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June 5, 2005

Angels and dinosaurs
Posted by Patrick at 07:10 AM * 36 comments

Via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon: the tale of how flood-maddened dinosaurs, egged on by fallen angels, attacked Noah’s Ark. In comic-book sequential art form.

A single inset provides the flavor:

Note: The fossil remains of numerous dinosaurs have been found with their heads arched upwards, as if in their death throes they were straining to keep their heads above water!

And they say there are no new ideas in the entertainment industry.

Comments on Angels and dinosaurs:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 07:27 AM:

I just want to say that, although I never realized it until just now, it has in fact been one of my life's ambitions to put up a weblog post called "Angels and Dinosaurs."

#2 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 07:46 AM:

Wow, that is amazing...I have always wanted to read a weblog post called "Angels and Dinosaurs." :)

their heads arched upwards, as if in their death throes they were straining to keep their heads above water!

How can they be sure that they were keeping their heads above water and not addressing the heavens as if to say, "Why is everybody always picking on me?"

#3 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 08:00 AM:

Or perhaps they were all buried by their dinosaur kin with the posture described to indicate that they look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Or they were looking up at the spaceships they thought came to take them home, but which actually blasted them to death with cold rays.

Wow, this is generating no end of ideas.

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 08:52 AM:

The necks are curved back as part of the natural process of decomposition. The tendons shrink and tighten.

#5 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 09:00 AM:

The Internet slang "LOL" is just so appropriate here... that's almost as cool as Calvin's "Tyrannosaurs in F-14s!"

I don't know why I'm astonished that it'd get 682 (as of this posting) responses, some of which from people who see no problem with proving that the Ark existed via shaded translations of Chinese and deducing that dinosaurs died by drowning because their necks are arched post-mortem. (Assuming the conclusion does make debate so much simpler...) But I am.

Maybe we'd all be better off if we skipped some of the "3R" stuff in primary school and, in the resulting curricular space, slipped the fundamentals of logic in. That way the brighter students would be able to fill some of the gaps themselves, and the heart of the bell curve would at least recognise B.S. more readily.

#6 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 09:12 AM:

No no no. They were hunted to death by the lizardlike humanoids from 'V'. They were the original earth inhabitants. David Icke has proof.

#7 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 09:56 AM:

Xopher's first suggestion reduced me to helpless giggles. Good work.

#8 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 10:03 AM:

Yeah, I found that idea fascinating, too. I also found the author's webpage and couldn't resist -- I ordered a copy. He also has a graphic novel on SF and Christianity, illustrating The Day the Earth Stood Still from a biblical perspective...shee-yah, as if. A guy named Mr Carpenter comes down from the heavens to bring mankind a gift of peace, is killed for it, and is resurrected? I didn't see no giant robots in that there Bible. He should stick to the verifiable scientific facts.

#9 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 10:26 AM:

Good grief. I never realised before that the Ark was shaped like a modern pleasure yacht.

#10 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 10:40 AM:

To follow on to James Macdonald -- the standard taphonomic interpretation of the arched-neck posture is death due to drought; the bodies lie around desiccating until covered by mud from flooding rivers. (Really bad droughts; all the scavengers are dead, too.)

#11 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 12:10 PM:

James, there are flexor tendons as well as extensor tendons -- the body's a tensegrity system, after all. Why would the extensor tendons drying out have a greater effect than the flexors? This is a similar question to "why do most spasticities seem to affect flexors more than extensors?" People with spastic disorders seem (in my limited experience) to curl inwards more than outwards, and I don't actually understand why.

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 12:20 PM:

Beats heck out of me, Tom, but you can prove it yourself with a chicken neck.

#13 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 12:36 PM:

Tom --

I may be remembering this wrong, but most dinosaurs have axial skeletons that can be treated like a suspension bridge; the whole spinal column is carried nearly horizontal and with ligaments and tendons (sometimes ossified) to keep the whole thing that way without a requirement for much muscular effort.

The question of extensors and flexors really doesn't come into it -- that's the appendicular skeleton, the limbs -- so much as "it's mostly designed to keep from sagging due to gravity", which in turn means that the dorsal side is much more cabled-up than the ventral side.

So when the whole thing dries out, the direction of curve is dorsal -- there's more connective tissue on that side than the ventral side, and it exerts the greater total pull.

#14 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 12:44 PM:

Jordin read this aloud to me but I had to come by and see it myself.



#15 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 01:02 PM:

'The necks are curved back as part of the natural process of decomposition. The tendons shrink and tighten.'
The correct quote from Martin Phlegmer's The Science of Correct Posturing is as follows:
"The necks are curved back as part of the natural process of composition. The tendons shrink and tighten."
That's right, composition not decomposition. The Dinosaur's died from repetitive stress disorder brought on by writing saurian masterpieces of speculative fiction at their uncomfortable desks composed of various geological formations. Perhaps we are destined to go the same way.

Well you may be but I'm not, I'm taking up telepathy.

So when your shrunken tendons tighten for the very last time don't say I didn't warn you.

#16 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 01:04 PM:

Yes -- tetrapods in most postures have to oppose the force of gravity pulling their heads down, so the ligaments running along the back have to be stronger and thicker. Fall down and die, and the passive tension generated by dessicating muscle and connective tissue distorts the posture...and it's those thicker ligaments along the back that win.

#17 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 01:40 PM:

Angels versus Archaeopteryx
Demons versus Dinosaurs. Pictures at 11...

Angels: God stands above all, and below Him (in hierarchical order) are: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels; humans fall below those, and animals below humans, in the medieval "Great Chain of Being." The science of Angels is called Angelology, and has made a big comeback in popularizations in recent fiction and film/TV.

#18 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 01:59 PM:

But tyrannosaurs were at least somewhat bipedal, rather than tetrapods. Are they different in how their heads look in the fossil record? How far down the phylogenetic chain does the "righting reflex" (the tendency to keep eyes straight and level) go? It's pretty clear in birds, for example -- is it clear in bony or cartilageous fishes? I really don't know, and would love more information.

#19 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 02:41 PM:

Tom --

Tyrannosaurs, and indeed theropods (perhaps excluding some few for which a scansorial lifestyle is hypothesized) as a clade, are obligate bipeds; many ornithischian dinosaurs were either obligate or facultive bipeds as well.

All that does is get you a suspension bridge with one pillar, instead of two; noggin, neck, back, pelvis, long tail, with the first three balanced by the tail. On death and desication, same scenario of the dorsal tendons contracting with greater force than the ventral ones.

Eye positioning is mildly controversial for theropods, because recovering a neutral neck position depends on soft tissue assumptions, for one, and for two, unless you get lucky and recover the sclerotic ring, it's not obvious just where the eyes are, nor how large they are, in a theropod skull -- the bony eye socket is much larger than the eye, and not round.

#20 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 03:22 PM:

What amazes me is that while the parents of ruling-class children claw to get their children into ivy-feeder nursery schools, their politicians celebrate this bizarre groundswell of the idea that it's somehow wrong for the children of the working class to know more than their parents do. It's even wrong to suggest that God is capable of anything their parents don't understand.

We used to worry about the creation of a permanent underclass. Now there's a muscular pressure group of people fighting to create it for their kids.

Of course, all this might have something to do with the odd ideas some of their (koff) spiritual leaders have about the relationship of God and mammon.

Maybe they're just insuring future WalMart staffing.

#21 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 03:48 PM:

Julia - We used to worry about the creation of a permanent underclass. Now there's a muscular pressure group of people fighting to create it for their kids.

Yep. It seems that the goal is to turn the US into Brazil without the hedonism. In the GOP/Fundie goal-state US, WalMart clerk will be a high-paying job and the masses will be out begging, just the way God intended.

Maybe it's time to learn Portuguese.

#22 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 06:20 PM:

So... why weren't the dinosaurs *on the boat*?

Not even the little ones?

Oh, wait, I know.

A pair of small dinosaurs was on the ark. The fell into a tub of tar, kept in case the ark needed repairs. When they were fished out of there, a big swell rolled them into the aviary. The birds in there were moulting, so the two tar-covered dinosaurs were covered in feathers. From that day on, they and their descendants became ostriches.

Ta da! Biblical Science!

See how easy it is! Everybody join in!

#23 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 06:40 PM:

The dinos were on the "B" Ark, with the telephone sanitizers and the unicorns.

Next question: what about the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs? Yes, I know, not true dinos, but still -- did the Sharks gang up on them, like in West Side Story?

#24 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 06:48 PM:

John M. Ford: What about the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs?

The reduced salinity of the oceans obviously redered them less buoyant, and they drowned. God's plan, y'know.

#25 ::: Beth Meacham ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 07:16 PM:

You can't fool me, Mike Ford. You wrote that comic book in collaboration with Will.

#26 ::: Aaron ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 07:18 PM:

I have read this book. My wife's grandmother is a devout seventh day adventist and she owns this and also a whole bunch of others by the same guy. One of them details why Seventh Day Adventists don't believe in hell and I really enjoyed that one.

#27 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 07:29 PM:

John M. Ford:

Ichthyosaur Song
from West Side Jurassic
by Jonathan Vos Post
with Apologies to Stephen Sondheim
[sing in the voice of Russ Tamblyn
to the melody by Leonard Bernstein]

When you're Ichthyosaur,
you're a 'saur all the way,
From your first cigarette
To your extinction day.

When you're Ichthyosaur
Let them drive a DeLorean
You've got brothers around
You're a family saurian.

You're never alone
You never need be stoic
You're home with your own
Throughout the Mesozoic
You're totally heroic.

Then you are set with a Capital I
Which you'll never forget
'till you asteroid-die.
When you're Ichthyosaur
You stay sore!

[Now I know Tony like I know me,
And I guarantee you can count him in.
In, out, let's get crackin'!
Where you gonna find Bernardo?
At the swim tonight near the rocks
But the rocks're neutral territory
I'm gonna make nice with him, I'm only gonna challenge him.
Great, Daddy-O.
So listen, everybody dress sweet and sharp and meet Tony and me
at ten.
And swim tall!]

We always swim tall!
We're Ichthyosaurs!
The greatest!

When you're Ichthyosaur you're top catfish in town
The Gold medal kid with the heavyweight crown
When you're Ichthyosaur you're the swingin'est thing
Little Ichth', you're a man, Little 'saur you're a king!

Ichthyosaurs in gear
Our cylinders are clickin'
The sharks'll steer clear
'Cause every Chondrichthys'
A lousy sick wheeze!

Here come Ichthyosaurs
like Pterodactyls outta hell
Someone gets in our way,
someone don't feel so well!

Here come Ichthyosaurs!
Little world, step aside!
Better go underground!
Better run, Better hide!

We're drawing the line,
So keep your noses hidden
We're hangin' a sign
Says visitors forbidden
And we ain't kiddin'.

Here come Ichthyosaurs!
And we're gonna beat every last buggin' genera in the whole
buggin' sea.
in the whole ever mother lovin' sea!

#28 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 09:19 PM:

The dinosaurs weren't on the ark because the Department of Arkian Security saw them talking to the fallen angels. Only a few dinosaurs were in on the plot but we all know it's best to keep everyone out when there's a security risk.

#29 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 09:53 PM:

Wouldn't it be just as plausable to say that the dinosaurs were denied seating because they refused to buy second seats according to Noah's Oversized Passenger policy?

#30 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2005, 11:02 PM:

maybe a generation of dinosaurs was raptured.

Jonathon, that was inspired in a deeply bizarre way.

#31 ::: James Slusher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2005, 06:05 AM:

I believe they all died from a horrible pre-historic rash. Their heads were thrown back in frustrated screams as they realized they couldn't scratch it with those tiny arms.

#32 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2005, 07:35 AM:

"Wow, saur, look at the pretty shooting stars!"

"Man. That's so cool." (Sips drink through straw.[1]) "That one's really bright, you can almost touch it."

"Yeah, it's like it's right there -- heck, it almost feels warm."

Boom. Dinosaurs fall over, spilling drink.

[1] The vital invention of the dinosaur party scene was two things. Straws and mammals. Mammals were good at both climbing the trees to get the fruit for Pink! Drink! and dexterous enough to get the pinepple on the stick of the umbrella. Straws, well, ever see T Rex try to slam a beer?

One hesitates to think how far things might have gone if the proto-mammals had completed thier work on the beer hat.

#33 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2005, 08:11 AM:

Re: where the Dinosaurs went:

Ham ate them. (along with the urethra birds).

See Ms. Bergstrom's investigation into the Ark at Hitherby Dragons.

#34 ::: Greg Horn ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2005, 09:22 PM:

Obviously it's true. And God is a trickster god who hid all the lead-206 and neodymium-143 in all those there rocks just to show geochemists the folly of their hubris. Thus they were drawn into Satan's trap with the lurid, unholy delights of mass spectroscopy, forever lost to sin, doomed to publish in Geochemica et Cosmochemica acta for eternity.

#35 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2005, 02:35 AM:

Angel Wings & Ichthyosaurus Dept.:

As Dave Langford reminds us, in Ansible 215, June 2005:

Revisionist Paleontology Dept. `The megatherium, the ichthyosaurus have paced the earth with seven-league steps and hidden the day with cloud fast wings.' (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903)

#36 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:22 PM:

'The necks are curved back as part of the natural process of decomposition. The tendons shrink and tighten.'

Oh my god, they were sodomised to death! By Angels!!

Remember how those two angels were always hanging out in the town of Sodom, huh? And now we know why. And when they couldn't get some of the strange, what did they do, they destroyed the town!

Know who else did that, when he couldn't get laid? Hitler! Hitler destroyed towns when they wouldn't let him sodomize their dinosaurs.


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