Errors in Georgia Before People: Land of the saber-tooths, mastodons, vampire bats, and other strange creatures

“To error is human; to forgive divine.”

I tried very hard to write a perfect book with no factual mistakes, typos, or bad grammar.  I’m not a scientist nor a well known writer.  Moreover, my book is self-published.  So I was doubly motivated to produce a flawless product.  I could’ve paid a professional editor to go over my book, but they cost at least $500–more money than I actually expect to make from publishing this book.  And even after paying such a fee, the book could still have mistakes because editors are not Gods.  (As a self-published author, it always delights me to find typos and misspellings in books produced by big book publishers.  I know that’s a shameful attitude.)  Anyway, I didn’t write the book, and I don’t write this blog for money–I write about this subject matter because I love it.  The link below is for my book on amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Georgia-Before-People-Saber-Tooths-Mastodons/dp/0557330157/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295010612&sr=8-1#reader_0557330157

I was hoping a photo of my book would appear when I cut and pasted the link.  Most of my book sales have been from amazon.com.  I only make $1.31 when my book sells on amazon.  Amazon and Lulu publishers get the rest.  I make a very small piece of the pie.  Incidentally, you can get the book cheaper directly from me.  I charge $24 which includes shipping for a signed copy.  You can get an electronic copy of the book from lulu.com for just $3.

Since I published my book, I’ve become aware of 3 errors in it.  I’m sure there are more.  Readers, please let me know of any.  Just write a response to this blog entry, and I’ll note it.

The first error is my portrayal of Panthera atrox, formerly Panthera leo atrox, as an animal behaving exactly like an African lion in my chapter recounting an imaginary journey through what’s now Augusta, Georgia 20,000 BP.   Approximately the same time I wrote my book, a scientist was thoroughly studying the anatomy of this species, and he determined it was not a lion, but rather an extinct distinct species within the Panthera genus.  It was a kind of giant panther with a skull like a lion but with a jaw like a jaguar.  I discuss this paper in a July blog entry entitled “Panthera atrox.  What kind of cat was it?”   I was unaware of this study at the time I wrote my book.  Given this new information, I believe it unlikely this giant extinct panther was a social cat, though I’m certain it did battle packs of dire wolves over prey.  I imagine it was less successful in conflicts with dire wolves than a pride of lions would’ve been.

The second error I blame on my carelessness.  I wrote, rewrote, and edited the entire book countless times, yet I goofed in one instance and garbled a whole sentence.  (How this happened, I’ll never know.)  In my chapter recounting an imaginary journey through what’s now Georgia 13,000 BP, I describe a group of paleo-Indian boys practicing their skills with primitive weapons.  On page 181 the first sentence should read “the oldest boy takes his turn” rather than “the oldest boy makes him sturn.”

The third error is the only one that embarrasses me.  In my section on cougars (Puma concolor) I mistakenly wrote that Charlie Killmaster is the hunter who killed a cougar in Georgia in 2008.  Actually, the name of the hunter from my source is never given.  Charlie Killmaster was the Department of Natural Resources employee who documented the event.  The reason this mistake embarrasses me is because I sent a free copy of my book to Rob Pavey, the outdoor editor of the Augusta Chronicle.  He wrote the article I used as my source.  Oh well, I flubbed that one.

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I have one more comment.  I posted a few excerpts from my book on one of my favorite websites–the Fossil Forum.  An unfavorable critic there suggested that I shouldn’t give up my day job.  This reveals a misleading belief some people have of the writing profession.  For every John Grisham or Stephen King, there are hundreds, if not thousands of published writers, who can’t afford to give up their day jobs.  Most published writers are English professors or journalists who must continue to work their day jobs, even after they publish their book in order to put food on the table.  ($1.31 doesn’t go far these days, even if multiplied by a 100.)  We don’t write for money; we write because we love the subject we’re writing about.

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For next week’s blog entry I hope to write about the extinct giant chipmunk–Tamias aristus.  And I’ll have a complete list of species discovered from the Ladds fossil site and Arredondo IIA.

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2 Responses to “Errors in Georgia Before People: Land of the saber-tooths, mastodons, vampire bats, and other strange creatures”

  1. amanda clement Says:

    Hello
    I hope this gets to you. I am really interested in getting a copy of your book as where I live in UK (Raygill) in 1900, a fissure was discovered and when it was investigated it was found to contain cave lion remains along with straight tusked elephant, hyena, steppe bison, hipp, rhino and Elk, please if you get this email could you email me back.

    Yours
    Amanda Clement

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