[dropcap] 1. [/dropcap] Sabertooth Salmon Were Almost Real
Did you know that 5 million years ago, during the Miocene Era, there were sabertooth salmon? Neither did we. And not only were they fanged, they also grew to be 9ft long. Insanity.
But what’s even weirder is a recent discovery from the University of Oregon. It turns out that sabertooth salmon look pretty much nothing like what we thought they did.
Since the discovery of Oncorhynchus rastrosus in the 1960s, scientists assumed that the fangs found with the fish were vertical teeth, like the Sabertooth Cat or a walrus. But two newly discovered salmon skulls were found with their fangs intact. And it turns out, the fangs actually protruded horizontally out of the sides of their jaw. We can’t decide if this is more or less terrifying than a sabertooth salmon – one one hand, this may result in an awkward teenager sort of look, but, on the other hand, it is still a fanged 9ft salmon. Either way, the salmon are going to need a new name.
[dropcap] 2. [/dropcap] A Face Only a Paleontologist Could Love
With a hump-back, beer belly and arbitrarily placed random feathers we’re gonna bet this was the dinosaur version of your drunk uncle. Bet he sent all his relatives crazy emails about how the president was totally ignoring the threat posed by giant asteroids headed straight at the…oh. Huh. Well, guess he isn’t going to run for it since the dino also has weirdly wide set hips that would result in a waddle.
First discovered fifty years ago in the Gobi Desert, the Deinocheirus mirificus was originally just a pair of disembodied arms, explaining its name which translates to “terrible hand, which is unusual”. And what magnificent hands they were:
Talk about trying to describe an elephant by feeling its trunk. It’s clear scientists weren’t expecting that the owner of the arms was the class clown of the dinosaur world. Perhaps the salmon aren’t the only ones who need a new name.
[dropcap] 3. [/dropcap] Where Do Horses Come From Anyway?
The short answer may be India. Horses, rhinos and tapirs have a common ancestor. Apparently one with odd toes and a weird digestive system, given that their order Perissodactyla is also known as “odd-toed ungulates”. Digging at an Indian coal mine researchers found an intermediate step between our modern Perissodactyla and a more primitive common ancestor, the 55 million year old Cambaytherium thewissi.
[dropcap] 4. [/dropcap] Giant Sea Monsters Were Definitely Real
In July, 7-year-old Amber Wilson was exploring the free digging site connected to the marine fossil museum Kronosaurus Korner. Oh yeah, it just sounds like a tourist trap, doesn’t it? Anything with spelling that cute must be. Except in this particular case. Because Amber Wilson found herself a dinosaur at Kronosaurus Korner. And not just any dinosaur. A freakin’ GIANT SEA MONSTER. Well, technically it was an 882 pound ichthyosaur. Something like a cross between a modern day lizard, fish and dolphin. So yeah, Giant Sea Monster will do.
With a five foot skull and 6 inch teeth, the 100 million year old fossil has been described as one of the best specimens of the platypterygius australis, now known as Wilson. He’s currently on display at Kronosaurus Korner. Moral of the story. Take your child to a cutesy named dinosaur dig for tourists and you may wind up with a famous fossil named after you.
Featured Image: Yuong-Nam Lee