Friday, May 30, 2014

Crystal Palace, part II

I feel it incumbent upon me to open this appendix to Marc's Crystal Palace Park report by explaining to our readers that being referred to as an 'adorable mammal' is perhaps one of the highest compliments one could earn from him (grumpy misanthrope that he is)*.

With that in mind, here are a few more adorable mammals and other miscellaneous tidbits from the park which didn't quite make it into Marc's post.

Grouped closely together as one enters the Cenozoic in the Dinosaur Park trail are a family of Palaeotherium -- out of whom I only managed a picture of this individual above -- and a trio of Anoplotherium (below). Though they have been situated at one end of the lake in such a way as to evoke feelings of visitors happening upon them in the wild, their location and the growth of the surrounding vegetation does tend to leave them overlooked in favour of the more charismatic Mesozoic beasties, which is something of a shame.

I can't resist sharing more pictures of the Megatherium, even though Marc has already mentioned it. It's just, well, adorable. Obviously. And I can't help feeling that it looks for all the world as though it might have sprung out of a Miyazaki film.

My Neighbour Megatherium
Or, I don't know, Pliocene Princess Mononoke, or... something.

Nor could I lose the opportunity of sharing more pictures of the Megaloceros family. I mean, come on, one picture of them could hardly have sufficed. Did I mention how fond I am of cervids?

To bring us back to the dinosaurs, however, the park entrance directly by Crystal Palace station features this dinosaur train mural.

Whilst another appropriately themed one greets visitors on the side of the park's café.

Finally, Marc mentions not having taken a picture of the turtle-shelled dicynodonts in his post, so here is mine to hopefully remedy that. I'm afraid it's only their back view, but the plentiful daisies unfortunately prevented any good views of their heads from other angles. At least they're accompanied by several resting mallards.

*I'm kidding. Mostly.


  1. Were the turtle shells on the dicynodonts just a wild guess by Hawkins, or was there something in the (then known) morphology which led him, or his scientific advisors, in that direction?

    1. Marc tells me (and as Gary also points out below) that Owen was mostly likely responsible for that direction, rather than Hawkins himself.

  2. I wondered that too! Apparently Owen described them from fragmentary skeletons but some good skulls. Perhaps because the beak was similar to that of a turtle, he surmised it was a turtle-like creature? I don't know, but it sounds like the sort of thing Owen would do. And he believed the dicynodont tusks were for stabbing prey.

  3. Did someone mention Miyazaki? How about "Porco Peloso" for the Megatherium?

    It is common practice on this blog (compulsory, in fact) to pass comment on the often ridiculous depictions of our favourite beasties. But... what is going on with the wheels of that train!? It's only got one pair of driving wheels (highly unusual) and therefore doesn't need any coupling rods, yet they are connected to the undriven front bogey wheels and all of the carriage wheels. Hopefully, it won't need to go around any curves. Let's not even mention that the rods randomly attach to the outside or inside of the wheels, project below ground level, and wouldn't do anything useful since they're connected to the centre of the drive wheels. /rant

    1. The train bothered me too, and I'm not even a train buff...although my cousin (and good friend) is.

    2. 'Porco Peloso' is perfect!

      I'm afraid I entirely overlooked the train's accuracy and/or locomotive probability. But now that you've pointed it out: yikes. I'm impressed that Marc was far quicker than me in observing it, but as he says, his cousin's (also a friend to me and one of the sweetest persons I've met) knowledge clearly rubbed off on him.

  4. In those days scientists constructed trains very differently than they do now. It was due in part to the lack of good fossil material, but mostly on account of the predominance of artistic memes based on the interpretations of early trainologists. Tequila on a Friday night also had a part to play.

  5. Dem Anoplotheriums...

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