Ancient Enemies

Proof that at least one species of prehistoric cat, Megantereon, hunted humans– it’s in the isotopes.

“”Paranthropus robustus and the early Homo species,Homo ergaster, had a diet that reflected a mix of carbon isotopes, suggesting that they were omnivorous, which is similar to what modern humans are today,” said Lee-Thorp.

“Knowing the hominid carbon isotope ratios, Lee-Thorp and her colleagues were able to compare the ratios to those found in various carnivores found at the site. The team examined fossilized tooth enamel of leopards, lions, and spotted hyenas, in addition to three extinct species: Megantereon; Dino felis, a false saber-toothed cat; and Chasmoporithetes nitidula, an extinct hunting hyena.”

Of these, all but “Dino felis”– more on that in a minute– showed ratios that indicated that they fed on humans

As for Mr. Felis, who sounds like an associate of Fabio, I believe they mean Dinofelis.

I did think Paranthropus was more of a vegetarian but maybe I am behind the times…

HT Grayal Farr.

More AR Follies: Kill Knut!

Now the idiots want to kill a popular polar bear cub in Germany because he was rejected by his mother.

“”Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws,” animal rights activist Frank Albrecht was quoted as saying by the mass-circulation Bild daily, which has featured regular photo spreads tracking fuzzy Knut’s frolicking.

” “The zoo must kill the bear.” “


“Albrecht cited a similar case of a baby sloth bear that was abandoned by its mother last December in the Leipzig city zoo and killed by lethal injection, rather than being kept alive by humans.

“But Knut belongs to the Berlin Zoo, and their veterinarian Andre Schuele, charged with caring for him, disagrees.

“”These criticisms make me angry, but you can’t take them so seriously,” Andre Schuele said. “Polar bears live alone in the wild; I see no logical reason why this bear should be killed.”

“Schuele also argued that given the increased rarity of polar bears in the wild, it makes sense to keep them alive in captivity so that they can be bred.

” “Polar bears are under threat of extinction, and if we feed the bear with a bottle, it has a good chance of growing up and perhaps becoming attractive as a stud for other zoos,” Schuele said.”

Thank God for people with sense. AR, taken to its logical limits, is a death cult– only the dead can’t suffer.

PETA’s Jesus

Even for the notoriously irrational PETA, this is amazing. Having convinced themselves that Christ was a vegetarian, they have created this… installation: a “diner” made out of an Airstream trailer, featuring a model of Christ presiding over a Last Supper company composed of various famous real and alleged vegetarians– Ghandi, George Bernard Shaw, Paul McCartney as Sergeant Pepper, Kafka, and K. D. Lang– all behind bars, so, I guess, they won’t be vandalized, but looking like they are in jail. It is the silliest thing I have seen so far this year.

Some friends had pungent reactions.

Tom McIntyre: “This is my celery? This is my cider?”

Patrick Burns:
“PETA just proves it’s filled with folks that have never read the Bible. Say what you want about Jesus, but he was Jew, and as such was raised in a world in which the Torah — the most sacred book of God — was wrapped in animal skins with the fur still on them. His was a world of sheep and goats, camels and donkeys, horses, and mules. Sheep and goats were routinely sacrificed and eaten, just as they are today. Larger pack animals were used to the very edge of their miserable existence, and then they were killed and skinned for water bags, saddles drums, shoes, bags, and cord — just as they are today. In much of the Middle East, little has changed in 2,000 years, and I assure you that there is no notion of Animal Rights at all.

“In both the Old and New Testaments, animals do not have rights, and in fact at least one day every year — during the Passover sacrifice — practicing Jews always had to eat meat as it was part of the traditional meal. Jesus was born in a manger — a place where beasts of burden and servicve are houses. The story in the New Testament is not of loaves and Tofu, but of loaves and fishes, and it was fish — a living thing — that was killed and which Jesus fed to his followers. Add to this the story in Samuel where the fox’s tail is set on fire to help torch the fields of the Philistines (made famous in a Kipping poem entitled “The Fox Meditates”), the Old Testament tales of frogs falling from the sky (not a good day for the frogs, I suspect), and the wholesale drowning of animals (Great Flood and Exodus), and it’s clear that God is not a PETA member.

“We have more direct evidence, of course. If God made man in his own image, as the Bible says, then God has canine teeth.

“Try to reconcile that with vegetarianism.

“God did not make man alone, of course. He aso made spiders which bind up living things, inject them with poison, and then eat them eat them alive, one piece at a time. God made the hawk which will rip the head of a fluttering sparrow still grasped in his claw. God made the fox which will chew the legs off a living mouse so that the flapping rodent can serve as a toy for its kits.

“In short, God made nature, red in tooth and claw, and I assure you it is not all a mistake.

“OK, enough out of me — off with the dogs for a few hours in the field. Time for me to listen to a little Stained Glass Bluegrass.

“Let us prey.”

A PETA spokesman said “I’ve had people telling me they’re going to be re-evaluating their food choices and lives after seeing the display.”

Maybe after laughing themselves silly they all go off for bloody steaks.


UPDATE: Patrick shares thoughts on his religion.

Prairie Rambles

The last seven years we had been living in a suburban tract house, so when we bought the house here at Moonshine Gulch, I was happy that we could get some property around it. Here is Sadie out back. I must say I have never had a yard before that was narrow-leafed yucca, gramma grass, and prickly pear.

Though our dogs were stressed about moving as I showed in the post below, they are happy campers now that they have more open country to ramble in. We have been taking them on long walks on some open prairie in a county park just to the west of us. Way more fun than walking down a sidewalk on a leash. Sadie has been a city dog all of her short life but is now learning all sorts of new lessons in this new environment: how to avoid burrs and cactus spines in your paws; how to navigate under barbed wire; and that horse poop is a tasty treat. When the weather warms she may learn some lessons about snakes as well.

On our first ramble we discovered the skeleton of what I believe is a fox. Here’s the cranium. Experts please correct me if I’m wrong – all my reference books are in boxes.

We had some light scattered showers yesterday afternoon and the clouds added to the beauty of the sunset. Also, after the rain I realized I had forgotten just how good damp prairie grass smells.


After the movers had picked up all the furniture, our dogs seemed to doubt our assurances that they were coming to Colorado, too.

Roast Capybara – A Holiday Treat

The NY Times had an interesting piece on how the meat of the giant rodent, the capybara, is a prized delicacy in Venezuela, expecially during the Lenten season. Apparently the local Roman Catholic church has given it a status more akin to fish than meat.

The article reminded me of a post I did last year on a traditional Zuni rodent treat, rat-brine.

From the article:

“Capybara aficionados include President Hugo Chavez, who grew up in Barinas, a state on Venezuela’s steamy plains where capybaras are common. On his television show, “Hello, President,” Mr. Chávez has promoted capybara empanadas washed down with papaya juice. “

Steve’s comment was, “And after a few more years of Hugo, that’s all they’ll have…”

Colorado Arrival

Well, we finally did make it here to Denver last Saturday. The movers delivered all of our stuff last Monday, and we are slowly making our way through the sea of boxes in our new house to unpack. We actually found the pots and pans last night and got to really cook, as opposed to microwave heat ups.

Luckily for us the weather has been seasonally mild, after the hard winter here. Some of its traces are still visible on the front porch.

I will be back posting again and will be telling you more about our new neighborhood.

Good Stuff #6: Calligraphy

I just found that our friend Sir Terence Clark does Arabic calligraphy as a pastime, Since he is “dog (saluki/ tazi) friend”, the subject of this piece is not surprising. In his words:

“In this piece I have used at the top a line of poetry – “Without hunting there is no pleasure” – in what is known as Early Kufic, the style in which the first Qur’ans were written. In the main body I have used the later Fatimid Kufic style for two lines from a poem describing the strength of a Saluqi called Muq (which appears in Rex Smith’s book on Ibn Marzuban) – “He springs into action faster than the sword and the spear; he is more effective than arrows and javelins”. The decoration is in the Ottoman style of the 18th century.”

Good Stuff #4: Crazy South African Snake Man

The Alpha Environmentalist sent this pic of his crazy South African friend Neels and his tame seven-foot black mamba, teaching a ranger course. Somehow, the “No Smoking” sign is hilarious in this context.

Jonathan adds: “You could mention that he was bitten by a mamba on an episode of Mark O’Shea’s Big Adventure, and nearly died. Back on his feet the next day. Obviously didn’t make him nervous around mambas.”

Also note the Jonathan Kingdon poster behind…