Monday, March 8, 2010

The Great Tyrannosaurus: A Fossiliferous Fable

This poem is drawn from The Mirthful Lyre (1918) by Arthur Guiterman, an American poet. Here, he puts forth a novel hypothesis about the K-T extinction: T. rex ate the rest of the dinosaurs. The whole mess of 'em. It's a cautionary tale, really. And it's still relevant, every silly word.

The Great Tyrannosaurus
Lived centuries ago;
Through marshes wet and porous
He rambled to and fro.

The most tremendous Lizard
That ever browsed on meat,
His length from A to Izzard
Was forty-seven feet.

The Great Tyrannosaurus
In habitude was not
What one would call decorous—
He ate an awful lot.

Lamellibranchs in sixes,
Iguanodons to spare
And Archaeopteryxes
Comprised his bill of fare.

The Great Tyrannosaurus
Of all the world was king;
With trumpetings sonorous
He swallowed everything.

When everything was swallowed
Beneath the azure sky,
What naturally followed?—
The Creature had to die.

The Great Tyrannosaurus,
That was so blithe and free,
Hath passed away before us;
Then learn from him and me:

This earth can never nourish
An appetite like his;
So, if you hope to flourish,
Don't gobble all there is!


Drawing by Othenio Abel from his 1930 paper Plastich Rekonstruktion des Lebensbildes von Tyrannosaurus rex Osborn. Hat tip to Brian Switek for rediscovering it!

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Trolls get baleted.