In search of Dragons

top-10-newly-recorded-monkeyThe gestation period of alpaca is a year. Baboon 187 days and the black bear 220 days.

I know this because my internet searching today has taken me from the Magna Carta through a brief study of unicorns and ending up with an alphabetical list of the gestation periods of mammals. Don’t even ask me why.

Zebra; 380 days.

So what have I learned after an hour of clicking with little purpose? Well not a great deal actually. I have one or two golden nuggets to remember during a pub quiz and have a great deal of sympathy and respect for the female domestic white mouse (20 days).

Poor wee thing 20 days really is no time at all to have a crazy, shit did I really? and with him?? night, to popping out a few little baby mice. No time to paint the room blue or pink, no time to book your maternity leave, no time at all. Its tough being a mouse.

But if you think the mouse has a rough ride, spare a thought for the poor Alien out of the Alien movies. Theirs is somewhere between 5mins and an hour depending on the editing, albeit the female alien doest actually have to carry the young so its probably not a fair comparison.

It’s a relative size thing. Elephants are the longest, mice the shortest. So following his logic Karen Carpenter would only take about 3months and Pavarotti’s mum carried him for over 2 years. Probably.

Unicorns are strange animals. A horse with a horn. And according to my searching and the so called experts they don’t exist. You are as likely to bump into a unicorn in a field as you are a Jedi knight. But I am not so sure.

In a believable hierarchy of mythical creatures should one exist unicorns have to come pretty close to the top. Why wouldn’t a unicorn exist? If you can have a horse or a stripy black and white horse or even small hairy narky horses then why not one with a horn?

Horns exist, horses exist so it’s a logical combination no?

The list of mythical animals is a long one. Each society has their own; big foot, Nessy, dog of Yama, leprechaun to name but a few. Dragons and unicorns seem to exist in most societies and appear in most continents around the world though. When I say appear, I mean have been depicted.

My favourite, for today at least, is the Loveland Frog. It lives in Ohio in the US and has the body of a human and the head of, you guessed it, a frog.

Can you imagine such a monstrous creature? Think of the ugliest person you know, imagine them with bad green skin and warts. If that wasn’t enough now imagine them being able to puff up their cheeks like bubble-gum and employing a curious seduction technique – that’s the Loveland Frog.

Is Yoda the last of his race?

So yes, Unicorns I think existed at one time and believe its only a matter of time before some anthropologist or bearded time team type proves it. That or we manage to recreate one from a mozzie trapped in amber. Dragons also, why not?

They could have existed. We have dinosaurs, we have flying dinosaurs so why not dragons? The fire breathing piece is a little problematic but if today we found a non-fire belching dragon I think it would  be reasonably big news regardless.

An animal was discovered last week.

High up in the treetops of the Andes lives the Olinguito. Weighing in at two pounds it is a member of the raccoon family and for years has been mistaken as another raccoon, the Olingo. This ‘discovery’ was announced to much fanfare and news coverage. Pictures of the small, bored looking dull brown animal were plastered over websites or newspapers under misleading headlines like ‘NEW SPECIES OF MAMMAL FOUND!’ or ‘DISCOVERY OF THE DECADE!’.

Really? I don’t think so.

The Olinguito is just one or two DNA strands or two vowels and a consonant different to the Olingo and its not like it was found, Indiana Jones style, in some remote cave or jungle. The Olinguito has been sitting in plain sight in Zoos and in Peruvian casserole dishes for ever. This discovery is no discovery.

Strangely enough another animal was discovered in the last few years, a monkey no less and I don’t quite know why this had significantly less news coverage. This particular monkey known to the scientific community as the Lesula Monkey was discovered in Africa and aside from DNA differences it distinguishes itself with unique colouring and markings. Including blue testicles. As you might imagine the common name for the newly discovered monkey is the Blue Balled Monkey and why this didn’t precipitate a tsunami of headlines I don’t know.

Both are some way from discovering a Unicorn or a Dragon though.

Put me in charge of the Smithsonian Institute please.

Put me in charge and I would be diverting all the considerable resources and bearded anthropologist to hunt them down. To hell with analysing the DNA of raccoons or studying the colour of Monkey balls, lets go after the Unicorn or start a quest to find a Dragon.

If you want the headlines one of both of these would guarantee it.

I would ignore the frog-faced lady from Ohio though because that would just be silly.

DNA

UnknownAugustus the strong was the king of Poland. A long time ago.
As his name would indicate he was a big guy. He was so big and strong he would break horseshoes with his bare hands just for fun. Now, even knowing that Polish horseshoes are rubbish and easier to break than the British equivalent, this is still fairly strong.
He was also the world champion at fox throwing.
Fox throwing is a sport which has long since dropped off the Olympic schedule but in long time ago Poland it was hugely popular. It was their version of football and Augustus was the best. He was their Cristiano Ronaldo. He was also the king, good looking and judging from some of the paintings of him as metrosexual as the modern day equivalent.
He could also throw a fox down a field further than anyone else.
Yes, Augustus was very very strong.
Now before you get a bee in your hand knitted hemp bonnet and start screaming that such a sport shouldn’t be celebrated or that this was horribly cruel to the poor cuddly foxes. You should know foxes back then were a very different breed to the modern version. They were much less cuddly, bigger, tougher and, according to contemporary records, actually quite enjoyed being thrown.
So there. All good.
Augustus also knew there was a big difference between foxes and kings and for a long time most people agreed with him.Then along came a man called Charles Darwin. He went on a cruise and developed a theory. Ever since naturalists have been telling us we are basically just the same as our dung eating or furry, fly through the air, relatives. Flesh, blood, live, die, eat, sleep – we are just the same.

We are separated by the tiniest, smallest, smaller than the smallest thing you have ever seen, piece of DNA. We have a ‘C’ whereas a gorilla has a ‘D’ or something like that. Change my C to a D and I will instantly be dragging my hairy knuckles in the mountains of Rwanda and eating nits from my partners head.
But I don’t buy it.
I think it’s just another scientific discovery which can’t be proved either way. Draw something with unintellible symbols and it must be true right?
Nope.Let’s look at the evidence out there and when I say evidence I mean evidence I can actually see and understand. Not some computer generated spiral helter skelter thingy with letters stuck to it. That’s not evidence, that’s just CGI.

Dolphin DNA discovered to be very similar to humans reads theheadline.
How can this be? How can any sensible thinking person actually read this nod thoughtfully and think ‘hmm, yes makes sense’.
They are fish!Yes fish, the kind of slippy wet animal with flippers, fins and other fishy type things sticking out.

I look nothing like a fish so how on earth can you say that I am almost 98% fish? Without even bothering to delve deeper into the scientific study and so called evidence underpinning the headline I know it’s rubbish.

The easy way to tell is to look and ask the simple question; does it even vaguely look like a human?
I don’t look like a dolphin, a giraffe, a pig or a giant spider crab so please don’t insult my intelligence by trying to persuade me otherwise.
The BBC took another angle on this last week with an article on the sexual perversions of our animal ‘cousins’. Apart from being a thinly veiled excuse to write golden showers, group sex or cross dressing on their normally staid and sober website it also attempted to prove we are not that far removed from the jungle floor based on some unique and similar sexual proclivities.
Take the giraffe as an example. Apparently male giraffes sample the urine of female giraffes to gauge how good a mate they will be. The BBC has taken this and said look there are some obscure and borderline illegal German websites out there doing the same, so we are not that different.
No BBC, we are, very, very, different. Well I sincerely hope the vast majority of us are anyway.
Snakes engage in group sex, monkeys masturbate, wombats look like they are wearing gimp masks and so the article goes on.
I would be more likely to believe a young earth argument than I am to believe that animals have similar perversions or vice versa.
No, I prescribe to the theory, my theory, that animals are animals and humans are significantly different.I’m not saying we are better but we are bloody different.

We invented cars, airplanes, houses, dishwashers, lasers, diet coke and the internet. Show me one thing, and I mean one simple little thing any animal other than a human being has invented.

Note: Wool, leather and steak don’t count.
If you don’t believe me, if this blog hasn’t managed to change your mind then next time you find yourself stranded in a cave, high up in the Andes, try asking a passing Llama help.
A human would help you, a passing human being, one possessing 100% human DNA that is, would in such a situation be very useful indeed.
A Llama which possesses 97% human so called ‘DNA’ will most likely look at you, chew some grass and perhaps helpfully urinate in your direction before plodding on.
Augustus the strong for all his wardrobe and sporting issues knew the difference.
And, regardless what Charles Darwin and DNA tells me, so do I.