Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Giant Short-Faced Bear (Artodus simus) was not as Bizarre as Originally Thought

June 1, 2023

I first published this article in February of 2015, and it has 852 views. This is another fact in my book that needs to be revised. This article highlights a study that determined giant short-faced bears (Arctodus simus) did not have unusually long legs, and their faces were not particularly short. The last sentence of this article also needs to be revised. A new study found scimitar-toothed cats ate as much bone as lions.


Scientists first described the giant short-faced bear as an unusually long-limbed bruin with a shortened catlike face.  Some proposed this species outran prey, much like a cheetah does.  However, later studies determined it was not a particularly fast runner but was instead built for endurance.  Nevertheless, these descriptions suggested a very bizarre kind of bear.  But now, the most recent and thorough study of the short-faced bear’s anatomy upends much of what was previously thought about this bear. Paleontologists, led by Borja Figuerida, compared skeletons of the giant short-faced bear with those of 56 different species of carnivores including all living species of bear.  In all they looked at 411 specimens.  They believe the giant short-faced bear did not sport much of a different appearance than any living species of bear, though it was very large. The legs were not unusually long.  They claim the assumption of a bear with…

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Southeastern Giant Beavers of the Pleistocene have been Declared a Distinct Species from Northern Giant Beavers

May 25, 2023

A reader just purchased the last printed copy of my book that I have. My blog averages 200-300 views per day, but I think I sold in the neighborhood of just 30 copies of my book. I’m not ordering any more copies, but the book is still available from the printer ($3 as an e-book and $26.76 as a hard copy). It is also available on both used and new. I wrote the book 14 years ago, and much of the information is dated and needs to be revised. Some of this is because of new scientific discoveries. Since I wrote the book, scientists have learned the American lion is a distinct species from the African lion and not just a subspecies. After I wrote the book, I found an article in a really obscure journal by a scientist who determined there was no such species as the fugitive deer. I wrote blog articles correcting this. I also found I used the wrong scientific genus names for the American cheetah and the scimitar-toothed cat. The former should be Miracynonyx and the latter Homotherium. In this reblogged article I wrote about Dr. Richard Hulbert’s study of southeastern giant beavers, and how he recognized they were a different species than midwestern giant beavers.


The giant beaver of the Pleistocene was semi-aquatic like its modern living cousin (Castor canadensis), but it ate different plant foods, and therefore occupied a different ecological niche.  Giant beaver fossils are fairly common throughout the midwest but have also been found at numerous localities in the southeast, particularly Florida.  Scientists formerly thought southern giant beavers were the same species (Casteroides ohioensis) that ranged throughout the midwest and northeast.  The reason for this misconception was the lack of complete skulls in the collections of southern museums.  Skulls of giant beavers were excavated from the Leisey Shell Pits in Florida, but this site dates to the early Pleistocene, and paleontologists thought they represented a species that was ancestral to the late Pleistocene giant beaver, thus explaining the differences in skull characteristics.  However, a complete skull resembling those early Pleistocene giant beavers was discovered in the Cooper River…

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Blueberry and Bumblebee

May 18, 2023

This blog article only has 232 views. I published it in May of 2012. It looks like I’m going to have a bumper crop of blueberries this year, though only 3 of my 4 bushes are still alive.


I have 4 cultivated blueberry bushes.  They usually flower in March, produce fruit in June, and offer lovely red foilage in  fall.  This year, winter ended 2 weeks earlier than normal, and Saturday (May 19th) I harvested my first blueberries.  They were plump from a recent drought-breaking rain.  I made my first batch of blueberry pancakes the following morning.  My bushes give me all the berries I need for pancakes, muffins, and desserts for about a month.

My blueberry bushes flower in February and March.  The bees swarm to them every year.  Without these pollinators there would be no fruit.

Note the bees.  The most common species pollinating the flowers are the southeastern blueberry bees and bumblebees.  The former looks similar to the latter but is smaller.

Two bushes.  Two varieties.  One of the four bushes (not pictured) is stunted and doesn’t produce much yet.

Good plump berries by May 18th.

Blueberry flowers attract several…

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Native American Cannibalism and Dog-Eating

May 11, 2023

I first wrote this article in October of 2012 and it has over 13,5000 views. In the comments section some dumbass claimed my article was “poorly researched” and it contributes to “cultural misappropriation that tribes suffer today.” He also suggested I interview tribe members. First of all, it wasn’t my research. The article is basically a book report of a book written by George Feldman. Second, I’d have a hard time interviewing the cannibal Indians who lived 150 years ago. I doubt any are still alive. Third, cultural misappropriation is a bullshit politically correct term. If someone copies someone else’s culture, it should be viewed as a compliment. Anyone seeing it any differently lives with a stick up their ass.


Last year, I wrote several Halloween inspired essays on topics such as Pleistocene vampire bats, dire wolves and lycanthropy, and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. (See ) Monstrous extinct animals abound in the pre-history of southeastern North America, and I can choose from  a lot of potentially terrifying topics for Halloween-themed essay material,  but none of the monsters of the past are scarier than Homo sapiens.  Flesh-eating zombies are popular in fiction today.  But the concept of mindless non-entities eating people is laughable nonsense when compared to the true history of live humans eating other humans.  Maybe this is because we assume people have compassion and empathy for their fellows, and it’s shocking when history proves this is not always the case.

I’ve written an irregular series on this blog fantasizing  about how I would live in Georgia 36,000 years BP, if I could bring some modern conveniences back in time with me.  I picked that time because it’s almost certain there…

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Bearzilla: The Biggest Bear in History

May 4, 2023

I first published this article in December of 2012, and it has been one of my most consistently viewed articles with over 67,500 views. The first image has disappeared, but I have discovered that if I try to edit articles this old, they vanish. Since I wrote this article, scientists have decided giant short-faced bears were omnivorous and did not solely live by scavenging other predators kills. The same likely holds true for the giant South American species.


With a massive presence and a terrifying roar Arctotherium angustidens rampaged over South America about 2 million years ago, chasing frightened predators away from their kills and gorging itself on the scavenged meat.  These giant bears reached a weight of 3500 pounds, so to sustain this bulk, they needed to eat approximately 50 pounds of meat per day.  They occasionally captured wounded or sick prey animals, and they likely consumed some vegetable matter, but their primary survival strategy was “kleptoscavenging.”  Like their distant North American cousins, the giant short-faced bear (Arctodussimus), Arctotheriums trotted long distances, covering grand territories, and with their keen sense of smell they could detect the scent of blood from miles away.  They followed their nose to the source and used their great size to intimidate big cats, wolves, and terror birds from the meat those successful carnivores had worked so hard to procure.


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The Population of China is Projected to Dramatically Fall before the End of the Century

March 23, 2023

The population of humans on earth is over 8 billion and growing rapidly. This population explosion of a single species of large vertebrate is probably unsustainable. It is a matter of time before a threshold is reached when an increasing number of humans outstrips the ability of advanced agriculture to feed all of humanity. Most natural resources are also finite. Competition for dwindling resources could cause devastating wars, resulting in the deaths of millions. Pollution and human produced garbage from expanding populations risk turning the whole planet into a toxic waste dump. Humans can either voluntarily choose to reduce their population or the limits of the natural world will do it for them in the form of war, famine, and/or a poisoned atmosphere. China understood this over 40 years ago and instituted the 1 child per family policy. China is a totalitarian society and was able to implement this draconian policy that would be impossible to implement in a free country. From 1980-2016 the Chinese government enforced this policy using heavy fines, forced abortions, and forced sterilizations. It worked. The Chinese government ended this policy when they realized they were facing a dramatic population decline in the future that put at risk their goal of global economic dominance.

China’s 1 child policy enforced from 1980-2016 worked. China’s population is projected to fall dramatically by the end of the century. Graph from the Pew Research Center.

Sexist Chinese parents selected for woman more often than men, and today there are 30 million more men than women in China. Still, women in China are having a hard time finding suitable husbands. Graph also from the Pew Research Center.

Though the population of people on earth needs to decline because of finite resources, China’s policy was draconian. China is an inhumane totalitarian state.

China’s population is projected to begin declining by 2050, if it hasn’t already, and by 2100 they expect their population will be less than 800 million. India is projected to surpass China in number of people next year. During the time the 1 child policy was in effect sexist Chinese parents often chose to abort female fetuses because male heirs were greatly preferred. At first the birth ratio was 112 males born to 100 females born, but between 2002-2008 it was 118 males born to 100 females born. Today, there are 30 million more males in China than females. Yet, women are having a hard time finding suitable mates. The females who were born were given more family resources to put toward education, and they are more career-oriented and don’t need husbands. Women got used to having few or no children, and many like it. They don’t want to have babies. Successful career women can afford to be picky, and in China they really are. The culture has totally changed. I suppose there are many men in China who aren’t getting laid, and porn is heavily restricted there. I’m really glad I don’t live there.

Japan is a free society, but they are also facing a population decline. The Japanese are in general also a sexist people. Career women who become pregnant are expected to quit their jobs and become full-time mothers. Liberated women are choosing careers over motherhood, and the birthrate is declining. The population in Japan is expected to fall below 50 million people by 2100. By 2050 1/3rd of the population there will be over 60, and this will put a strain on the economy. It will be expensive to support that many old people. Elder care will depend heavily upon robots.

Economists hate population declines because they cause economies to shrink. However, people who care about ecology should rejoice. I don’t agree with the methods used by totalitarian China to reduce their population, nor do I condone Japanese sexism, but reducing the human population on earth should be a goal of society. Humanity should work on improving the quality of life for everybody, and that is much easier with fewer people to help. Culture and attitudes need to change. People should know it is ok to have as many kids as they want, but large families should be discouraged. People should also know it is ok, if one decides not to have children at all. There are already enough of us.

What did Entelodonts and Anthracotheres Eat?

March 16, 2023

Most species of mammals living during the Oligocene (33 million years BP-25 million years BP) left no living descendants, but some were related to ancestors of extant species. Anthracotheres and entelodonts are examples of this evolutionary tree that includes more dead ends than living branches. Anthracotheres and entelodonts were related to each other, but they were also likely related to early whales and the ancestors of hippos. Genetic studies support the vertebrate paleontologists who believe these animals were related to each other. The genetic evidence indicates hippos are the closest living relatives of whales, and the cladistic analysis by scientists is probably correct. Entelodonts and anthracotheres may have been dead ends, but they were successful for a very long time. Their known fossil record stretches from the mid-Eocene about 40 million years ago to the early Miocene about 15 million years ago. Anthracotheres were semi-aquatic and about the size of a juvenile elephant. Entelodonts were not quite as large and lived on land. Entelodonts are also known as “hell pigs,” but scientists no longer think they were closely related to pigs. Some have speculated they were highly carnivorous and rammed their prey, knocking their prey down before tearing them apart with their fearsome teeth. Entelodont teeth have been found in Eocene-aged fossil sites in Georgia. Anthracotheres and entelodonts ranged throughout Eurasia, Africa, and North America.

Anthracotheres were semi-aquatic relatives of enteledonts, hippos, and early whales. A study of tooth wear suggests they ate leaves and fruit.

Enteledonts were related to anthracotheres, hippos, and early whales. A study of tooth wear suggest they were omnivorous like wild boars.

An image of the teeth used in the study. This image is from the below referenced study.

Studies of anthracothere and entelodont diet are contradictory. The latest study of their diet looked at anthracothere and entelodont teeth under a microscope. They compared the microwear on their teeth with the microwear on the teeth of 29 extant species of mammals whose diets are known. Scientists couldn’t determine which species of anthracothere the teeth used in the study came from, but they did identify the entelodont teeth to be from Entelodont magnus. The entelodont and anthracothere teeth came from a fossil site in southwest France. The results of this study suggest anthracotheres were herbivores and ate leaves, grass, and fruit. Probably, much of their forage was aquatic plants. Microwear on entelodont teeth resembled that from extant wild boar, suggesting they ate roots, tubers, plants, and meat. They may have actively hunted or scavenged meat.


Rivals, F. ; R. Balyaev, V. Basova, N. Prilepskaya

“Hogs, Hipps, or Bears? Paleodiet of European Oligocene Anthracotheres, and Entelodonts”

Paleogeography, Paleoclimatalogy, Paleoecology 611 Feb 2023

Some Surprising Hybrids

March 2, 2023

“Nature is a mad scientist,” said the Kramer character from an old episode of Seinfeld when he discovered his average-sized girlfriend’s parents were little people or midgets as we used to know them. (Midget is too honest a word for modern sensibilities.) The many hybrids that have occurred in captivity is an example of how crazy nature can be. Most of the big cats in the Panthera genus (lions, leopards, tigers, snow leopards, and jaguars) have crossbred in captivity, though most of these hybrids are infertile. A recent genetic study suggests some of these species interbred in the wild during the last 2 million years, and it aided their evolutionary survival. (See: But surprisingly, there are a few cases on record of cougars mating with leopards and producing viable hybrids. Cougars and leopards are not in the same genus, and they are not closely related, but in a German zoo around 1900 these species did breed. Cougars and leopards are separated by at least 7 million years of evolution, and these cases are hard to believe. In 1 case a male leopard crossed with a female cougar, and in another case a male cougar crossed with a female leopard. A cross between a leopard and a cougar is known as a pumapard. The cubs survived though they were bad-tempered and poorly behaved. They stayed small. There is also a case of a much smaller male ocelot breeding with a female cougar. 4 litters were produced, but all the cubs died due to maternal neglect. The mother even ate 1 of the litters. Some cat breeders don’t want this known, but there is no evidence domestic cats have ever successfully bred with another species other than the European wild cat which is basically the same species.

A cougar and a leopard living in a zoo together produced viable offspring. This is astonishing considering they’ve been separated by at least 7 million years of evolution.

Cubs from a cross between an ocelot and cougar. A female cougar and a male ocelot made at least 4 litters in a zoo. None of the cubs survived because the mother would not take care of them, and on 1 occasion ate them.

Other surprising hybrids have occurred in zoos. A black bear successfully produced offspring with a brown bear. These 2 species are in the same genus, and genetic studies suggest there was some interbreeding between the 2 species during the early Pleistocene. Recently, a black rhino interbred with a white rhino in a South African zoo, and in 1968 a Baird’s tapir interbred with a lowland tapir. An Asian elephant once bred with an African elephant. These 2 species are not in the same genus, and Asian elephants are more closely related to extinct mammoths, than African elephants. Many species of primates will interbreed in captivity. Lemurs will breed with other species of lemurs, macaques with other species of macaques, and baboons with other species of baboons. Male chimpanzees will mate with their more docile relatives–the bonobos. During the early 20th century a Russian scientist experimented with creating a cross between a chimpanzee and a human. Perhaps fortunately, he was killed in a political purge in 1920. The evolutionary ancestors of humans frequently interbred with the evolutionary ancestors of chimpanzees, but this was over 6 million years ago. It would be difficult to cross a human with a chimpanzee today because the human chromosome number 2 is structured like 2 ape chromosomes put together. However, horses and zebras have similar differences, and they have been bred in captivity. It seems like something from the H.G Wells novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, but it is likely a human x chimpanzee hybrid could theoretically be produced.

An Asian elephant mated with an African elephant in a zoo. The hybrid lived for 10 days. Nobody knows why it died.

A few years ago, Hungarian scientists were experimenting with ways to increase egg production for endangered Russian sturgeon. They used American paddlefish (also endangered) eggs as a control in their study. They were shocked when the paddlefish eggs were fertilized with Russian sturgeon sperm. The 2 species diverged 164 million years ago, long before dinosaurs became extinct. They called the hybrid a sturddlefish. They have no plans to sustain the hybrid.

A sturddlefish resulted from the accidental crossing of an American paddlefish and a Russian sturgeon during a scientific experiment in Hungary. This is the most astonishing hybrid of all. These 2 species last shared a common ancestor 164 million years ago.


Catfish Farmer Wars

August 25, 2022

One of the first species of fish I ever caught was the brown bullhead catfish (Amerius nebulosa). I caught it in a canal that marked the border of my grandfather’s backyard when he lived in Inverness, Florida circa 1972. I remembered how good it tasted, so I was surprised when I first began sampling farm-raised catfish being marketed during the 1980s. Farmers in Mississippi and Alabama raise channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). The farm-raised catfish tasted ok, but the flesh had a flabby texture, and it was filled with streaks of tasteless fat. Frying the fish makes the fat crisp, but it is just not a versatile product. During the 1990s Vietnamese catfish farmers began flooding the American market with their farm-raised catfish, and The American Catfish Farmers of America went to work trying to cheat away the competition. During 2003 this organization convinced Senator Trent Lott to add an amendment to an appropriations bill that made it illegal for Asian catfish to be marketed as catfish. Asian catfish farmers were forced to rename their product as swai (Panganius hypothalmus) and basa (P. bocourti). The catfish Vietnamese farmers raise are known as the shark catfish, though they are true catfish and not related to sharks. However, Vietnamese raised catfish were still cheaper, and consumers seemed to prefer it over American farm-raised catfish. Not surprisingly, during 2008 American catfish farmers unsuccessfully tried to force Vietnamese catfish farmers to change the names of swai and basa back to catfish.

Brown bullhead. This is 1 of the first species of fish I ever caught. Some call it a trash fish, but it tastes just as good as American farm-raised catfish and the flesh has a better texture.
Adult and juvenile channel catfish. American catfish farmers raise this species. The flesh has a flabby texture and there are big blobs of fat in it. Vietnamese farm-raised catfish is better.
Vietnamese catfish farmers raise 2 species of shark catfish known as swai and basa because American catfish farmers bribed politicians to pass a law not allowing them to be called catfish. Vietnamese catfish is superior in texture compared to American farm-raised catfish, and beat it in a small blind taste test involving 58 people.

The American Catfish Farmers of America are a bunch of liars. They’ve convinced celebrity chefs including Alton Brown and Emeril Lagasse that farm-raised catfish tastes better than wild catfish, but from my experience I know this is untrue. Perhaps wild catfish caught in evaporating mud puddles do taste muddy, but wild catfish caught in clear water taste just as clean as farm-raised catfish. They want to discourage competition from sports anglers. This organization is also probably behind propaganda videos that falsely claim Vietnamese farm-raised catfish are raised in sewage and are contaminated with bacteria. An independent study conducted by Alan Marshall and Amit Pal of Mississippi State University found that Vietnamese raised catfish were just as safe to eat as American farm-raised catfish. Moreover, in a taste test involving 58 people, Vietnamese farm-raised catfish beat American farm-raised catfish. Accusing Vietnamese farmers of raising unsanitary food seems a bit racist to me. The Vietnamese eat their own product. They wouldn’t feed hazardous food to customers in their own country. In my opinion the American Catfish Farmers of America is a dishonest and racist organization. They represent unethical rednecks.

I made fried swai, hush puppies, and okra and tomatoes for supper last Sunday.

I recently discovered swai, and the product was so good it inspired me to research what exactly it was. It is an economical and quality product. The flesh is meaty without the flabby texture and streaks of fat found in American farm-raised catfish. It is as good as farm raised tilapia. I will be a regular consumer of this product.

No Blog Entries until At&T Fixes my Internet

March 12, 2022

I have no internet at my house for the first time in 24 years. I am typing this from a library computer terminal. The internet at my house became unusable 4 days ago, but AT&T couldn’t send a technician until yesterday. Then, the shithead couldn’t fix it. If anything, he made it worse. All I know is he failed. He made all kinds of excuses–he even blamed Covid. If they don’t have it fixed by the middle of next week, I’m going to have to switch internet providers. I asked AT&T to send a different technician, but they said I’d have to wait another 7 days. The stupid shmuck who failed to fix my internet told me there were only 8 customers on the road where I live, and AT&T was going to drop us all at the end of the year anyway. He then backtracked on that statement. He told me to keep checking to see if might start working with all the “improvements” he made. It’s not and without internet at home I’ve got nothing. I don’t know when this will ever get resolved. I haven’t been able to find anybody who knows how to fix my stove for 8 years. I’ve been cooking on Bunsen burners and an electric skillet. Incompetent doctors put my wife in a wheelchair 27 years ago, and nobody helps me take care of her. I’m tired of having to do everything all the time for everybody without support from anybody. Nobody helps me, and now they can’t fix my stuff. My mom used to help me, but she went senile and passed away years ago. Fuck it!