Terratornis was a genus of huge North American birds of prey.
Taxonomy: 1) Teratornis merriami: Because of the numbers foud at Rancho La Brae and the tar pits, is is by far the most researched species. Over a hundred specimens have been found. It stood about almost 30inches (or 75cm) tall with estimated wingspan of almost 3.8 metres (11.5 to 12.5 ft). Its weight has been estimated at 10 to 15 kilos. 2) Teratornis woodburnensis: In 1999, at Legion Park, Woodburn, Oregon. Parts of the teratornis woodburnesis were found. There was a humerus, parts of the cranium, beak, sternum, and vertebrae. Scientists were able to estimate a wingspan of over 4 meters (14 ft). The find dated to about 12,000 years ago, during the late pleistocene. In combination with this ‘wonder bird’ find. A stratum containing remains of megafauna such as mammoth, mastodon, ground sloths, and early human occupantion was discovered at the site. 3) Another form, “Teratornis” olsoni, was described from the Pleistocene of Cuba, but its affinities are not completely resolved; it might not be a teratorn, but has also been placed in its own genus, Oscaravis. There are also undescribed fossils from southwestern Ecuador, but apart from these forms, teratorns were restricted to North America.
Even when as large as these 4 meter wing spans (almost 15 feet). Bird fossils are very hard to find. It took ten thousand years for scientists to identify the hundreds of teratornis fossils mostly from California, Oregon, southern Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.
Description As in all modern birds, finger bones of ‘wonder birds’ were fused. Though, part of there index finger formed a shelf. It aided in hard take offs, and not when availably enabled to utilize drafts of strong upcurrents. Their legs were strong, there feet could hold prey and tear off pieces. Though, its believed there short length was not quite as forceful as some other birds of prey. Teratorns (or ‘wonder birds’) should have been able to take off by simply jumping and beating there wings. Because its legs were smaller, it seems to have been batter adapted for utilizing a short run into the wind, or off a large tree, ledge or cliff, as some other height point like birds do. They probably inhabited cliffs and rugged terrain, where they could take off and soar through the air easily.
Paleobiology, Diet and Feeding Habits Analysis of functional morphology of skull, its larger bill and ability to spread its mandibles and swallow its prey whole. Suggest it was an active and carnivorous predator rather than a scavenger. Similar to condors. Other viewpoints note that like many old world vultures that possess large bills. It allowed them to probe deeper into large carcasses. Small and sideward facing eyes and there low skull are also consistent with a scavenging lifestyle. For these crazy birds, small prey such as frogs, lizards, snakes, young birds, and rodents were swallowed whole. Larger mammels or carion would have been fed on similar to condors or vultures.
Locomotion An analysis of the teratornis pelvic area and stout; and, columnar hind leg bones suggests that its legs had greater anteroposterior ability than condors. And, that they were agily, well-suited for walking and stalking prey on the ground. More similarl to storks and turkeys. Opposite, their flight was similar to that of condors. The large condor birds fly by means of soaring on rising up-currents. Generally weak currents are subject to sudden changes in strength and direction. Their ability to react to these, sometimes sudden current changes, and maintain flight is essential. Contrary to some other birds who rely more on current. There ability to deal with wind, draft, and current changes. Has to do with their emarginated primary feathers. Which can separate, adapt and move independently during flight. Because of there size, they needed it.
Habitat Wonderbirds legs are quite short for it to take flight by just running on flat ground like some birds do. Because of this it has been hypothisied teratornis started at heights where it could take off, flap its large wings a few times, and soar through the air easily. These birds were thought to have been attracted to tar pits by struggling Pleistocene megafauna. Cats, mammoth, sloth and other fauna were attracted to the water that would pool on top of the tar. The teratorns sometimes would fight, or struggle with they megafauna and fall victim to the sludgy deposits. Yikes. At the tar or sludge deposits, vultures and other birds were also present. Teratornis would have been also adapted to hunt for smaller animals which also would had been around the pools.
Like eagles, skull and bill shape analysis identifys that fish may have also constituted a large portion of the ‘wonder birds’ diet. Though not quite as developed as an eagles legs. Fish are slippery and can be large. They had strong legs, stout claws, and gripping power. Its more likely they hunted like osprey, which also explains why it was significant at Rancho La Brae. They were probably fighting or struggling with pleistocene megafauna, as well as other birds.
Perhaps the Teratornis or ‘wonder bird’, are what some native Americans, aboriginals, and people spoke of mythologically. And, about a thunder-bird. No matter what the cause these were some big birds. Lets hear it for the giant north American bird of prey. Teratornis’s. Your wonder bird.
The Snowmastodon site, or ‘Ziegler reservoir fossil site’ brought in crews from the museum of nature & science along with construction crews. Nearing completion, in one year, 36,000 vertebrate fossils (including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, horses, camels and deer), were discovered. Approximately 3,000 of them were mastodons. The site holds the record for the most mastodons preserved in a single location. Including the largest mastodon ever found.
By the time excavation completed, more than 300 people, from at least 19 institutions removed 8000 cubic meters of sediment. The village even announced a Mammoth music fest. With chilli, music and arts.
It was an amazing find, not just because of the location. The scientists and builders had also recovered at least 52 different late pleistocene vertebrate animals. It included a camel, horse, sloth and smaller vertebrates. In a short span of time, the speed of the project was unlike anything ever completed.
Importance: The Ziegler reservoir fossil site is unique because it is one of the only site from the sangamonian stage, at higher elevations. It also preserved multiple alpine ecosystems stacked on top. Scientists had been looking for plant bio-geography of the Rocky Mountains during the last interglacial period. Some of the beetles were still iridescent, and large logs were still preserved. They got what they needed.
Vertebrate Fauna: The 52 macro and micro vertebrate taxa represent a diverse assemblage of fauna included to the rancholabrean north American land mammal age. Smaller vertebrate species included: trout, frog, salamander, snake, lizard, duck, goose, pheasant, crane, finch, shrew, river otter, bear, coyote, rabbit, chipmunk, squirrel, beaver, mice and other small rodents. The most abundant species found was the tiger salamander.
There were 7 megafauna taxa. These taxa include: ▪ Columbian mammoth (mammuthus columbi) – Four individuals, including the first fossil recovered from the site. ▪ American mastodon (mammut americanum) – This is the largest site for mastodons in the world with at least 35 individuals present. ▪ Jefferson’s ground sloth (megalonyx jeffersonii) – This marks the first time this species has been found in Colorado. ▪ Giant bison (bison latifrons) – The Ziegler reservoir is one of only three sites to produce multiple individuals of B. latifrons and the highest known elevation for this species. ▪ Deer – At least 2 individuals of indeterminate species. ▪ Camelops – A single tooth belonging to the extinct camel genus, was found in lake-center deposits. It is also the highest known elevation for this genus. ▪ Horse – A single foot bone from an indeterminate species of Equus.
Insects: Spanning from intervals of 125,000 to 77,000 years ago. A total of 99 taxa of insect were identified from samples. These fossils included the oldest known pleistocene high elevation insect faunas from the rocky mountains. The fossil assemblages were dominated by beetles, ants, midges, and caddisflies. They were used in part, to document the climatic oscillations during the time.
Fossil Flora: 99 taxa of plant macrofossils, including seeds, leaves, needles, cones, twigs and wood were identified. Ranging in size from small stems, to logs greater than 50 cm in diameter. Species of fir, douglas fir, spruce, pine, sagebrush, spruce, pine, oak, juniper, as well as herbaceous and aquatic plants were represented. Most of the wood fossils came from the “beach” horizon at the lake margin.
Now that the site is covered with water, scientists are not concerned. Being underwater helps preserve the fossils and the reservoir can be drained if ever the need arises for additional excavations and research.
Depicted in everything from hunting/trapping and fur trading, to fantasy stories and causing grief in and around everyones of water. In Latin: “beaver” (castor), “like” (oides), or giant beaver, are giant rats with large flat tails. They are an extinct genus of enormous, bear-sized beaver that lived in North America during the Pleistocene.
Desciption: Species of castoroides are much larger than modern beavers. Their average length was approximately 6.2 ft, and they could grow as large as 7.2 ft. The weight could vary from 198 lb to 276 lb. This makes it the largest known rodent in north America during the Pleistocene and the largest known beaver.
Recent analyses suggest that they could have weighed less, closer to 170 lb, but this is disputable. The hind feet of the giant beaver were much larger than in modern beavers, though the hind legs were shorter. The tail was longer and may not have been as paddle-shaped as in modern beavers. More like a musk rat. It can only be assumed that its feet were webbed, as in modern species and allowing it maneuverability underwater. Its skull was different, suggesting that it participated in greater underwater activity. They had a greater ability to take oxygen into its lungs. One of the defining characteristics of the giant beavers, or any beaver for that matter, is their incisor teeth. The giant beavers teeth were much larger and the shape was different too. Modern beavers have incisor teeth with smooth enamel, while the teeth of the giant beaver had a striated, textured enamel surface. Perhaps for digesting plants? Their teeth were also much larger, up to 6 in long.
Larger and dumber? One other major differences between the giant beaver and our modern day beaver is that the size of brains. The giant beavers brain was proportionally smaller. Given that less humans were around, they probably had less complex patterns of thoughts and behaviour.
There are two known species:
Castoroides dilophidus (found in Florida and the southeastern states only)
Castoroides ohioensis (found throughout continental United States and Canada) These two species of giant beaver (genus Castoroides) are not close relatives to modern beavers (genus Castor).
Discovery and species: In 1837, castoroides fossils were first discovered in a peat bog in Ohio. Its why the species was named ohioensis. The north Indiana historical society found a decent preserved skull though a few pieces were missing. Eventually they put an entire skeleton together in around 1900.
Giant beavers had cutting teeth up to 6″ long with prominently-ridged outer surfaces. These strong enamel ridges would have acted as girders to support such long teeth. Further, the deepmasseteric fossa of the lower jaw suggests a very powerful bite. Their teeth could have acted as wood-cutters and gouges. It is unknown weaither the giant beaver felled trees or built dams, however a possible lodge was discovered near New Knoxville, Ohio around 1912. Part of a giant beaver skull was found in the peaty loam which could have been a part of the damn.
Dams: four feet high, 8 feet diameter? In Ohio, there have been claims of a possible giant beaver lodge, formed from small (aspen, cottonwood, birch, popular) saplings. It could be evidence for lodge building as the current beaver also is known for building lodges.
Sheridan cave: Remains of the giant beaver, paleo indian artifacts and other pleistocene aged critters were found in Ohio. In Wyandot county, in the Sheridan cave, remains of the flat-headed peccary, giant short-faced bear, and the stag moose were all found.
Where do you find giant beavers? Fossils are concentrated around the midwestern USA near the Great Lakes, particularly Illinois and Indiana. Specimens have also been recorded in Alaska, Canada and Florida. In Canada, fossils of this species are commonly found around Old Crow, and northern Yukon. Single specimens are known from Toronto and Indian Island, New Brunswick. The Toronto areas record of a giant beaver skull from near Highgate, Ontario is the earliest for Canada in 1891. In the Old Crow region, fossils occur in the sangamonian interglacial deposits and are still being discovered.
The quaternary terrestrial mammal fauna of New Brunswick has not been significant, and the discovery of giant beaver suggests this area probably has greater than previously indicated. It is debatable if more megafauna will be found here.
Castoroides dilophidus has been placed in a separate species because it is from the southeastern US and because of differences in premolar and molar features. Martin (1969). More than 25 pleistocene localities in Florida have been observed, 23 of Rancholabrean age. 1 is of possible Irvingtonian age, and 1 of late Blancan.
Castoroides dilophidus specimens have been unearthed in South Carolina. The latter Cooper river site (strawberry hill), was dated at 1.8 million—11,000 years ago. Before it was changed to castoroides dilophidus, castoroides leiseyorum was named by S. Morgan and J. A. White in 1995 for the Leisey shell pit. In Hillsborough county, Florida, is paleontological site dates to about 2.1 Mya.
North America ice age distribution: During our most recent ice age, and the 30,000 to 11,700 years, giant beavers were restricted primarily to the central and eastern U.S. (McDonald and Bryson 2010). They were most abundant south of the Great Lakes in Illinois and Indiana.
What was happening at the end of the Pleistocene: Something big happened to extinct the giant beaver at end of the Pleistocene. Most agree it went extinct due to reduction and disappearance of preferred habitat. The climate warmed and the glaciers retreated north. Clovis people eventually came. And, scientists still research many of these areas.
McDonald and Bryson in 2010, claimed beavers liked the cooler annual temperatures, with strong growing seasons but it may have been the spring rains that wiped food supply and the giant beavers out. It is cooler north, and with the spring rains increasing, it would have shortened growing seasons significantly. Swinehart and Richards in 2001, also claimed that for a period late pleistocene, lakes, ponds marshes may have actually increased habitat. Climate change; humans; competition from other species/preditors; a great event, or combination(s). One thing always leads to another. Cool hypotheses.
Midwestern Paleontological Finds: Illinois has had the greatest remains of giant beaver in the midwest. There are at least seven localities in central and northern Illinois: Alton, hopwood, Clear Lake Sand and Gravel, Polecat Creek, Bellflower, New Bedford and Phillips Park. In central Indiana, there are at least 3: Prairie creek, Shoals, and Christensen bog. It has also been documented in Michigan: I-96 site, Dowagiac river, and near the city of Ludington. In Ohio, giant beaver documented from Carter site and Sheriden pit. It has been recovered from the Witte Farm in southern Wisconsin, Boney springs central Missouri, and, as well, two localities near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Extinction: Following the last glacial maximum. Castoroides disappeared from northern populations, Alaska and the Yukon about 18,000 years ago. Alongside tens of other iconic north American pleistocene megafauna. Castoroides went totally extinct during the pleistocene–holocene transition, around southern great lakes and south eastern us region, 11,700 years ago. It coincides with the arrival of the Clovis people in the region. And, climate change , which was believed to have a bigger effect in the extinction event.
Beaver hunting and Interaction with humans: Little is known for certain about human interactions with giant beavers. Remains are found along with human artifacts in Sheriden Cave, Ohio and first Nations talk about it. Yet, there is still no 100% evidence that humans hunted Castoroides dilophidus or ohioensis (‘giant beaver’).
The Innu and Mississaugas do feature a giant beaver in their traditional mythology. Nation members believe there is evidence of some human interaction with with giant beaver. In 1972, sociologists claimed ‘giant beaver’ was the basis of an Algonquin myth. Gargantuan beavers created dams so big, on the Saint John River, the lake behind it almost reached the sea. A popular figure, Glooscap. Struck down the dam with his axe, creating the Reversing Falls. Glooscap chased the monster beaver upstream, creating several islands in the river while attempting to strike it through the ice. The beaver constructed another dam which created the Great Lakes, and fled through these to the land beyond. Several versions of an Anishinaabe story tell of “giant beavers” who “walked upright and stood as tall as the tallest man” as well.
Did the giant beavers jam up creeks and rivers like they do today? Many scholars believe that stories like these could be evidence of humans and giant beavers. North American indigenous people encounter giant beaver or, at the very least, their fossils in a cave. It could indicate evidence of beaver/human conflict similar to what we have today.
Following its favorite snack, the woolly mammoth, it was said north American scimitar toothed cats may have migrated across the bering land bridge and spread throughout north America.
Discovery was by the famous French paleontologist Baron Cuvier, in 1824. He was the first to describe the serrated teeth of homotherium from deposits in France, thinking they belonged to a bear, or something else. They had less fossils than there cousins the sabre tooth cats, and it was believed they originated from them somehow, or, other cat beasts millions of years ago. Emilio Fabrini proposed the name homotherium in 1890. Translated in greek as ‘same beast’.
In north American, around 1893, the scimitar cat was first described by E.D. Cope as dinobastis serus. Its remains, from deposits dating between about 1.5 million and 10,000 years old, are known from Yukon to Florida. By 1962, they had adopted homotherium serum.
There is little doubt the “same beasts, or scimitars”, like sabre tooth cats, were derived from the late pliocene – early pleistocene (about 2 million years). And in turn, derived from machairodus, even longer ago.
Biology: 6 feet and 300 pounds? Modern lions are similar size to scimitar but without the slender limbs. “same beasts” had 4 inch wide serrated teeth to inflict wounds. And, unlike there sabre tooth cousins teeth, which may have been a sexual attraction in finding mates, there shorter wider, finely serrated teeth, made a more powerful slicing tool. They had long legs, and sloping back. It allowed scimitar to travel up to 65km/h. See enlarged nose and nostrils? These cats were sneaky, sensory killing machines.
Actual skeletons of ‘same beasts’ suggests that h. serum is built for short bursts of speed, as well as agility. The first neck of the vertebra helped to support there massive muscles used to depress the head and teeth to inflict a killing bite. The pelvic region, including the sacral vertebrae, are bear-like. As is the short tail composed of 13 vertebrae. About half the number in long-tailed cats. Such features suggest ambushing and coming from behind.
Gassaway fissure and Friesenhahn caves:
The recovery adults and there cubs from caves in Texas and Tennessee suggest these animals lived in dens, possibly in family groups. This is further supported by the association of multiple mastodons found inside them. And, unlike dens of some of the other cat like species like sabretooths, mountain lions and others.
Did u see a scimitar cave den?
A partly dis-articulated skeleton of a juvenile, found with two complete adult skeletons, from Gassaway Fissure, Tennessee, estimated to have been 2 to 4 months old at death, probably represents a cub born in a denning cave.
Of great interest, were between 300 and 400 juvenile mammoths found in the caves. The majority were just 2-year olds. probably such calves became easy prey for scimitar cats. Indeed, the association of scimitars, homotherium or “same beasts” with proboscideans (elephants and mastodons) and rhino remains constant. It reinforces the idea that ‘same beasts or scimitars’ preyed selectively on these tough-skinned animals. As well long nose peccary’s, and turtles which were found in Texas, these “same beasts” would probably take down anything smaller than a young mastodon or rhino. Given the meal size, it could last there family weeks, or more.
What is a scimitar hunt?
Picture a grassy parkland like environment where mammoth or prey are usually found. Leaving its cave shelter or den, from stalking, the felid cat beast approaches a small heard of mammoths. After crouching behind small juniper tree brushes, it selectively finds its prey. A young 2 year old columbian mammoth playing slowly at distance from the pack. So starts a blindsidingly quick rush alongside the mammoth calf (pic). The cat jump attacks, snowballing its prey over, its deep claws pierce the shoulder of the mammoth so bad it is screaming. Straddling the chest of the crying woolly calf, the beast cat slashes the exposed mammoths neck with its scimitars. Immediately the child mammoths mother, and rest of the herd move forward, trumpeting towards action. Within minutes the mammoth calf quickly bleeds to death, while the ‘cat beast” retreats to cover nearby. When the herd finally abandons the young mammoth kill, the cat cautiously approaches, dragging the body in its powerful jaws, into its cave. There it dismembers and eats its prey, shearing and breaking down large chunks of flesh with its fangs and gulping them down. Only its baby teeth and its limb bone sockets are left, with telltale scratches and marks left to commemorate the scimitar cats killing power.
Though not an antelope, it is known in north Americas as the American antelope, prong buck, pronghorn antelope and prairie antelope. It resembles the antelope and fills a similar ecological niche. It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.
About 11 antilocaprid species existed in North America. During the pleistocene epoch three other genera (capromeryx, stockoceros and tetrameryx) existed but are now extinct. As member of the superfamily giraffoidea, the pronghorn’s closest living relatives are the giraffe and okapi. Giraffoidea are members of the infraorder pecora. Making pronghorns distant relatives of the cervidae (deer) and bovidae (cattle, goats, sheep, antelopes, and gazelles). The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the western hemisphere, with running speeds of up to 90 km/h (55 mph). It is featured on the symbol of the American society of mammalogists.
First seen by the spanish explorers in 16th and 17th century. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the pronghorn was particularly abundant in the region of the plains indians and region of northwest plateau. Because of its speed looks and maneuvers. It was featured prominently in Native American mythology and history.
First detailed description 1805-1806: Exploring the mid west, following the discovery of a few subspecies of the sharp-tailed grouse, captain Meriwether Lewis and second Lieutenant William Clark came across the pronghorn near the mouth of the Niobrara River, in present-day Nebraska. Clark was among the first Euro-Americans to publish the experience of killing a pronghorn as follows: “I walked on shore to find the Ionia Volcano … in my walk I killed a buck goat of this countrey, about the height of the Grown Deer, its body shorter the horns which is not very hard and forks 2 ⁄ 3 up one prong Short the other round & Sharp arched, and is immediately above its eyes the color is a light gray with black behind its ears down the neck, and its face white round its neck, its sides and its rump round, its tail which is short & white; very actively made, has only a pair of hoofs to each foot, his brains on the back of his head, his Nostrals large, his eyes like a sheep he is more like the Antilope or gazelle of Africa than any other species of Goat.”
Some of the indians near the rocky mountains hunt these animals on horseback, and shoot them with arrows. Another method is to form a large, strong pen or fold in, from which a fence is made of trees and bushes. Gradually widening on each side. The animals are surrounded by the hunters, and they use the tree bushed fence pen move in and surround them. Pronhorns would find themselves enclosed, and at the mercy of the hunters.
Habitat: Pronghorns prefer open, expansive terrain at elevations varying between 3,000 and 5,900 ft. Densest populations in areas receiving around 10–15 1 ⁄ 2 in of rainfall per year. They eat a wide variety of plant foods, including plants unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock, though they also compete with them for food. A couple studies showed: forbs comprised 62% of their diet, shrubs 23%, and grasses 15%; while another, cacti 40%, grass 22%, forbs 20%, and shrubs 18%. Pronghorns also chew and eat (ruminate) cud. Healthy pronghorn populations tend to stay within 3–4 mi of a water source. An ongoing migration study by the Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society shows an overland route that covers more than 260 km (160 mi). You bet they would need some food.
Behaviour: The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is dependent upon the length of time over which it is measured. It can run 35 mph 4 mi, 68 km/h (40 mp/H) for 1 mi, and 88.5 km/h (55 mph) for 800 m or 1 ⁄ 2 mi. While it is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the African cheetah, it sustains high speeds longer. Pronghorns may have evolved there running thousands of years ago escaping from now-extinct predators such as the American cheetah. There large windpipe, heart, and lungs allow it to take in large amounts of air when running. Additionally, pronghorn hooves have two long, cushioned, pointed toes which help absorb shock when running at high speeds. They also have an extremely light bone structure and hollow hair. They are not built for jumping. Since their ranges are sometimes affected by ranchers’ fences, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. For this reason wildlife foundations are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences.
Range and ecology: Present-day range of the pronghorn extends from southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada south into the United States through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, and central Texas. West to coastal southern California and northern Baja California Sur, and Sonora and San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico. Formally they had been found in Iowa and Minnesota in the United States and from Manitoba in Canada. A subspecies known as the Sonoran pronghorn (A. a. sonoriensis) occurs in Arizona and Mexico. Other subspecies include the Mexican pronghorn (A. a. mexicana), the Oregon pronghorn (A. a. oregona), and the critically endangered Baja California pronghorn (A. a.peninsularis). Subspecies A. a. americana A. a. mexicana A. a. oregona A. a. peninsularis A. a. sonoriensis The migrating pronghorn start travel from the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains through Craters of the Moon National Monument to the Continental Divide. Dr. Scott Bergen of the Wildlife Conservation Society says “This study shows that pronghorn are the true marathoners of the American West. With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration – an increasingly rare phenomenon in the U.S. and worldwide.”
Social behavior and reproduction: Pronghorns form mixed-sex herds in the winter. In early spring, the herds break up. Young males forming bachelor groups. Females form harems. And, adult males live solitarily. Some female bands share the same summer range, and bachelor male bands form between spring and fall. Females form dominance hierarchies with few circular relationships. Dominant females aggressively displace other females from feeding sites. Adult males either defend a fixed territory that females may enter, or defend a harem of females. A pronghorn may change mating strategies depending on environmental or demographic conditions. Where precipitation is high, adult males tend to be territorial and maintain their territories with scent marking, vocalizing, and challenging intruders. In these systems, territorial males have access to better resources than bachelor males. Females also employ different mating strategies. “Sampling” females visit several males and remain with each for a short time before switching to the next male at an increasing rate as estrous approaches. “Inciting” females behave as samplers until estrous, and then incite conflicts between males, watching and then mating with the winners. Before fighting, males try to intimidate each other. If intimidation fails, they lock horns and try to injure each other. “Quiet” females remain with a single male in an isolated area throughout estrous. Females continue this mating behavior for two to three weeks. When courting an estrous female, a male pronghorn approaches her while softly vocalizing and waving his head side to side, displaying his cheek patches. The scent glands on the pronghorn are on either side of the jaw, between the hooves, and on the rump. A receptive female remains motionless, sniffs his scent gland, and then allows the male to mount her.
Biology: The pronghorn was first officially described by American ornithologist George Ord in 1815. In his description: “distinct white fur on their rumps, sides, breasts, bellies, and across their throats. Adult males are 4 ft 3 in –4 ft 11 in long from nose to tail, stand 2 ft 8 in – 3 ft 5 in high at the shoulder, and weigh 88–143 lb. The females are the same height as males, but weigh 75–106 lb. The feet have two hooves, with no dewclaws. Their body temperature is 38 °C (100 °F). Eye sockets are prominent and set high on the skull. Teeth are hypsodont, and each horn is composed of a slender, laterally flattened blade of bone which is thought to grow from the frontal bones of the skull, or from the subcutaneous tissues of the scalp, forming a permanent core. As in the Giraffidae, skin covers the bony cores, but in the pronghon it develops into a keratinous sheath which is shed and regrown annually. Unlike the horns of the family Bovidae, the horn sheaths of the pronghorn are branched, each sheath having a forward-pointing tine (hence name). Males have a horn sheath around 10 in. Females have smaller horns that range around 5 in. Males are further differentiated from females in having a small patch of black hair at the angle of the mandible. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is on the sides of the head. They also have very large eyes with a 320° field of vision. Unlike deer, pronghorns possess a gallbladder.”
Pronghorns have a gestation period of 7–8 months, which is longer than typical north American ungulates. Typically they breed in mid-September, and the doe carries her fawn until late May. Sexual maturity is reached at 15 to 16 months, though males rarely breed until three. Natural lifespan is 8-15 years.
Population and conservation: At the turn of the 20th century, members of the wildlife conservation group Boone and Crockett Club had determined that the extinction of the pronghorn was likely. In a letter from George Bird Grinnell, Boone and Crockett Club chairman of the game preservation committee, to Walter L. Fisher, Secretary of the Interior, Grinnell stated, “The Club is much concerned about the fate of the pronghorn which appears to be everywhere rapidly diminishing.” By the 1920s, hunting pressure had reduced the pronghorn Pronghorns in Montana in North America. population to about 13,000. Boone and Crockett Club member Charles Alexander Sheldon, in a letter to fellow member Grinnell, wrote, “Personally, I think that the antelope are doomed, yet every attempt should be made to save them.” Although the club had begun their efforts to save the pronghorn in 1910 by funding and restocking the Wichita Game Refuge in Oklahoma, the National Bison Range in Montana, and the Wind Cave National Park, in South Dakota, most of the efforts were doomed since experience demonstrated that after initial increases the pronghorns would die off because of the fenced enclosures. In 1927, Grinnell spearheaded efforts along with the helpof T. Gilbert Pearson of Grinnell’s National Audubon Society to create the Charles Alexander Sheldon Antelope Refuge in northern Nevada. About 2900 acres of land were jointly purchased by the two organizations and subsequently turned over to the Biological Survey as a pronghorn refuge. This donation was contingent upon the government’s adding 30,000 acres of surrounding public lands. On June 20, 1929, United States president Herbert Hoover included the required public lands upon request of the Department of Agriculture andthe Department of the Interior after learning that the Boone and Crockett Club and the National Audubon Society were underwriting the private land buyout. On January 26, 1931, Hoover signed the executive order for the refuge. On December 31, 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order creating a 222,000-hectare (549,000-acre) tract; this was the true beginning for pronghorn recovery. The protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed pronghorn numbers to recover to an estimated population between 500,000 and 1,000,000 since the 1930s. Some recent decline has occurred in a few localized populations, due to bluetongue disease which is spread from sheep, but the overall trend has been positive. Pronghorn migration corridors are threatened by habitat fragmentation and the blocking of traditional routes. In a migration study conducted by Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society, at one point, the migration corridor bottlenecks to an area only 200 yards wide. Pronghorns are now quite numerous, and outnumbered people in Wyoming and parts of northern Colorado until just recently. They are legally hunted in western states for purposes of population control and food. No major range-wide threats exist, although localized declines are taking place, particularly to the Sonoran pronghorn, mainly as a result of livestock grazing, the construction of roads, fences, and other barriers that prevent access to historical habitat, illegal hunting, insufficient forage and water, lack of recruitment and climate change.
Endangerment, and predators: These subspecies considered endangered: sonoran pronghorn (Mexico) has an estimated population of fewer than 300; while there are approximately 200 peninsula pronghorn in Baja California. Recovery plans are in place.
While sabretooth cats, american lions, scimitars, direwolfs, and even flat nosed bears would have preyed upon the pronghorn before the pleistocene epoch. Cougars (puma concolor), wolves (canis lupus), coyotes (canis latrans), grizzly bears (ursus arctos horribilis) and bobcats (lynx rufus) are major predators of pronghorns. Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) have been reported to prey on fawns. Jaguars (Panthera onca) also likely prey on pronghorns in their native range in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico.
All pronghorns require permits, or approval to trap or hunt. If they are charging. Run, hide; or, prepare quickly. Now you know.
Like its living relative, the armadillo, glyptotheriums had a shell which covered its entire body, but similar to a turtle could tuck its head in. Covered in small six-sided scales. Some species grew up to six feet long and its armor weighed up to a ton. Remains of glyptotherium or ‘groove carved beast’ have been found in tropical and subtropical regions of Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Central America, and Mexico. It was also found in the southern United States from Florida and South Carolina to Arizona. Unlike some of the other south American species glyptotherium is the only known North American glyptodont.
Smilodon or other cat; dog or lion, the right size, and brave enough may have had distinctive elliptical advantage(s): Puncture marks on fossils best match those of the sabretooth cat, indicating that the predator successfully risked biting into bone to kill the armored herbivore. This was the only option available for a predator intent on hunting such heavily armored critters. Found in Arizonia, the head scared glyptotherium in question was a juvenile, with a still-developing head shield.
Fossil finds: Fossils attributable to glyptotherium were found as early as the 1870s. Civil engineers J. N. Cuatáparo and Santiago Ramírez collected a skull, nearly complete carapace, and associated postcranial skeleton of a glyptodont from a drainage canal near Tequixquiac, Mexico. In 1888/89 Edward drinker cope found skeleton remains in Nueces County, Texas; and, DeSoto County, Florida.
Taxonomy: Glyptotherium was named by Osborn in 1903, from pliocene Blancan Beds in Llano Estacado, Texas. Its confusing but not much was known from the partial skeletons. Glyptodontinae was assigned by Osborn (1903), Brown (1912), Carroll (1988), Downing and White in (1995), Cisneros (2005) and Mead et al. (2007) . Remains have also been unearted from pleistocene deposits in Jalisco, Mexico. “Grove carved beasts” lived to around 7,000 years ago.
Size, weight and difference in species(2): Glyptotherium reached up to 2 meters (6.56 feet) long and 400 kilograms (880 pounds) in weight, making it one of the largest glyptodonts. It was not as large as its close relative Glyptodon or Doedicurus, the largest known of the glyptodont(s). That were found in south and central America. Glyptotherium weights and sizes vary, but G. texanum was smaller and lighter than the later species, G. cylindricum. One specimen of G. cylindricum was estimated at 350-380 kilograms, compared to 457 kg of its relative Glyptodon reticulatus. Glyptotherium texanum differs from G. cylindricum in the configuration of the external sculpturing of symmetrical, hexagonal osteoderms in the dorsal carapace. In the osteoderms of adult G. texanum, the central figures of the osteoderms are flat or weakly convex and very large, while those of G. cylindricum are flat or concave and much smaller.
Biology and physical description: Glyptotherium is considered an example of north American megafauna. They were very graviportal. They had short limbs that are similar to those in other glyptodonts. Like its living relative, the armadillo, the ‘groove carved beast’ had a shell that covered its entire torso, with smaller armor also covering the skull roof of the head, similar to a turtle. However, unlike the carapace of a turtle, ‘groove or carved beast’ shell was made up of hundreds of small hexagonal scales. Shells had been found preserved with more than 1800 osteoderm markings. This axial skeleton of glyptodonts show extensive fusion in the vertebral column and the pelvis too. Which is fused to the carapace. The large tails served as a counterbalance. And, composing of 2-3 fused tubes, there caudal armor ended in a blunt tube they could use as a swinging weapon.
Diet: Glyptotherium was primarily a grazer, but also had a mixed diet of fruits and other plants, that lived on open grasslands. The armor could protect the animal from predators, of which many existed. Including “saber-tooth cats” smilodon; “bone-crushing dogs” borophagus; and, flat nosed bear arctotherium.
Eyesight did you know? rod monochromacy is a rare condition characterized by the absence of cone photo receptor cells in the eyes of vertebrates. It results in colorblindness and low acuity vision in dim-light conditions. Also: blindness in bright-light conditions. Glyptotherium and many of the glyptodents had this. There tough carapace and osteoderms probably made up for it.
Extinction: Glyptotherium or “groove carved beasts” may have been wiped out by climate change or human interference. Around 7,000 years ago.
Battle axe, Disease, and pathologies: Because it was thicker, there caraspace and osteoderm shieldings were less flexible than those of modern armadillos. There is evidence it used its tail as a club. Especially during twilight or evening battles when its eyesight wasn’t handicapped. Skeletal analysis identified of joints indicated this. As well as “groove carved beast” shielding from predators. Many that survived had arthritis.
Paleoecology: Paleoecology may have varied across regions and its 2 species. Glyptotherium was primarily a grazer in forested grasslands and arboreal savannahs. They may have also preferred grasslands near water sources. In Guatemalas high altitudes, they were even found. Showing they are highly adaptable. Supported by diet, and these conditions, skeletons have been found all over. In tropical, subtropical, forested, and even semi-aquatic environments.
Relationship with humans: The first report of possible human consumption or interaction with glyptotherium or its fossils came in 1958, where several osteoderms that were possibly consumed by humans were described from the Clovis site in Lewisville, Texas. There have also been documented cases of tribal leaders covered in or decorated with glypotherium dating back to indiginous north American tradition. Wow, who knew the “groove carved beast” were so cool.
It did allow ranch hand, and self taught archaeologist, names George McJunkin to locate some sort of a large dead vertebrate in a water gully. And, that later would become known as the Folsom or ‘Dead horse arroyo’ archaeology site. 13km (8miles) west of the village.
Amongst much practical debate, excavations begin. Beginning in 1926, archaeologists from the museum of nature and science, uncovered a large marsh kill site or kill bog, where 32 bison and Folsom projectile points were found.
This site later became a cull in the early history of man. Folsom, (and others) finds, confirmed man had been in the Americas, for far early than previously believed.
The original Folsom point, still embedded in the matrix between the two bison ribs, can be seen on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Where is Folsom, New mexico? Folsom is in north eastern, New mexico.
Spanning at least 27-20k years ago. Dolní Věstonice is an open-air site located along a stream. Its people hunted mammoths and other herd animals. It was known for saving mammoth and other bones that could be used to construct living spaces, and fence-like boundarys. In this way, the perimeter of the sites would be easily distinguishable. Outside logs, fuel; weapons, tools; supply and resources could be brought in safely.
This area, was one of the first, and best known, to provide rich deposits of archaeological evidence, regarding ice age people of Europe. It showed how people constructed huts of mammoth bones, log and timber, as well as technology art and burial practices.
In one of Dolní Věstonices huts, scientists discovered possibly the oldest clay kilns. It was dating to 28-24,000 years ago. This is truly is an epi-centre for pioneers of European and neolithic tradition.
The Venice of Dolní Věstonice became well known for generations because of its fertility or possibly as a female idol or goddessness. Many carved animal bones, including ivory were found. They depicted mammoth, rhinoceros, bear and lion. Even man and women carvings were found.
It had been suggested Dolní Věstonice and its figurenes had magical significance. Nowadays we see them as pieces of art, but to paleolithic and neolithic men/women. It was probably a lot more.
They resembled rhinosaurus and lived in southern United States until the pleistocene epoch or quantanary extinction event 11,700 years ago. Known as a notoungulate (or hoofed) mammals. They had teeth with high crowns and open roots. Meaning they fed on plants and tough pampas grasses.