Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

A blog encouraging deeper relations between people and animals.

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Virginia Carper

Virginia Carper

Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  

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Extinct Animals: Embrace Life

 The grouping of Extinct Animals includes Other Hominins (e.g. Neanderthals), the Dinosaurs, the Remotely Extinct (e.g. Trilobites), and the Recently Extinct (e.g. Stellar’s Sea Cow). (Each sub-group relates to humans differently.) Many of these animals have shown how life started, and how it has continued through mass extinctions. The Recently Extinct animals demonstrate the end of life, and how they are still a part of those living today. Living in the place between reality and imagination, the Extinct Animals have taught me that life endures.

 The Remotely Extinct have survived mass extinctions. Moreover, during the Great Dying of the Permian Era, about ninety percent of all life went extinct. The Ancestors of all beings today are the ten percent who managed to survive the “Time of Hell on Earth,” which occurred 250 million years ago. As generalists, the Remotely Animals were flexible, possessed sheer stubbornness, and had good luck. From them, I learned that extinction happens, but as long as we are flexible, we can transform ourselves.

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Cryolophosaurus: Use Your Imagination

In 1991, the first dinosaur to be found in Antarctica was Cryolophosaurus. This opened up a new continent to dinosaur discoveries. Named for the geologist David Elliot, who first excavated this dinosaur, Cryolophosaurus’ full taxonomic name became “Cryolophosaurus elliotti.” In 1994, He became the first Antarctic dinosaur to be named. This dinosaur’s name means “frozen crest lizard.”

 Life in the Antarctic during the early Jurassic was much different than today. At that time, Antarctica was further north and closer to the equator. Also, the warm Jurassic oceans allowed for plant and animal life to flourish there. However, there were still long periods without a sunrise. This continent was also cooler than other places. Not many large dinosaurs of the Jurassic could tolerate either condition very well. Medium sized Cryolophosaurus did and thrived. This meat-eater had little completion for the Pterosaurs and Prosauropods that He hunted.

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Megalosaurus: The Door to New Worlds

The first dinosaur ever to be named was Megalosaurus. The first fossil to be “officially” discovered (England, 1676), Megalosaurus was believed to be a giant human. As the first dinosaur to be drawn, her thigh fossil was depicted as a piece of male anatomy by Robert Plot. This prompted Dr. Richard Brookes to name it “scrotum humanum” in 1763.

Meanwhile, Reverend William Buckland had different ideas about Megalosaurus. An avid fossil collector, Rev. Buckland realized that the bones he possessed were instead from an ancient animal. After reviewing Buckland’s collection, Baron George Cuvier said that the fossils were of a giant lizard creature. (Cuvier was the first scientist to realize that extinction occurs.) In 1824, Rev. Buckland wrote a scientific paper and named this “lizard,” Megalosaurus, which means “great lizard.”

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MOUSE FAMILY: Examine Life’s Lessons

Mice have taken up residence in my kitchen. The old building that I live in is a haven for snakes and mice with my kitchen being a thoroughfare. Of course, I wondered what message the mice have to tell me. 

Mice are natural archivists. Besides storing seeds, they carefully line their nests with grasses. Using the materials at hand, their nest becomes a time capsule of their home area. In cities, mice nests are treasure troves for archeologists. These nests contain bits and pieces of paper, buttons, and other historical objects.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mole: Fearless Explorer

After I found a mole near the common dumpster, I learned that moles live underground in many urban areas. This particular mole was trying to find his way home amid the concrete. With my handkerchief, I carefully picked him up and deposited him on the grass.

Nearly forty kinds of moles live in the woodlands and fields of Eurasia and North America. Moles spend most of their lives underground. In the darkness of their burrows, moles eat, sleep, mate, and raise their young. These insectivores, with their small eyes and ears, eat many insects and other invertebrates. As underground tunnellers, moles have taken advantage of where they live.

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  • Cascadia Grove
    Cascadia Grove says #
    Love the article! Great picture I will relate to moles in a whole different way from now on. Debbie Olhoeft, Cascadia Grove

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Chambered Nautilus: Sacred Geometry

Usually thought of as a living fossil, the Chambered Nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) has been on the earth much longer than any fish. A relative of the squid and octopus, the Chambered Nautilus uses jet propulsion to zip around the ocean at high speeds (although backwards). Unlike the other cephalopods, She lives in a shell, and has up to ninety tentacles. Moreover, the Chambered Nautilus can live to be twenty years old, an unusually long life-span for a cephalopod. (Most only have life spans of three to five years.) 

Living in the depths of the sea, the Chambered Nautilus migrates nightly up the water’s surface. At night, She hunts along the coral reefs. Exploring with her beak, the Chambered Nautilus will find a tasty crab, fish, or shrimp to feast on. 

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Allosaurus: Be Fierce

One of the best known dinosaurs, Allosaurus is often featured in science fiction movies. Usually a group of hapless scientists go back in prehistory to explore early life. They end up being stalked and eaten by this dinosaur. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle started this particular trope by featuring Allosaurus in his novel, “The Lost World (1912).”

As one of the earliest dinosaurs to be discovered in the American West, Allosaurus was a part of the “Bone Wars” (1877-95) between Othniel C. Marsh and Edward D. Cope. Since the fossils of this dinosaur were readily found, various sets of his bones were regarded as either a new Allosaurus species or were the bones of other dinosaurs. Even today, paleontologists are still sorting out who is an Allosaurus and who is not. The one species that is universally recognized is A. fragilis, because of his many bone fractures.

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