7. The Cave Hyena

Cave Hyenas, also known as spotted coyotes, were about double the size of their relatives, the laughing coyote. They weighed up to 285 pounds, they were about three feet tall, and were nearly five feet long. According to calculations based on fossils, one cave hyena was strong enough to take down a 5-year-old mastodon that weighed a ton.

However, they lived in packs, sometimes consisting of 30 coyotes. These made them much more effective hunters, and they could take down a nine-year-old mastodon that weighed nine tons. Needless to say, a small family of humans would not want to come across a pack of hungry hyenas.

Their population started to dwindle about 20,000 years ago, before going extinct somewhere between 11,000 and 13,000 years ago. One reason may have been humans, because we competed with hyenas for cave space during the last ice age.

6. Smilodon

Saber-toothed cats are often given the very misleading title of saber-tooth tigers. It’s misleading because while they are part of the Felidae family, they weren’t closelyrelated to tigers.

Saber-toothed cats first appeared 42 million years ago. There were many species of them and most of them had died before humans first appeared. However, it’s believed that humans living in the Americas could have come across two different species of saber-toothed cats, Smilodon fatalis and Smilodon populator. They ranged in size and they could be as big as an African lion, which is the biggest wild lion living today. They also could weigh as much as the biggest subspecies of tiger, the Siberian tiger.

With their size came great strength. The smilodons could take down much bigger animals than themselves, like mammoths. Often, they would wait for prey to get close and then launch a surprise attack.

Out of the feline family, the smilodon didn’t have the strongest bite. According to calculations, it only had about one-third of the bite strength of modern lions. However, it had a really flexible jaw and could open its mouth 120 degrees, compared to a lion, which maxes out at 60 degrees.

The smilodon also had fairly weak teeth, but researchers think to compensate for that, they developed the strongest forearms of all cats. It’s believed that they used this strength to hold down their prey and then stabbed their fangs through the prey’s neck. Another theory is that the Smilodon repeatedly stabbed the prey with their fangs after it was held down. No matter how they killed their prey, a human did not want to find itself under the forearms of a smilodon.

5. The Dire Wolf

Fans of Game of Thrones may recognize Dire Wolves, but unlike many other animals on the show, Dire Wolves were real.

They first appeared about a quarter of a million years ago. They were similar tomodern-day gray wolves but sturdier. The gray wolf, which is the largest living wolf, is about 4 feet to 6.6 feet long and weighs 40 to 170 pounds, while Dire Wolves were about 5 feet long and weighed up to 200 pounds.

Dire Wolves, which were found all over North and South America, had a bite force that was 29 percent stronger than gray wolves. Their diet consisted of mostly horses.

They became extinct like so a lot other carnivores, at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago.

4. The American Lion

Like a lot of other animals on this list, the American Lion is horribly named because it’s not a lion at all. Its scientific name is Panthera atrox, and as it suggests, the American Lion is more closely related to panthers than lions. One part about their name that is correct is that they lived in modern-day America starting about 330,000 years ago.

One notable aspect that our ancient ancestors would have noticed right away if they encountered an American Lion is that it was huge. In fact, it is the biggest known wild cat in history. On average, they weighed 772 pounds, which is 25 percent larger thanan African Lion. The American Lion was also incredibly strong. They were powerful enough to bring down a bison, meaning a small group of humans would have been in trouble had they encountered one of these lions.

They died around 11,000 years ago around the end of the last ice age.

3. The Megalania

Megalania was a monitor lizard, which is the same lizard family as the Komodo dragon, and it lived in Australia until about 50,000 years ago; around the same time that humans migrated there.

The size of Megalania is a highly debated topic. Originally, it was thought to be 23 feet long, while other estimates put its size more in the range of 11 feet long.

Regardless, they were bigger than Komodo dragons, but like the Komodo dragon, the Megalania also had poisonous glands. It would simply bite its prey and if it didn’t die of blood loss, then it would be slowly poisoned to death and the Meaglania would feast on its carcass.

Today, Komodo dragons are considered a very dangerous animal. They are fast, strong, and poisonous. They are also on average 6.5 feet long. The Megalania could have been four times that size; not exactly something a human, either prehistoric or modern, would want to bump into.

2. The Short-Faced Bear

Bears first appeared about 40 million years ago, and several subspecies have evolved over the years. One that our prehistoric ancestors would have encountered is the short-faced bear.

Short-faced bears (Arctodus pristinus) were five feet tall at shoulder height, but when they stood up, they were 12 feet tall and with its arms raised it was 14 feet tall. It also had the ability to run on two legs. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, the short-faced bear also had long limbs, and could run faster than a grizzly, possibly reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour. That means even Usain Bolt, who was clocked in at 28 miles per hour, would be dinner for this beast.

The Giant Short-Faced Bear was one of the biggest carnivores in North America. They first appeared about 800,000 years ago and they became extinct about 11,600 years ago.

1. The Quinkana

According to fossils, the Quinkana first evolved about 1.6 million years ago and they lived in modern day Australia. They were huge members of the crocodile family and they could grow to be 23 feet long. Just for some perspective, the longest crocodile in captivity was Lolong and he was 20 feet long.

A major difference between the Quinkana and many other crocodiles is that they were land dwellers. Since they lived on land, there was two major physical traits that the Quinkana developed. The first was that it had long, powerful legs. It would hunt its prey by chasing after them for long distances. The second difference is that crocodiles use their teeth to latch on and drag their prey into the water and drown it. The Quinkanas’ teeth, on the other hand, were much sharper and they were used for cutting.

They died out about 50,000 years ago, about 10,000 years after humans first arrived in Australia.


Prehistoric Man and His Petrifying Pets

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Bad Food Trends – WIF Science

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Food Trends

That Have Negative

Consequences on the World

What’s popular in the grocery stores, fast food restaurants and other dining establishments changes throughout the years. In more recent days we have seen fast food establishments at least make an effort to look healthy, especially with children’s food products, and people are more concerned with health than ever before. However, not all of the trends regarding food are necessarily good. While people are more concerned with their health, consumer ignorance and misinformation is widespread, and many popular food trends have hidden consequences that the average person is completely unaware of.

10. Reliance on Cows is a Huge Contributor to Global Warming

cow

Aside from those in the world population who find cows sacred, and the world’s vegetarians, we all love our cow meat. Tucking into a delicious burger or steak is a part of life many of us would be loathe to give up, and for many you would have to pry the steak out of their cold, dead hands. However, it is this love of beef that is helping raise worldwide greenhouse gas levels by alarming amounts. Cows both fart, and burp a lot, and they also leave a lot of cow pies lying around as well. All the methane that is belched into the environment or broken down in their waste is easily the majority worldwide contributor to methane being released in large quantities.

Of course, while methane is incredibly bad for the environment, it is only one greenhouse gas. Cows alone are far from the only, or biggest, major contributor, but they are enough to be causing a serious impact. Scientists are now trying to solve the problem, or at least find ways to mitigate it. Some have suggested changing the cows’ diets to something that has more alfalfa and supplements instead of the usual diets, so they will be less gassy. And they have also emphasized that proper breakdown or reuse of dung can prevent extra methane leaking into the atmosphere. Either way, scientists believe that with the reliance on beef for food by many developing countries, that the issue is going to be here to stay for a long time to come.

9. Fat Free Foods Have Increased Our Reliance on Sugar to be Satisfied

sugar

Perhaps one of the worst food fads that still affects us today is the “fat free” fad. This fad is do pervasive that even though it began in the 1970s due to a hearing started by Senator George Mcgovern, you will meet many weight watching people today who, despite religiously watching their calorie count, still balk at “fat content” in foods. The fact is that if you understand calorie count, you’ll know that calories plus exercise — and to some extent genetics — will decide your weight loss rate. And studies have not shown any health benefit to a low fat diet, but this still persists in the national consciousness and it’s still doing damage.

Today stores are full of “fat free” or “low-fat” products, and many products today that would have had more fat in the past have none or very little. However, what they have instead, and started having in the late ’70s when the trend began, was a whole lot more sugar. And coincidentally, it wasn’t long after this that incidences of diabetes and obesity really took off. Now, it’s hard to say for certain if this was the main or only cause of the rise of diabetes, but there is no question that a brief time ago we started consuming way more sugar than we once did, and it is most definitely bad for us. It shows that in our rush to make fat the villain, we forgot that all food groups are an essential part of a good diet, and that moderation is the most important thing of all.

8. “GMO-Free” Foods Are Helping Produce Ignorant American Consumers

gmo

Recently there has been a strong movement for “GMO-free” foods. On the one hand this sounds reasonable if you don’t understand what a GMO is, but when you do, it sounds utterly inane. GMOs are genetically modified organisms. The problem is that by the actual definition of genetic modification, we have been practicing this on plants and animals for thousands of years — at least. However, even if you feel that there should be more transparency as to today’s biotech practices, the fact is that current labeling and “GMO-free” foods are only helping to increase consumer ignorance and take advantage of people who think they are “avoiding something”.

The truth is that many of the companies who look like they are bowing to the will of the consumer are making changes just to please people, because it’s easier to do that than to argue and cause a viral issue on social media. Companies like Kraft will gladly switch to natural dyes while still selling you a box of processed macaroni and cheese product. And Subway may remove a perfectly harmless ingredient like azodicarbonamide because people get up in arms about it, but they continue to sell many processed foods and use the slogan “eat fresh”. What is really bad for people’s health is the increasing reliance on heavily sugared products and heavily processed foods. Companies jumping on the “GMO-free” bandwagon allows them to make meaningless, cheap changes that make it look like they are doing something while actually continuing business as usual.

7. Soy Food Could Be Decreasing Testosterone Levels

soy

In recent years soy milk, which was once considered more of a niche drink you’d see in a health food store, has become a full blown fad. Women and men alike are drinking it not only as a substitute for milk — as a growing number of people in America have decided it is trendy to claim lactose intolerance without being tested for it — but also just because they enjoy the taste. Milk substitutes like soy tend to come in exciting flavors already full of sugar and other artificial flavor boosters, making it look way more enticing than plain old milk. Unfortunately, soy milk has also been linked with the ability to increase estrogen levels.

While for most people, it would be unlikely to cause anything truly noticeable, there is the case of one man who was dealing with a really strange medical issue. His body seemed to be increasingly feminizing and he could not figure out why. He had swollen mammary glands, hair loss, decreased facial hair growth, etc. After going to four doctors and starting to become frustrated he would never find the answer, his fourth doctor decided to ask him to give him all the details of his diet. It was then that he discovered the man was drinking three quarts of soy milk per day. Now, this is a lot more than most people would consume in a day, so most people would be unlikely to ever show such drastic effects, but it shows that soy can have serious effects on the body’s hormone levels.

6. The Low Carb Diet Fad Has Caused Widespread Nutritional Deficiency

low carb

Back in the 1990s the Atkins Diet really started to become a full blown fad, and before long, people were telling you that eating carbohydrates was bad. It’s easy to see in hindsight that this particular fad was not good — anything that tells you to almost entirely cut a large type of food group out of your diet is likely an unbalanced way to eat. However, at the time it was easy to get on board with the hype, if nothing else to see if it would provide any benefit. And while many people may have lost some weight with it, it is also important to note that lost weight does not necessarily equal good health.

The low carb fad very likely helped contribute to the rise of obesity along with the decrease in fat intake and rise of sugar intake. While there was some reason to be bothered by some carbohydrates — certain processed carbohydrates like refined sugar — the fad did not discriminate, and many people now had diets lacking in proper complex carbohydrates such as grains, fruits and vegetables. The fact is that good carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet and will help keep your body in good working order — just like all diets you should eat them in moderation, but not to the point of almost not eating them.

5. The Recent Quinoa Fad Has Been Causing Extreme Hunger in Bolivia

quinoa

If you haven’t heard of it, Quinoa is one of those products that you will hear people tout as a “secret superfood”. It is an Andean plant often confused as a grain, although it is actually closer related to foods like spinach. It looks like an incredibly tiny grain-like object, although it is spherical (where rice is oval). While it was touted by NASA and has been in health food stores for years, it exploded in popularity only recently. Vegans and hipsters everywhere have flocked to this product as the next big thing, and it has created an entirely new export product in thecountry of Bolivia where it is grown.

However, this is not without issues. Our increased trade with Bolivia is having unintended consequences. While the farmers are actually making more money now because of the export market, the price of Quinoa itself is going up so much globally, that many Bolivians who once relied on it as a food staple can no longer afford it as anything but a treat. To make matters worse, now that they are trading with us they are discovering products like Coca-Cola and processed white bread, and the younger generation is becoming attached to it while the older generation watches on in horror. The processed products we import there and our unnecessary overuse of their food staple is helping contribute to obesity and malnutrition in Bolivia.

4. Deceptive Marketing for Cage Free and Free Range Hides the Problem From View

cage free

Another point where consumers are often mislead is when cartons of eggs are labeled “cage free” or “free range”. The truth is that the United States government has no legal standard for those terms on egg cartons and as such companies can pretty much just say it as a marketing gimmick if they wish to. Many companies that claim “cage free” may actually let their chickensout of cages, but never let them see the light of day. Others may consider “free range” to be giving them a small amount of sunlight and fresh air from their cage everyday. There is simply no real standard to go by, so you really don’t know what you are getting.

However, it gets a little weird in terms of poultry. The rules for chickens raised for poultry instead of egg laying is fairly well laid out by the USDA, and has fairly comprehensive guidelines, but these rules don’t count at all when it comes to eggs. What this means is that when a company slaps a label on non-poultry products stating things like “free range” it is essentially meaningless since there isn’t even a loose industry guideline on what that means for that product. The company is likely being deceptive with you, and trying to use your ignorance of the issue to temporarily override your common sense.

3. The Multivitamin Fad Could Be Causing Serious Health Damage

vitamins

Multivitamins are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, there is no doubt about it. Where once you saw them mostly in health food stores and infomercials, you will now find dozens of different bottles of multivitamins in every grocery store. They are colorful and often have some kind of sugary flavor and cute shape in order to be more enticing. Plenty of people have come under the impression that everyone would be better off if they had their daily vitamin, and many now take them religiously. Now, for some people this is a good thing, but for many people it could actually be quite harmful. The matter lies in how healthy the person taking the vitamin is to begin with, and it all ties into how vitamins work.

Multivitamins have a lot of nutrients in them — enough to easily replace anything missing in a deficient diet. And if you think you are struggling to keep a diet that has all the nutrients you need, then a multivitamin might be a really good idea for you. However, the issue is that the people most likely to take multivitamins like clockwork also happen to be the people who already have well balanced and conscientious diets and thus have no need for one. In fact, it could actually be harming them because taking large concentrations of a nutrient you already have enough or more than enough of, especially on a long term, steady basis, can damage the body. Many nutrients found in large quantities in vitamins can be toxic — and even carcinogenic — if allowed to build up in the body too much.

2. Disposable Water Bottles are Devastating to the Environment

plastic bottles

Back when bottled water first hit the scene many people were skeptical and scoffed at the very notion. Well, as strange as it seemed, bottled water has skyrocketed in popularity and now buying disposable bottles of water has become a normal way of life for many people. For some people in the United States, they buy bottled water because they consider it safer and some people just really like the convenience, but it is causing a great deal of harm. The amount offossil fuels used to make the plastic for our bottled water would be enough to fuel a million cars for a whole year, not to mention that it takes roughly triple the amount of water to produce the average bottle of water that the bottle actually contains.

While these may sound bad, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Water bottles are also one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution in the world, and due to the poorly organized recycling system in America, a large quantity of plastic water bottles simply end up in the landfill or ocean and are never reused. This is also a problem because the plastics used for water bottles tend to break down poorly, and leach toxins when they do.

As for whether they are safer to drink, this is not the case either, so there is really no advantage to bottled water. Studies have shown that the toxins present in the plastics can affect the water, and for those who think it has less bacteria than tap, this is not necessarily true either. Some bottled water has been tested and found to be similarly unsafe. This may be due to the fact that some major bottled water companies have been caught using simple tap water for their operations and then reselling it to people. Experts recommend getting a good filter and using it to clean your own tap water.

1. Going “Gluten-Free” If You Don’t Have Celiac Can Be Really Bad For You

gluten free

These days, a lot of people are trying as hard as they can to “go gluten free” as part of the latest, most popular fad diet. While this might sound reasonable at first, the fact of the matter is that there is a reason that food companies are now catering to a large amount of gluten free customers, even though only 1% of Americans have celiac disease. The reason is because, since it’s the “in thing” to do, 21% of people are now trying to cut gluten from their diet. This means that 20% of those people are improperly giving themselves serious dietary deficiencies, and also allowing food companies to all too happily take advantage of their ignorance.

For example, food companies will happily label products like french fries “gluten free” even though people who understand what gluten is would know they are naturally gluten free anyway, and it’s the same with many other treats that are given the same label, such as Rice Krispies treats. The truth is that all the people cutting out gluten may be right to cut out processed and/or refined foods containing gluten, but the wheat and whole grain products that contain gluten are an extremely important part of a normal, balanced diet. Those with celiac have to follow special dietary guidelines from a doctor in order to avoid gluten and still get the required nutrients, so medical professionals strongly recommend getting tested and then getting proper dietary advice before cutting entire food groups from your diet.

Bad Food Trends

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– WIF Science

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #71

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #71

Willy and Herbert exchange sideward glances, neither having seen so much as a smudge of soot on him.

just two adult visitors and their host retire to Hillside Estate, just as the setting sun dips below the tree line, glowing dimly all the way.

"Wooly"

“Wooly”

Martha is faithfully waiting outside her San Luis Lake castle with Agnes at her side, along with Wooly the sheepdog who is sleeping at their feet. And though they are accustomed to the prolonged absence of the head of the house, they do not rest until he is safely home. They have anticipated guests for the night by, so they need to prepare the spare bedrooms. Ever since the unexpected loss of the irreplaceable Olla, mother and daughter take up the care for the house, no one therein is having the will to find another upstairs maid.

“We were wondering if the doctor kidnapped you, perhaps to harvest your organs,” Martha says, with a hint of sarcasm with a pinch of resentment.

“They are old, Martha dear. I help them whenever I can. Today I cleaned the front room chimney. I can feel a chill coming soon and I don’t want their house to burn down. It would be ashes in a blink of an eye.”

    ChimneySweeping   Willy and Herbert exchange sideward glances, neither having seen so much as a smudge of soot on him.

“Should we make you men some supper? You must be famished,” she offers dutifully.

There have been giant strides in the area of cooking, but it remains the single most missed chore of Laura Bell’s former jobs; the menu.

White_Lies  White_Lies  “As a matter of fact, Frieda made her famous wiener schnitzel and insisted we stay, right my friends?” he prompts.

“Oh my, yes, a true European delicacy it was,” agrees and adds Love. He is mildly suspicious of John’s liberty with small details.

“Let’s go inside and enjoy some Indian spiced tea. John, would you start a fire in the den… or is our chimney not fit for a autumn fire?”

“Certainly dear” he ignores the snide addendum to the request. “Say, where is James?” he wonders.

  “I will give you three guesses and the first two do not count.”


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #71


 

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #68

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #68

…If Matthew Brady had snapped a picture, the photograph would capture the very essence of the South…

Mathew Brady’s New York Studio

When the Love Dairy & Ice wagon finally pulls up in the yard of the Bavarian castle, they see John Ferrell on the front porch swing, cradling a child who is fast asleep, or was fast asleep before the resident dachshund propels it little legs out from under the front porch, yapping all the way to greet the Quincy contingent. Ziggy and Frieda, clothed in gardening garb, come out from the back. From inside the house, Laura Bell appears, covered in the flour used for the Wiener schnitzel dinner she is preparing. It is a house favorite, honoring Maggie’s father presence. If Matthew Brady had snapped a picture, the photograph would capture the very essence of the South; five people that you would not normally associate with each other.

But as different as they appear to strangers, they have an easygoing look about them.

Pleased to see that Herb Love had found his way here, forgetting all about being seen with his baby, Ferrell hands her over to Frieda. After he introduces the Endlichoffer menagerie, the menagerie withdraws to the house, leaving the veranda for transactions and negotiating.

“Gentlemen, I was afraid you were not going to make it.”

          “You were afraid? We may still be at your house, if it were not for a polite exit,” states Love with man to man frankness.

          “She does have a way of commanding one’s attention,” a reticently beleaguered husband admits. “Tell me, what do you have for me that have piqued my curiosity so?”

Loyal Campbells-001

Herbert Love defers to Willy Campbell, who has a canister of Loyal Campbells in hand.

“Well, Mr. Ferrell, we was hopin’ you’d find these to your likin’.”

John Ferrell plucks a single Loyal from the container, drawing its five inch length across his nose, reaching its base and moistening it. He knows what to do with a cigar. Willy strikes a wooden match to begin a smoldering fire that will eventually consume it. After several critical puffs, he concludes, “Fine, fine blend I must say. Not expected from a cigar of this size.”


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #68



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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #31

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #31

… he would rather study than dance than dance with adolescent debutants who ‘have all the sense that God gave the Dodo bird’, as he puts it…

Silly Girls

Georgia Moon

By the grace of God, and a little luck, August 21 does arrive as scheduled. The entire day is dedicated to preparing for the Cotillion, which includes the making of Grandma Ferrell’s special punch, whose secret ingredient is rumored to be the state of Georgia’s best XXX hoochinoo. The thirty gallon stainless steel milk can mixture should go a long way to assure a good time will be had by all, should they sample even one innocent glassful.

Juicing the fresh Florida oranges, peaches and grapefruit was the hardest part of the process, but that was done two fermenting months ago. The carbonated ginger ale and phos-ferrates are added just this day, as volume fillers; so sweet and so lethal.

Primping occupies the remaining three hours, most importantly to the females. However, the annual struggle with James Ferrell to get in the proper spirit, disappoints all in the family, though shocking none. He is actually a girl magnet, which may explain his reticence, because he would rather study for the upcoming school year than dance than dance with adolescent debutants who ‘have all the sense that God gave the Dodo bird’, as he puts it.

  This year, his 16th, resistance to his suit of clothes seems curiously mild, not the chest thumping bravado that may disguise changes that show signs of his coming of age.

          Martha Ferrell reminds her son but once. “Miracles never cease to amaze,” she tells Agnes, who is clinching the girdle that shrinks the woman’s waist by two full inches.

          “Abigail Smythwick is going to be there.” Agnes knows the reason for her brother’s sudden cooperation. She is the daughter of Jefferson Smythwick, born in his sixth decade to the silence of her mother’s dying heart.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #31


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CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I. ~ Episode 215

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Forever Mastadon ~ Episode 215

…Eddie, I got a special use permit for the stable, so keep you and “our” horses noses clean…Carbon 14 Coaches-001

“I just talked to Constance and she said that they need 3 convertible carriages for the 28th,” Fanny is speaking to the co-owner of Carbon-14 Coaches, Eddie Dombroski. His footman/cousin Rex is where he always is, with the horses. The two of them have assembled three wagons and six horses, every one of them living the kings’ life behind Worth Moore’s new near north Chicago Louis Sullivan residence. (The coach house concept is quickly losing its relevance in modern Chicago, with automobile garages replacing the buildings where the horses and carriages used to be kept)

“It’s a good thing we hired some new coachmen – two of them are 70 years old for crying out loud – but this will be like falling off a log for them, they were born in 1880 for crying out loud! They are used to the horse ‘n buggy.  I can’t keep from poking the floorboard for the gas and brake.”

For crying out loud.

“You do not need any accidents, Eddie. I got a special use permit for the stable and out of the ordinary liability insurance, so keep the place and your nose clean.” Attorney Moore is ankle deep in horse apples, knee deep in hay and up to his neck in angst.

Eddie Story-001

“Not to worry Worth old boy, Rex has everything under control. I remember when we were kids and I was out visiting his pop’s farm, two of the cows and a goat got through the fence and were walking down the Burlington Northern train tracks on their way to Downers Grove.Well Rex and me jumped on a couple of their hayburners and went over to round them critters up, which was good because there was a mile long freight train loaded with coal trying to get to the city and the engineer was furious because it takes him 5 miles to get up to speed from a dead stop. But we went over to the General Store and bought him a carton of Camels and a Baby Ruth and he was happy.”

 


 

CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I.

Episode 215


 

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10 Real-Life Counterparts of

Legendary Creatures & Beings

Our ancestors relied on the supernatural to explain certain phenomenon. Ancient civilizations that saw strange things would try to explain them by associating them with the gods or monsters.

This resulted in the creation of various myths which, as you’ll soon discover, have a bit of truth to them. They became myths thanks to exaggeration on the part of eyewitnesses or storytellers, but on some level they actually existed.

10. Giant Triassic Cephalopod –

Kraken

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Krakens are legendary sea monsters believed to be capable of devouring ships and whales. Fossils discovered by a paleontologist named Mark McMenamin and his team suggest that the legendary kraken might not be entirely mythical, as a giant Triassic cephalopod similar to how this legendary being looked and behaved might have existed millions of years ago.

It all started when McMenamin and his team presented an unusual “arrangement of vertebrae of the ichthyosaur Shonisaurus popularis” to the Geological Society of America in 2011. The bones were found by McMenamin in the Berlin-Ichtyosaur State Park in Nevada. The Shonisaurus was a marine reptile that lived about 200 to 250 million years ago during the Triassic period, and it’s the same size as a modern bus. When McMenamin and his team unearthed the bones, they noticed that they were arranged in a “strange linear pattern.” They theorized that the bones were arranged by an intelligent giant cephalopod, rationalizing that modern day octopuses “play” with their food in the form of creating middens from the shells and bones of their prey. McMenamin argues that this giant cephalopod was none other than the legendary kraken.

Furthermore, McMenamin later unearthed a fossil that might have been part of the beak of a giant Triassic cephalopod. This discovery further strengthened his theory, although not all paleontologists agree with McMenamin. David Fastovsky, a paleontologist at the University of Rhode Island, said, “A kraken isn’t really necessary. Everything can be explained by much less exotic means.”

9. Okapi –

Unicorn

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Also, known as the African Unicorn, the Okapi is a doe-eyed animal that’s a close relative of the giraffe. Its most distinct features are the zebra-like stripes it has on its rear and legs. The male okapi has two horns, but when viewed from the side it can look like one horn. This led explorers from the Victorian era to believe that they had found the legendary unicorn.

The myth that the Okapi was the unicorn proliferated due to the fact that this animal is very shy and usually moves around only with another Okapi. Sightings were rare, making it difficult for European explorers to study this animal and find out what it truly is. The myth and mystery surrounding the African Unicorn were finally dispelled during the 1900s thanks to Sir Harry Johnston. He was an animal collector, botanist, linguist and colonial administrator in Africa. He was able to acquire two skulls and a complete skin of the Okapi. He sent the samples to London where it was found out that the Okapi, much to the dismay of countless young girls, was not the legendary unicorn but a “forest-dwelling relative of the giraffe.”

8. Megalania –

Dragon

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Dragons have fascinated mankind for thousands of years. There’s something magical about these mythical creatures that just catches our interest, and evidence suggests that dragons almost as fierce as the ones depicted in myths once existed. No, we’re not talking about Komodo Dragons. We’re talking about creatures that are far more powerful, deadly and gigantic — the Megalania.

The Megalania may not have wings or breathe fire, but it sure was the king of its time. It was an apex predator during the Pleistocene epoch. Its most distinguishing features were its splayed legs and powerful jaws. Scientists believe that the Megalania may have measured somewhere between 12 and 25 feet and weighed anywhere between 500 and 4,000 pounds! The Komodo Dragon, which is considered to be largest living lizard, is nothing compared to the size and power of this beast.

7. Titanoboa –

Imoogi

The Imoogi is a dragon-like creature from Korean mythology. Its features were like that of a python, and it lived in caves or water. There are two accounts explaining what the Imoogi is. One account says that the Imoogi, being a dragon-like creature, was cursed and could not become a true dragon. The other account says that the Imoogi was a “proto-dragon,” meaning it had to live one millennium before it could become a genuine dragon.

Several years ago, scientists discovered fossils of a giant snake that resembled the Imoogi. This “prehistoric monster snake” is called the Titanoboa. It lived 58 million years ago. The Titanoboa was gigantic, measuring at approximately 50 feet and weighing more than a ton. It was so big it could swallow large reptiles like crocodiles without “showing a bulge”! Being a distant relative of the boa constrictor and the anaconda, the Titanoboa was not venomous. It killed its prey by crushing them with its amazing constricting force.

6. Vlad Tepes –

Count Dracula

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We all know who Count Dracula is, but how many of us know about Vlad Tepes,the historical leader that inspired Bram Stoker to create his famous vampire character? Tepes was a Romanian prince who lived during the 15th century. He was a cruel and inhuman leader who, just like Count Dracula, had a great liking towards blood. Unlike Count Dracula, Tepes didn’t need blood to stay alive, but one historical account does state that he drank his victims’ blood anyway.

What’s more horrifying is that Tepes would usually dine with his victims before murdering them. It’s estimated that he killed 40,000 people, many of which were tortured for hours or even days. Tepes killed his victims in various ways but his favorite, and the one he’s famous for, is impaling. With this method, an oiled spike was inserted into the “victim’s anus and pushed in until the other end emerged from the victim’s mouth.”

5. Giant Oarfish –

Sea Serpent

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Sea serpents are mythical creatures that look like gigantic snakes. This legendary being has both terrified and fascinated people for hundreds of years. The discovery of an enormous marine creature in Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California proved that sea serpents do exist, although they’re not scary monsters — simply fish. To be more specific, they’re giant oarfish.

In 2013, a giant oarfish was discovered by a marine science instructor named Jasmine Santana while snorkeling in Santa Catalina Island. It was so big that she needed the help of 15 people to drag it to shore. Unfortunately, it was already dead when Santana found it. It was 18 feet long, and it’s believed that oarfish can grow to be as much as 50 feet. Giant oarfish are rarely seen on the surface since they usually dive more than 3,000 feet deep, and so little is known about them. Since sightings of this gigantic creature are rare and because it’s enormous and snake-like, the oarfish has been dubbed scary and magical.

4. Flamingos –

Phoenix

James's Flamingo

The phoenix is a mythical bird that’s believed to be immortal and has healing powers it can bestow to people. This legendary being is prominent in Chinese and Egyptian mythologies. In the former it’s called Fenghuang, while in the latter it’s Bennu. According to myth, the phoenix would engulf itself in fire but instead of dying a young phoenix would emerge. The phoenix has therefore become a symbol of rebirth or transformation.

Many experts believe that the origin of the mythical phoenix might have come from a beautiful bird found in Africa — the flamingo. Of course, the flamingo isn’t immortal and it sure isn’t capable of engulfing itself in fire. However, a certain behavior displayed by it is identical to one prominent characteristic of the phoenix, leading experts to believe that this bird is the origin of the myth.

Flamingos usually build their nests on salt flats. Even though the temperature of these salt flats is high, mature flamingos can survive them. However, when female flamingos give birth they need to build tall mounds since young chicks can’t survive the heat. The nest located on top of the mounds is where the flamingo lay its eggs. When seen from afar, “the haze of heat that surrounds” the flamingo’s nest resemble the haze that we usually see around fire. This phenomenon might have led people to believe that the flamingo can engulf itself on fire, giving birth to the myth of the phoenix.

3. Dwarf Elephants – Cyclops

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According to Greek mythology, Cyclopes are a giant race of people with one gigantic eye in the middle of their foreheads. They are believed to have inhabited the island of Sicily. The most famous account about them can be found in Homer’s Odyssey, where Odysseus encounters a Cyclops named Polyphemus and later escapes from him.

There’s a reason Sicily was called the land of the Cyclopes — numerous remains of a mysterious creature can be found there. Ancient Greeks who saw the mysterious remains couldn’t figure out what kind of animal would have a big hole in the middle of its forehead. They relied on the supernatural in order for them to make sense of the mysterious remains, and this resulted in the birth of the Cyclopes myth.

However, science tells us that the bones found in Sicily belong to a certain animal species called dwarf elephants. They lived during the Ice Age, and the gigantic holes found in the middle of their foreheads are their nostrils. Their eye sockets are located “deep down on the sides” of their skulls.

2. Protoceratops – Griffin

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Griffins are legendary beings from Greek mythology. They guard treasures of gold and bear the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. In the 1900s it was proven that this mythical creature did once roam the Earth, but it had no wings and it certainly wasn’t a hybrid animal.

The Gobi Desert of Mongolia was once home to the protoceratops. More than two thousand years ago, the Gobi Desert was mined for its gold by a group of people called the Scythians. As they were mining, they found numerous fossils of the protoceratops. As paleontology wasn’t yet established they turned to the supernatural to explain this dinosaur, and  that resulted in the birth of the legendary griffin.

1. Gigantopithecus – Bigfoot

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Also known as Sasquatch, Bigfoot is a popular mythical creature believed to inhabit the forests of the Pacific Northwest. It’s a cryptid believers think is covered in dark reddish or dark brown hair and weighs around 500 pounds. This legendary being is also believed to be somewhere between six to 10 feet tall.

Many people regard Bigfoot as nothing more than a figment of our imagination. However, a certain creature that existed thousands of years ago in South Asia might be the real Sasquatch that Bigfoot enthusiasts are searching for. This creature, called the Gigantopithecus, unfortunately went extinct 300,000 years ago. Just like Bigfoot, the Gigantopithecus was gigantic. It weighed approximately 1,200 pounds and achieved a staggering height of 10 feet. Experts learned about the existence of the Gigantopithecus in 1935, thanks to a German paleoanthropologist named Ralph von Koenigswald. He was in Hong Kong and out of mere luck he saw a big primate molar at a pharmacy. Since then, hundreds of this creature’s remains have been unearthed in India, China and Vietnam.

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