Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kraken from Hell?

Science Daily has an unusual piece about some maybe evidence of a huge prehistoric beast that roamed the oceans.  The lede paragraph is quite something:
Long before whales, the oceans of Earth were roamed by a very different kind of air-breathing leviathan. Snaggle-toothed ichthyosaurs larger than school buses swam at the top of the Triassic Period ocean food chain, or so it seemed before Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin took a look at some of their remains in Nevada. Now he thinks there was an even larger and more cunning sea monster that preyed on ichthyosaurs: a kraken of such mythological proportions it would have sent Captain Nemo running for dry land.
The peculiarities ensued when a graveyard of icthyosaurs was discovered arranged in a non-random order and with odd markings on them:
First of all, the different degrees of etching on the bones suggested that the shonisaurs [ichthyosaurs] were not all killed and buried at the same time. It also looked like the bones had been purposefully rearranged. That it got him thinking about a particular modern predator that is known for just this sort of intelligent manipulation of bones. “Modern octopus will do this," McMenamin said. What if there was an ancient, very large sort of octopus, like the kraken of mythology. “I think that these things were captured by the kraken and taken to the midden and the cephalopod would take them apart.”
‘What-if?’ stories are great fun and thought provoking but a great deal more evidence will have to be amassed before this can be verified/supported. Given the size of some of the creatures in the past (here, here and here) however, this is not so hard to believe.

No comments:

Post a Comment