Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Lost World: Dinosaurs!

I hope to return to the discussion of missing links, here. It's not terribly deep---Conan Doyle is mostly interested in setting up dangers---but it has given me and a friend a different spin on the Lost World.

It's fair to say the book could use some more dinosaurs, and amusing to see where they are described inaccurately, as it reminds us of how studies have progressed. I obtained this while looking for more Lost World discussion (there isn't much), courtesy Cold Crash Pictures Commentary:

"A few months ago, eodromaeus was named (in a paper co-authored by Paul Soreno), and this guy appears to be even more primitive than eoraptor(previously thought of as the first dinosaur). In fact, eoraptor is now being interpreted by some scientists to represent an early sauropodomorph -- the earliest long-neck -- due to the shape of its skull and the distinctive first digit."


So, as you can see, paleontology's canon continues to evolve.

The discussion of extinct animals is the beginning of environmental writing---not an obvious part of the book's charm, but when one considers the fascination with creatures no longer with us here on Earth, it is a book like this that starts a young paleontologist down the path.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15663982 black rhino

Early yet in the novel,

Challenger tells Malone of the superstitious barrier that kept the edge of the world of man secret:

“Cururpuri is the spirit of the woods, something terrible…to be avoided…a word of terror along the Amazon. Coerced and bribed “aided, I will admit, by some threats of coercion, I got two of them to act as guides. After many adventures which I need not describe, and after travelling a distance I will not mention, in a direction which I withhold, we came at last to a tract of country which has never been described, nor, indeed, visited save by my unfortunate predecessor.”

He then offers damaged photo evidence of a long and enormously high line of cliffs
Upper portion of a wing of a bat..at least two feet in length, a curved bone, with a membranous veil beneath it. But it’s not a bat: that guess antagonizes Challenger a bit. The wing of a bird, in truth, is a really its forearm, whereas a bat wing “consists of three elongated fingers with membranes in between.”

His book opens to a picture and diagram of a pterodactyl, “a flying reptile of the Jurassic period.” Malone is amazed at the comparison—and convinced.

At this point, Malone keeps an oath of confidentiality, invited as a guest of Challenger’s at a popular lecture (remember, in these days there still are no televisions, much less any technology we know after).

Professor Summerlee gives a wonderful naturalist’s description, in general, of the history of the world itself. Challenger suggests strongly that the piece he omits ruins it all. Summerlee asserts Challenger is a fraud (don’t you love the word “charlatan”?); his acidic tongue prods at Challenger’s considerable ego, as both find one another insufferable and overbearing. This night, a committee is formed to explore Challenger’s findings: the stringy and gaunt Professor Summerlee, the consummate field zoologist; Lord John Roxton, experienced survivalist and soldier for the cause of emancipation around the world; and Ned Malone, Saturday rugby player, the young journalist who wants to win the praise and charms of Glenda.

Malone describes the professors’ rivalry: “Indeed, they are both children---the one wizened and cantankerous, the other formidable and overbearing, yet each with a brain which has put him in the front rank of his scientific age.”

The world’s beauty and danger keep every page alive:

“Vivid orchids and wonderful coloured lichens smouldered upon the swarthy tree-trunks, and where a wandering shaft of light fell full upon the golden allamanda, the scarlet star-clusters of the tacsonia, or the rich deep blue of ipomaea the effect was as a dream of fairlyland. In these great wastes of forest, life, which abhors darkness, struggles ever upwards to the light.

“Monstrous and luxuriant climbing plants”...“others which have never known climb elsewhere learn the art as an escape from that somber shadow, so that the common nettle, the jasmine, and even the jacitara palm tree can be seen circling the stems of the cedars and striving to reach their crowns. No animal life is seen to move.

I particularly enjoyed Malone's discovery of a new, huge blood tick, greeted by Challenger's enthusiasm. He shames Malone's lack of excitement...until Summerlee points out the tick that's just crawled down Challenger's shirt!

The professors continue their arguments over poly-synthetic speech and theories of South American Indian people development.

Drums along the water spell out the message: “we will kill you if you come to our village.” August 18th

"The more I think the more desperate does our position seem. If there were a high tree near the edge of the plateau we might drop a return bridge across, but there is none within fifty yards. Our united strength could not carry a trunk which would serve our purpose. The rope, of course, is far too short that we could descend by it. NO, our position is hopeless---hopeless!" ---Malone

It isn’t quite the place for a rest cure. What? But I had no idea what its possibilities were until those devils got hold of us. The man-eatin’ Papuans had me once, but they are Chesterfields compared to this crowd.” ---Lord John Roxton, upon finding Malone in a trap pit.

 Iguanodon
 Stegosaurus
 Allosaurus
 Megalosaurus
[edit]Other Extinct Reptiles
 Plesiosaurus
 Ichthyosaurus
 Pterodactylus
 Dimorphodon
[edit]Other prehistoric animals included

 Toxodon
 Megaloceros
 Glyptodon
 Dryopithecus
 Pithecanthropus


 Phorusrhacos

[edit]Creatures outside the Plateau
 Jararaca, a highly aggressive venomous snake
 Agouti
 Tapir

thanks Wiki

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