Speaking of cryptozoology…

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We had a chance the other day to do something not particularly comics related and attend the press preview of the new Extreme Mammals exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Being as fascinated by the wonderful world of weird mammals as the average geek, this was a great pleasure — the show includes models of the largest land mammal that ever lived (Indricotherium — you could walk right under it with feet to spare) and the smallest (Batodonoides, which weighed the same as a dollar bill and resembled nothing so much as the world’s cutest living pencil topper.) Lots of teeth and bones and a stuffed Thylacine!

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There was even a critter we’d never seen before — the springhare. WHY DIDN”T ANYONE TELL US THERE ARE LIVING, BREATHING CUTE LITTLE CAT-RABBITS IN SOUTH AFRICA??? Does Grant Morrison know about them???

After looking at the exhibit, we got to go “behind the scenes” and listen to three scientists talk about their work. These were the kind of folks who go to Mongolia to dig up dinosaur bones and wander around South America talking about long-lost tribes. So smart. Just walking around the innards of the Museum was as cool as we’ve always heard…mysterious rooms full of things in jars, and the skeleton of a bear just sitting there in a glass case…and rows and rows of specimens in intriguing cabinets.
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Definitely something to fire the imagination, and I don’t mean a Ben Stiller movie. Thanks to AMNH’s Michael Walker for the invite.

Oh and here’s a comics tie-in just to make things kosher. One of the scientists we listened to was Dr. Nancy Simmons, who is one of the world’s foremost experts in…bats. Her office was filled with them in all sorts of states of preservation. It’s pretty safe to say she’s the real life Batwoman, and we managed to find this quote:


What do you think of superheroes like Batman and Batwoman?

I have a picture of Batwoman on my wall. One of my students gave it to me. I think they’re fun, but they don’t have much to do with bats.

Also, when will Batman face a foe named…White Nose?

Comments

  1. I’m rendered a little suspicious by the fact that the only Google hits for “Batadonoides” are a Flickr gallery for this exhibition, a fun-factoids-about-mammals list in Finnish, and this article itself. That’s some pretty darn crypto zoology.

  2. Synsidar says:

    I’m rendered a little suspicious by the fact that the only Google hits for “Batadonoides” are. . .

    If you want more information on the tiny insectivore, here are the results of a search on Batodonoides. Teeth length a millimeter or less, a maximum weight of 1.3 grams — amazing stuff.

    SRS

  3. “Gotta catch them all!”

    My favorite “crypto” animal is the weta of New Zealand. (Haast’s eagles and moas are also interesting.)

    Ah yes… the Tasmanian Tiger. The male used its marsupial pouch to protect the family jewels while running through the bush.

    The IUCN Red List http://www.iucnredlist.org/ showcases animals “extinct in the wild” and other threatened species.

  4. South Africa has all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures. It is truly a wonderful part of the world.

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