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If you want to catch up on some of the dinosaur discoveries from the past five years, check out our book, 50 Dinosaur Tales at Why Slash 50 Dinosaur Tales. And that's Talley's. Hello and welcome to I Know, Dana, I'm Garrett and I'm Sebree, and today in our two hundred and ninety eight episode, we have a bunch of news, including a new Alvira Sorehead from Hell Creek New.
Everybody's almost everybody's favorite formation. Well, it's now Morrisson, but it's still pretty cool. Everyone is a huge Sauropod fan, like all of the T. Rex and Triceratops lovers like the hell creek the best. We also have Dinosaur of the Day, Schola Saurus, a nice and Kylah Sorehead. Did you pick that? Because it's my birthday and you wanted to. I guess that worked out that way. But we also got a request, OK, as the artist.
But before we get into that, we want to thank some of our patrons. And this week we'd like to thank Marissa Lucas and Eli Werner, Source Iwon, Brendan Cavanaugh, Alberta Soares, Taya Dyno, Beau Kelly and Richard.
Thanks so much, everybody. We really appreciate all of your support. Keep those dinosaur requests coming and he can join our community at Patriae and Ino Dinu.
So jumping into the news, we're going to kick it off with our new Alvarez Sorehead, which is pretty cool. You may have seen it in the headlines as the Captain Hook Dinosaur. There are some funny comments on our discourse over people like well you can't say that it's like a T rex even though it's in the hell creek formation. So how else can you associate it with pop culture, Captain Hook? That's the obvious way. But actually, it might have been named after Captain Hook.
So write it, like I said, is from the hell creek formation. And the article was written by Denvir, Fowler and others and published in Cretaceous Research and the Alvira Sword. Maybe first I should say what Alvares swords are because they're not the most well known group, but they're really interesting. They're super weird. They're generally very small, like velociraptor, real velociraptor type size, like smaller than a dog basically with very short arms, like extremely short arms, even shorter than something like Rex with just a single claw at the end of each arm, although that claw is very large.
So they're really weird. It's like, why would you have such a large claw but such small arms? You'd think if your arms were shrinking, you wouldn't be using them. Why have the huge claw? So they're kind of a mysterious group. The main hypothesis is that their claws were used to break open termite mounds or maybe rotting wood to get at insects. And therefore having them close to the body just means that there's less leverage to deal with.
And there are other animals that don't have incredibly long arms that also do this today. And this dinosaur is no exception. It also has big claws and presumably short arms, although we didn't find much of the arms. It's named Trimark Uncas, Prarie insists. Try our Gannicus is not my favorite dinosaur name. It's really hard to read. I'm not even sure if I'm saying it right, but it comes from Treyarch, I assume, which is the Greek name for a trireme ship, and then Uncas, which is Latin for Hook, if I'm saying it right.
Reportedly this references Captain Hook's ship because he drove, I guess a trireme isn't to drive a ship. What do you do with a ship? Sail a ship, sail. There we go. He sailed the trireme, although I think trigrams are road. So he commanded a trireme, something like that. And this is the Captain Hook from Peter Pan. I assume it's not in the official description. So these are all just guesses. But we do know it's named after a trireme and a hook officially.
I wonder if it had a crocodile enemy.
Maybe they give you that small you have a lot of enemies.
True. Then the species named Prairie insists is after the American prairie reserve where it was found in northeastern Montana. It's a lot easier to say, Trier. Our compass was found in the nineteen eighties, but was only known as the hell creek Alvira saw since then. And as far as I know, this is the first attempt at naming it and bringing together some different fossils. The holiday type is its single characteristic claw and only that single characteristic claw, which is four point four centimeters or one point seven inches in outer ah clinks.
So around the outer side of the cloth, that's how long it is not that big, but it was a really small dinosaur. So relatively speaking, it was still a pretty big claw. In addition to the hollow type, they also assign some other fossils not as the hollow type, but just basically we think these are also part of Trier. Our guess originally they were from the same area really close. Some of them were a little bit deeper in the stratigraphy.
So there's a little bit of a question about whether or not they're from the exact same animal, but they're all from pretty much the same quarry, although they're now scattered across the US in different museums, which probably made this kind of annoying to write the paper because they had to go all over the place when they were starting in Montana. Among those different bones, there's a partial radius. Which is part of the forearm, it's obviously very small since this dinosaur had really small arms, there's a foot bone, parts of the hips and a couple of other claws.
One of those claws is, quote, the most complete known for Alvira Sword and quote. So it's a very good claw. Oh, good.
Yeah, its claws are unusually curved, which you may have anticipated given its Captain Hook affinities. That's also its distinguishing characteristic, I imagine.
So I thought that was going to be the case. But when I went through the hollow type and the list of things that made it unique, they didn't mention the curvature of its claws. They mentioned a lot of other little details, like the rugosa of something and the depth of a groove and how much different parts stuck out from bones. But they didn't mention the curvature at all. Interesting. Yeah, I think really what they were going after is that our depiction of what Alvira Swords looked like has their claws and basically not curved enough, because, like I said, one of these claws is the most complete one and still not completely preserved.
So I guess when people are filling in the gaps before trying to guess at what the Alvira saw, it looked like they reproduced it a little bit too straight. That's what they're arguing here. And in fact, they think that modern X or Monika's would have had a more curved claw just like this one. So maybe that's why it's not distinguishing is when they were looking into it, they were like, oh, wait a second, just alvira swords in general.
At least some of these more derived ones had pretty curved claws. Specifically, though, because I keep to saying curved, I want to try to explain how curved they are. They're not curved, quite like a velociraptor claw. They're not like a super sickle shaped claw or like Captain Hook's claw. That basically makes almost a full 360 degree curve. This has one hundred and twenty five degrees of curvature or thereabouts, which is hard to depict. But basically, if you have your hand at rest, like if you just have it, you're not trying to straighten it out and you just kind of let it go to its neutral position.
That's about the same amount of curvature. So it's sort of curved. A lot of animals have claws that are about that curved. It's nothing too extreme, but it's also more curved than something just like a straight claw that you'd see on the earlier alvira swords, for example. Probably the most important thing about it, having these curved claws is that it helps to support a hook and pull action, as they call it, which means they could stab that claw into something and then pull back on it.
And they could use that to open something up, like rip open a termite nest kind of thing. Exactly. That's what they're saying. And that would be useful if they do, in fact, eat insects that they need to rip open logs or mount termite mounds or something to get into. They also have what they think is a growth series of hand claws, but they refer to those other claws that they assigned as tentative and very tentative. So in other words, they're probably from Trier, our Congress, but they might not be that could be from some other Alvar's or it.
But if they are a growth series, there are a couple of things that we could learn from it. First of all, is the claws got more robust as trimark donkeys aged the bone also got a little bit more dense and the grooves in the claw got deeper. So that is useful because you need more blood supply potentially, or it could be for tendons or different things like that. And in case you're curious, of the three claws that they assigned, the only one that's official is the hollow type.
Obviously, the hollow type is the largest claw. It's not the most complete one, though. It's still pretty complete. So you can see a lot of the details, but not the most complete is the largest. I think they probably did that because that way it's the more adult like of the individuals. Otherwise I would have thought they would pick the most complete one. But I don't know, they pick the biggest one. Easier to see. Yeah.
And they can't really confirm that their growth series by histology either. His claws are a pretty terrible bone to use for doing histology and looking for lag's and things like that. So they didn't do it. If you think about our nails, I can't tell much. Well, it's more like the finger bone. Oh, that's true. The carrot. It would be the nose.
Yeah. So this doesn't include the keratin sheath. So when I said it's like about two inches long, that's just the bone with the keratin sheath over, it could be three inches, maybe four inches long. Could be more curved. Yeah, exactly. So it would almost certainly be more curved because it's going to continue that same curvature around the edge. So yeah. Good point. Given the lack of complete Alvares or fossils, they didn't really have an easy time putting together a phylogeny of where Treyarch Uncas fits in the family tree of Alvira swords, or really where most of the Alvira swords fit in the family tree.
It ended up with a really large group with Trimark Monkeys and eight of its closest relatives, including Mullinix from Mongolia about 70 million years ago, and seven more late Cretaceous genera, which are all from Asia, mostly Mongolia. So it's a more Mongolian looking Alvira sort. And modern NICUs is a handy one to have as a nearby relative, because that's by far the best known Alvira sword. I was kind of surprised that Alberto NICUs wasn't in the group because it's from Alberta, which is very close to Montana, especially southern Alberta versus northern Montana.
But it is in the closest outgroup, meaning in their phylogeny. It was like not quite in the same group, but really close relative in terms of what tribe our concours lived with. It was found in a layer of rock just before the end Cretaceous boundary, and they said at most it's two hundred thousand years before the extinction event. But it could be even closer, making Traken guess one of the last living dinosaurs, along with Triceratops and T Rex and a bunch of other popular hell creek dinosaurs like in Casassa is going to say the hell Creek is known for that.
It also makes our Concours the youngest known Alvira Sword, youngest known weird dinosaur.
I'm now wishing I just called it Captain Hook the whole time, so I didn't have to keep probably mispronouncing Trier, aka Angus or Trier aka Angus or who knows, I don't speak Greek combined with Latin into an English translation I have to like by Denvir fouler a beer next time I see him and convince him to put pronunciation guides into these papers. That's killing me.
In other news, in Japan, there's a fossilized most likely theropod dinosaur egg that has been named having the Guinness World Record of being the world's smallest fossilized, the dinosaur egg. These records are very specific.
That is very specific. I guess it makes sense, though, because if you just say the world's smallest dinosaur egg, then it's going to include birds. You shouldn't need the word fossilized, though.
Well, that one, because not avian dinosaur eggs are all fossilized, right? If you find a non avian dinosaur egg that isn't fossilized, it should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for a completely different reason.
I guess they want you to know right away that it's a fossil. Yeah. And that it's that the dinosaur dinosaur type of dinosaur. Right. Not the bird type of dinosaur. If you were to compare it to a bird egg, though, it is about the same size as an egg.
Oh, okay. Yeah, that's very small. Mm hmm. So this eggs one hundred and ten million years old. It comes from Timba Hyogo Prefecture. It's one point seven inches by zero point eight inches, which is four and a half centimetres by two centimeters. And it weighs about three, five ounces or ten grams. The egg has been named Hemolysis Murakami, and it basically means small and cute in Japanese. And Murakami is in honor of Shigeru Murakami, who first found the titanosaur form timba tightness in 2006.
So the guy that found one of the largest animals ever to walk on earth had one of the smallest eggs ever found named after him.
Mm hmm. Pretty good.
In Taiwan, the National Museum now has augmented reality dinosaur tours. I couldn't find too many details of it. Then you download it up and you use it in the museum. And based on the photos, it looks like you can see the dinosaurs, you know, brought to life when you hold your screen up to the fossils that are on display. And it reminded me of what of our trip to the Curie Museum in Alberta, Canada, having that screen, except instead of the screen being held in place, you have your own screen.
Yeah, move it around.
That does seem easier from a museum standpoint because you don't have to worry about all the devices getting handled and broken and everything. You just bring your own device. If you break it, it's your problem.
In Chicago, in the U.S., the Field Museum has a new lifelike model of Sue the T-Rex and this model's nicknamed fleshy sort of weird nickname. I don't know how it got there.
Well, I guess because it's covered in flesh. Yeah, it's scientifically accurate. And it shows Sue eating another dinosaur. So Fleshy is on display until August 18th. And then we'll be on tour as part of the exhibit, sue the T. Rex experience. And if you want to visit, you can buy tickets online. There's some restrictions. The museums open Thursday through Monday and then closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Now for deep cleaning.
Yeah, I think we mentioned you have to wear a mask and if you're in certain age groups and all that kind of stuff, there's a limited number of people that can go in at a time.
Yes. Oh, also near Chicago, Brookfield Zoo recently reopened and they have an exhibit from now until November 1st called Danos Everywhere and. They have 40 animatronic dinosaurs, including Argentinosaurus T-Rex, Rex Stegosaurus and Panta serotypes, you have to buy your tickets online mass are required for anyone over the age of two and visitors cannot enter buildings. You can only hang out outside and then really quit going back to the Field Museum. We've seen videos of penguins visiting zoo, the T-Rex at the Field Museum.
But now Sue, or rather somebody in an inflatable T-Rex costume has gone to Shedd Aquarium to say hello to Darwin and Izzy, the penguins at their enclosure. And it's a pretty nice video. The aquarium replied to the video, best visit ever. We love these, quote unquote, family reunions.
Yeah, but it's missing one very important element of the penguins going to the film museum, which is the most enjoyable sound of webbed feet walking on concrete in their enclosure.
Maybe you can hear them when they're walking on the rocks. Maybe.
But the little scampering webbed feet is so enjoyable in a different sort of news. There's a letter from Mary adding to William Bucklin that's dated February 15th, 1829, about her latest discoveries, which included a box of coprolites that was auctioned online. And it's sold for one hundred thousand eight hundred pounds to an anonymous private collector. Wow. They were only expecting it to sell for between eight to twelve thousand pounds. That's an expensive box of poop.
No, it's a letter that's an expensive letter about poop here and other discoveries of the Jurassic Coast Trust and Lyme Regis Museum actually set up a crowdfunding campaign because they were trying to bid for the letter and they raised forty thousand pounds in hopes to display this letter at the museum. So now they're going to be refunding people, but they're also hoping to have some cash left over for upcoming projects and buying fossils. And they're hoping that the private collector who bought the letter will reach out to them so they can work together in the future.
In Lancaster, in the U.K., which is where Sir Richard Owen grew up, they're celebrating their annual dinosaur day this year with a giant T-Rex on the roof of St. Nick's arcades in the city center in downtown. And a number of dinosaurs are scattered around the city center. So people are encouraged to follow a trail. You can download it online and then once you find them all, you can enter to win some dinosaur stuffed animals and drawings open until the end of this month, August.
And last also in the U.K., but in Maidstone EGI, the metal dinosaur sculpture is back on display and you can see it at the junction of the 820 and new cut road at Thirsted. And the EGI sculpture is a tribute to Iguanodon fossils being found in Maidstone in 1834. IGIS also on Maidstone Coat of Arms as a green dinosaur. Hmm. That's cool. Mm hmm. I didn't know that Iggy made it onto any coats of arms. Well, yeah, we actually talked about Iguanodon in Episode 87 and included that fun fact about the coat of arms.
Oh, I guess I wasn't paying attention. Well, it's been a few years. Today's episode has brought to you by every plate America's best value meal kit, they recently started offering contactless delivery to your doorstep, which is awesome if you're trying to minimize exposure.
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Which is good. Yeah. If you want to try out every plate, you can get three weeks of meals for only two ninety nine per meal by going to every plate dotcom and entering code ICDs three. So again, every plate dotcom promo code I could three. If you haven't already, check out our book Fifty Dinosaur Tales and one hundred and eight more discoveries from the Golden Age of Dinosaurs and the Golden Age of Dinosaurs is right now, by the way.
So their new discoveries look.
Yes, yes. That's why we have this podcast to keep up with the golden age of dinosaurs. So in this book, we have a whole bunch of stories, 50 to be exact, including every major group of dinosaurs from all seven continents. And every short story is from a dinosaur discovery since twenty fourteen. So they're all very new discoveries that aren't in a lot of other books. In addition to those 50 stories, they're also one hundred quick fact sheets about other finds from the last six years.
It's available at BEDEL. Why 50? The number five zero dinosaur tail is tails, as in the tails that we're telling about dinosaurs, not the dinosaur tale themselves. You can also get it by joining or upgrading to the Tyrannosaurus level on our Patreon.
And now onto a dinosaur of the day skull sauce, which was a request from Dino Bovespa, Discordance Patreon, as well as Dinosaur 462. So thank you. Scousers was an cozad that lived in the late Cretaceous and what is now Alberta, Canada, in the dinosaur park formation or old man formation, the exact locality's uncertain. It was an herbivore estimated to be about 20 feet or six metres long, and it had a lot of osteotomy and a clubbed tail like all good in all sorts.
Yes, the Australians were mostly conical or subcortical and memory in shape, which means nipple shaped. The texture of the osteotomy were rough and pointy. It was discovered in 1914 by fossil collector William Edmund Cutler in fine-grained sandstone and clay stone sediments. And then it was named in 1928 by Franz Noka. The hollow type included a nearly complete skeleton. It's missing the end of the tail, the right forum, the right highland in the skull. But it also included Austudy terms and skin impressions.
The hollow type is in the collections of the Natural History Museum in London. Now, I think we saw that when we were at the museum, didn't we? Kind of in the back corner of the dinosaur hall, flattened out, displayed vertically. That sounds familiar. I think so. There's so many dinosaurs there. There are. Yeah. But that's one of the good collar types that's in the mix. So the type species is Scouser as cutlery and the genus name means pointed steak lizzard and the species name is in honor of Cutler who was injured when the fossils fell on him while he was excavating, you know, but only injured.
That's good. It could have gone worse. He could have, yeah. Dinosaur fossils are heavy. Yes. In nineteen seventy one Walter Coomes Anonymise Goldwasser's along with Anadan Tesauro, Lamai and Dialo Phosphorus acute squamous with your pleasureful is Tudor's but didn't really explain why he wrote. It was based on quote the numerous and Kiawah skulls known from the old man formation, no dinosaur park formation and Membrey, the Edmonton formation, no Horseshoe Canyon formation. And so just there's too many in Kyle swords here.
We're going to lump them all together. Yes.
Basically, he said there's only one genera of and Kyle saw that lived in that time and place. And your Persephone's was named first, even though that haplotype was fragmentary. So at first this anonymization was accepted. And Schola Source Cutler, I became neurosyphilis cholerae then in 2013, Paul Penkovsky and William Blow's Redescribe school allosaurus and found it to be a valid Taxin Penkovsky and Blofeld. That school saurus had different cervical or neck armour and the structure of the fallen was different from your syphilis.
They also found differences in the pelvis and ahmer between skull allosaurus and dilo allosaurus because the hollow type of skull source was so complete. Many reconstructions for you. Syphilis were based on the school or specimen, especially the armor patterns, which are based on the EU terms that were found in situ on the school source hall type. So Victoria Arber until Currey found that school source was unique because of a number of features. So first, the squamous cell horns on the back of the head were proportionately larger, back swept and had distinct peaks.
Second, the skull armor had a unique pattern and then third was about the osteotomy. So on the tail there were conical osteo terms. There were also large circular osteo terms with low central prominences amines. They didn't stick out much. And then on the neck, on the half rings of the neck, there were compressed half-moon shaped lateral on the side, osteo terms and then forth also on the tail. The knob at the end of the tail looked circular when you're viewing it from above the club.
Mm hmm. So based on a humorous and other bones, skull saurus was as large or larger than usual, syphilis and other in cusswords from the same region and time the noncancerous because it wasn't around at the same time. Yes, the claws on the feet of Supersaurus were hoof shaped compared to dial allosaurus, which was triangular. There's also a lot of referred Scouser specimens, which include the skull, vertebrae, ribs, femoral tibia, fibula and more.
Arber and Currie assigned another specimen, U.S. and seven nine four three to score Allosaurus, and it was a partial cervical ring nickering found in 1874 in the French information in Alberta that's now housed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. The Smithsonian also has specimen US and one one eight nine two, which was found in nineteen twenty eight in the two medicine formation. And that's a partial skull. And a lot of Scouser specimens were found in the two medicine formation in Montana.
There was another specimen, four, three, three, that was formerly known as Otoku Togusa and that was reassigned to Skull Allosaurus in. 2013 by Arbon Curry Penkovsky had named Tokyo earlier in 2013, and not everyone agrees with this reassigning. And the reason is not everyone agrees with the specimen's coming from the old man in dinosaur park formations are the same as the ones coming from to medicine formation. However, the old information when Scousers live was pretty dry compared to the dinosaur park formation because the Western Interior Seaway had regressed so far and the upper tumorous information also had a dry environment compared to Judyth river formation in dinosaur park formation, which are nearby.
So we would need skull material to confirm if they are synonymous or not. Otherwise, they do seem similar. Other dinosaurs that lived around the same time and place as school saurus included the hadrosaurs like Supersaurus and Maysara other in Keiser's, like Edmontonians, overarm pterosaurs or Litha Pods, serotypes, Ewan's and Dresser's like Bamby, Raptor and so on. Celestis and Tyrannosaurs displayed Esau's and gorgeous ORUs. There are also a lot of fish such as sharks, rays, sturgeons, GA's amphibians, reptiles, lizards, crocodilians, pterosaurs, birds and some mammals.
And for our fun fact today, I want to explore the comparison of Alvira saws to modern termite eating specialists because I wanted to find a paper that was about this and all I could find was sort of allusions to it and then a few hypotheses thrown in here and there. But there wasn't a real good analysis of like this is what modern termite looking animals look like, and this is what our look like. And therefore they have these similarities or don't have these similarities.
So lots of birds have long claws like the Harpy, Eagle, Cassowary and Falcons. But there are also a lot of animals that have massive claws that aren't used directly for taking down prey, which is usually the way you think of like lions or they need these big claws because I'll grab on to a wildebeest and drag it down kind of thing. Not what all claws are for, especially in Zen, Artha and Zen. Ausra is my favorite group of animals.
Probably, I don't know, after dinosaurs, living animals, I should say. It includes all of the weirdoes. So it's the group of animals that evolved in South America after the Cretaceous extinction, when South America was still separated from the rest of the world. So it includes armadillos and eaters and sloths, and it also includes some really cool, extinct groups like glyptodonts, which are those? And Kylah Sorehead like huge armadillos with big club style tails and also ground laws, which were these massive things with big claws and look more like a bear than a sloth, a modern sloth.
And but how do they compare to your love of bats? I don't know.
I just I love how weird they are, like the platypus or something like such a strange evolution and it's such a cool group to. So three toads loss are really weird. You know, we've talked about Cilla's before and how slow they are, how they're upside down a lot of the time and everything. They have very large claws, but they're only used for holding on to trees. So their usefulness in comparisons to dinosaurs aren't very good because they just there aren't a lot of connections.
They're giant armadillos, though, I think are a pretty good similarity in a lot of ways to some dinosaurs. So they have the longest claws of any living animal period. They're 20 centimeters are eight inches long. And even more impressive is that on average, a giant armadillo is roughly one point three metres or four point three feet long, which makes it about a 15 percent clodagh body length ratio, or over 20 percent if you exclude its tail for the long.
Yeah, really massive claws. Armadillos mostly use their claws for digging and then also for breaking open termite mounds, which is partly why the large claws on alvira saws has been proposed as a way to get into termite mounds. Because we can we have this modern analogue, but armadillos don't have small forelimbs. They don't have like claws sticking out of their chests. They have if you look at a skeleton of an armadillo, it looks like they have four limbs like you'd expect on a quantum petel animal of their size.
They're a pretty good match for the hind limbs, and it gives them that sort of like horizontal back posture, like most animals have that are quite repeatable. At least. However, armadillos do often walk by peterle because they have these massive claws on their hands. It just gets in the way. It's like walking on nails that are awkward and everything. So a lot of times they'll hold their hands up off the ground and kind of scamper in a more upright posture.
It's pretty adorable depending on the species. They have between three and five claws on their front feet or hands, as opposed to the just one massive claw that Alvira stores have. But in most cases, especially in the giant armadillo, one of their claws is way bigger than the others. So they have one huge claw that does most of the work. So in that way, it's pretty similar to Alvares or Armadillo's, though, are much lower to the ground than Alvares or is meaning their mouth is basically on the ground when they're walking, they just point their head down.
They have a long, narrow face. So if there's a bug there that they want to eat, they've got a long tongue. They could just slurp it up without having to bend over. Whereas Alvira saws, they're bipedal. And if you think about like what a Comsec Mathes or something is depicted as looking like where their head is way off the ground, they kind of have this erect suan like neck posture. It's it doesn't seem the most conducive for eating insects off the ground.
It seems weird. They basically be on like their knees on the ground with their little claws down in order to get it. But that's not impossible, I suppose. And maybe their neck is long enough that they could bend down and eat off the ground without having to get into too weird of posture. We don't have a lot of bones, so it's kind of hard to say. Armadillos can reportedly eat an entire colony of termites in one go, which led me to this paper called Colony Populations and Biomass in Nests of the Amazonian Rainforest, which was published in.
Studies on neotropical fauna and environment, a journal I had not seen before, and I had to go there to find out how much a termite colony weighs. So in other words, is it impressive to eat an entire colony of termites, as lots of people report that armadillos can do? And I found that a colony of termites weighs between one point five to twenty two point one grams, really not a lot of food.
And that's like twenty two point one grams, I think was thirty thousand plus termites. So each one weighs about a milligram. Very small, not a lot of nutrition there. You still have to catch the termites. Yeah. So Armadillo's and Anteaters, which are also in this group, have these big sticky tongues. They're covered in hooks and they have all sorts of strategies for getting as many of these termites into their mouth as fast as possible. So the getting at them, I guess the claws are useful for that, too.
But even once you do go through all that work, you're only getting less than an ounce of termites is just barely seems worth the effort. You can see why there aren't too many animals competing for termites in this way. Possibly because you have to eat so many termites, you can imagine a giant armadillo that weighs over 30 kilograms, getting in these 20 grams of termites isn't really going to sustain a very long. Armadillos are generally very opportunistic. They'll eat pretty much everything they can fit in their mouth.
So they'll eat ants and beetles and worms in the invertebrate category. They have lots of small grinding teeth and tiny mouths. So it kind of limits what they can eat, but they're well suited to grinding up things like beetles and termites and stuff. So that's handy, kind of similar to Alvira swords, which are known to have quote unquote, simple teeth. And that's been used as an argument for maybe why Alvar's swords could have eaten termites or an adaption for eating termites.
Interestingly, Armadillo's also scavenge dead animals, although they might not go there to actually scavenge the animal. They might be going there to scavenge the invertebrates that are eating the dead animals like maggots because they have a really good sense of smell and they'll dig maggots up out of the ground that can be almost a foot underground and they can smell them and then dig them out.
So super gross. But they scavenge the scavengers in some cases, like all of life. Yeah. They've also been known to eat small reptiles and amphibians if they can catch them. One report I read said that they do this more often in the winter when it's harder to find the termites and when the reptiles and amphibians which are ecto thermic are a little sluggish. So there's another win for endothermic. You're still quick moving in the winter. You can catch these little reptiles.
And one of the most important things, though, is that I found some pictures of armadillos eating dinosaur eggs, specifically chicken eggs. If they get in a chicken coop, they will eat the eggs. But unfortunately, I couldn't find any evidence of how exactly they cracked open the eggs. I was interested in this because Alvira Swords, there was this paper that proposed that they had these little sharp claws and they would kind of chest bump eggs to break them open with their claws.
And then they were egg based Oviraptor type original analysis predators.
But the only thing I could find about people describing how armadillos eat eggs is that they hold them between their front hands and eat them that way. So maybe they're crushing them or breaking them open with their hands and their claws because they are pretty sharp claws, too. And then eating them that way. Or maybe they're breaking them some other way and then they just hold on to them afterwards. I'm not sure. Use their tongue. Yeah. The yolk.
Yeah. Or maybe I don't know if they can open their mouth wide enough to crack it open or if they pick it up and hit it on the ground or something. But one way or another they like eggs, giant armadillos and I believe the other 20 species all live underground in holes that they dig.
We don't know where Alvarez and words lived, but it's been proposed that maybe they use their claws for digging and we know erect a dreaminess, dug holes. So it's possible that they have that in common. And a couple more fun armadillo facts, because I read so much about armadillos and they are fascinating animals. The giant armadillo is the largest armadillo species. It weighs about 30 kilograms or 70 pounds. It's really big. Like most armadillos, it's only native to South America.
There are some armadillos in North America, like the nine banded armadillo, but most of them are in South America. The smallest is the pink fairy armadillo. It weighs only one hundred and twenty grams or four point two ounces and is just four inches or 10 centimeters long, probably what's called the fairy armadillo. It is adorable.
Look, it's just a little fuzzy. It's got white fuzz all around its size and its bottom, and then it's pink on the top and they live in little tiny burrows. But like most armadillos, they're nocturnal. So they're like nobody sees them. And they're only native to, I think, a small area of Argentina. So they're pretty rare, just like fairies. You never see them. Exactly. It's amazing. The three banded armadillo is the only one that can form a true ball so it can ball up fully.
Even though that's what armadillos are famous for doing. There's only one they can actually do it. The one in North America can't. And the coolest thing about that one is it can close it really fast, like almost aggressively. Fast, like snapping jaws shut and its carapace. That arm around its back is pretty sharp around the edge. So supposedly it can use its carapace as a weapon when it's being attacked. If something like sticks its hand underneath it or slams shut around that thing's arm.
I think I've seen it. I think I've seen cartoons of that.
It's crazy. It's so cool. Most Armadillo's what they'll do is they'll either try to dig because they can dig really fast with those claws to get away from predators or they'll curl up as much as they can or they'll use their claws, which are really sharp to scratch at stuff that's trying to get at them. Sometimes they'll do a combination, like dig a little bit and then like latch on to the ground. So it's just the carapace exposed. Pretty cool animals, by the way.
Armadillos are mammals and they're one of the only other mammals, maybe the only other mammal other than humans that can catch leprosy and they can also spread it to humans. So don't touch Armadillo's, you shouldn't touch wild animals in general, but this is another reason not to touch Armadillo's and also eating them can give you leprosy if it's not prepared the right way. So I would recommend against eating armadillos. So, yeah. Real quick and we'll talk a little bit about giant anteaters and anteaters in general, they have a large claws as well, not as large as Armadillo's.
They're about 10 centimeters or four inches long. They have all the same uses as Armadillo's breaking open tree logs and stumps and nests and things like that to get at insects. They seem a little bit more specialized, though. I don't think they're quite as opportunistic. And they often eat hundreds of nests a day to get enough calories because again, one nest of termites or ants only weighs a couple tens of grams. It made me think, though, that maybe that bipedal stance of Alvira swords helped them cover enough ground efficiently so that they could get to a whole bunch of nests if they were specialized for this, because both of these animals are sort of bipedal ish.
Anteaters also have a stomach that functions like a gizzard, which is crazy. So they eat sand instead of stones, like the gizzards and dinosaurs and birds. But they also have hard folds in their stomach that they can contract and that grinds up the food as well. So they've evolved basically a gizzard stomach. Hmm. Yeah. This is why Xynthia is so cool, because they have all sorts of weird adaptations and no other mammals have. But the coolest thing of all with anteaters is they have this long, bushy prehensile tail that they can use for climbing trees and they also use it as a blanket when they sleep.
Wow, it's so adorable. It is one of the cutest things I've ever seen. They hold their little nose up off the ground with their hand and then they curl their tail over themselves as a blanket and they sleep like that. Sounds very cartoony. It's so wonderful. I'm going to post a picture of that on our discord. So check that out if you're a patron. And on that adorable note. That wraps up this episode of A.A.. Thanks for listening.
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