of no fixed subtitle
June 30, 2004
The fossil record of aquatic sloths.
18 years ago
Sea sloths are new to me -- I'm in shock at the idea the critters didn't just sink like rocks. They surely must have moved faster than extant sloths. Fascinating link, homunculus, thanks.
Great link! (wish it had more pictures, but great anyway)
Interesting. It reminded me of a story I heard when I was little of how the Chumash (the indigenous people of the California central coast) believe that dolphins evolved from people. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.
[this is good]
So, in another billion or so years, we'll have levitating sloths? They do seem to be moving upwards. Space sloths, perhaps. Moon sloths? Astro-sloths?
Froth sloths - amazing...
i do so love xenarthrates (sloth, anteater, armadillo). didn't know any of them had become aquatic though... this is cool, thanks!
Thanks homunculus! Wonderful stuff as always.
So, in another billion or so years, we'll have levitating sloths? They do seem to be moving upwards. Space sloths, perhaps. Moon sloths? Astro-sloths?
:) It would be ironic in a zen/Douglas Adams sort of way. Here we are making life miserable for each other and the planet, meanwhile the sloths are quietly out-evolving us between naps.
OT, but Panda's Thumb has a funny
on their Bathroom Wall page. (#4077 For art connoisseurs)
I salute the dauntless spirit of the great ocean-faring sloths of yore, but don't forget that they are, alas, extinct. As Damon Runyon put it, the race is not always to the swift, but they are telling me that that is the way the smart money is moving.
Sloths are excellent swimmers. They can cross a river at speeds of 45 feet per minute doing a sloth-stroke.
See for yourselves.
In other fossil news:
Quarry find reveals hippos and hyenas once roamed Norfolk.
In yet other fossil news:
Petite skull reopens human ancestry debate.
Large snakes and caiman stomachs have been found to contain sloths that did not make it downstream or across the river. During the rainy season ... they often starve to death even though their bellies are filled with food. ...three-toed sloths stomach's have pouches which store batches of bulky food in different stages of fermentation.
Sounds uncomfortable. Actually, this whole Iwanna-be-a-sloth deal needs some rethinking.
We are loathe To dismiss the sloth -- Sea-sloths in particular Don't seem so perpendicular.
This is fascinating. It also reminds me of a book I have just read -
City of Beasts
by Isabel Allende, which is very good.
As every eager reader knows, Allende, like Atwood, Remains a poet Though she writes prose.
She sells sea sloths by the sea shore.
They swam well in water, But sloths wanted more. Why and how did they end up in trees? Who can account for the sloth's oddities?
Dripping wet and water-sleek are we, As we writhe o'er the sands by the seething sea, And who so wondrous, so wise, as we? We'll fix our mighty minds on our collective sloth-destiny, We'll evade the fate of the Great Auk and the lemmings-to-be! We'll grow long claws, and compose papers in philosophy, And invite no one over for sherry or tea! For the quicker we think, the slower we move -- Upside down we meditate in every grove, Moss covers the fur of our scrawny bodies, In the air not one tree-sloth imbibes hot toddies.
Our modern sloth Is never frantic, And presumbably moves faster Than the sloth that was aquatic. Some fellows think that sloth Should ideally rhyme with moth, Or chicken broth, or Visigoth -- But I think the sloth Is verse-subtle And so should may rhyme With both.
via B3ta (!)
Such intriguing creatures -- thanks, Plegmund!
Arghhh!! I hate those hyper-cute happy sloth faces! They are evil, they can't hide their malevolent thoughts behind those fake enormous grins!
Aha! All is revealed! You can no longer fool us! One glimpse of your hyper-cute happy face -- and we know! In truth,, you are a
, who thinks to mislead us with these attacks on slothdom! Procrastination is futile! Confide your malevolent thoughts, tell us what bad joke lurks behind that incredible fake grin and the big brown eyes!
Damn, I've been
His coat is dappled o'er with moss, His eyes are brown as chocolate sauce, His face is round and solemn. Stringy arms and legs haul him Along an elevated jungle branch Which would make a monkey blanch. But he's slow. No one can tell if he's on the go Or deep in thought or going with the slothy flow -- Not outwardly swift in any way that primates know. Yet high above the sloth's home ground He may be rapt in thoughts profound.
seem to have occurred sometimes between the sea sloths and the modern tree-sloths. It seems sloths couldn't settle on what they wanted to be, and kept changing their minds/survival strategies. Mysterious creatures!
Bees, could I pursuade you to craft another sloth poem? Perhaps with the first lines: Sloths just couldn't settle on what they wanted to be. Pretty please?
, I will consider it, but at the moment I am in the hunting-and-gathering stage of discovering what, exactly, these sloths think they are up to.
Sloths just couldn't settle On what they wanted to be And the weather was hot But the ocean was not So they surfed the soft swells Of the welcoming sea. But the saltwater stung their tiny eyes, And the sharks reduced their toes to three, And their long tails were (but only briefly) quite a liability So the sloths left the cruel sea behind And went to the jungles to unwind By climbing the vines of a mossy tree Where sloths still dangle peacefully.
One paleolithic dawn, Sloth A said to Sloth B, "Damn, but I'm tired of this eternal sea! Nothing but fish for a fellow to follow, And everything there is to taste is hellish salty when I swallow." "Hey, me, too!" "Me, too!" "You tell 'em, Sloth A!" "What are we waiting for? Guys, let's go away!" And so they began tiptoeing out of the sea Where they found they must function against earthbound gravity. "This is too terrible!" "I feel heavy and fat!" And Sloth B said, "Enough of this idle backchat! We'll compromise, and try the marshes." (Ah, sloths, like humans, can seem such total arses!)
I'm getting there, BlueHorse, at a slothlike pace
Ooo, nice! Wasn't there when I started to post --well-done,
Okay, I think it's pretty clear that beeswacky is a free spirit whose poetic muse cannot be coopted by azure equines. Which leaves the much-coveted role of "insanely suggestible sycophant" WIDE OPEN and, hoowhee baby, it's MINE NOW!
Soon sloths began to tire Of floundering in the muck and mire; In the swamp, they found it advantageous to stand higher. So they grew, they grew enormously tall and stout -- Full twenty feet long from sloth-rump to sloth-snout. Big as elephants. But it seems that way back when All the creatures and birds of any acumen Tried to overtop one another -- ('twas stylish post-paleo-strategy then). Anyhow, eventually sloths lumbered onto what were then the plains, Leaving their marshy homes to become wanderers again -- Not exactly swimming through a sea of grass, Each ground sloth shook the earth as in search of food as it passed. "This hustle and bustle are too much for me!" One day exclaimed -- you guessed it -- Sloth C.
/to be continued. Yes, I'm about to get there, BlueHorse.
I believe that post now comes with a tiara and decorated sash, spackle. I believe it may even have rhinestones on it! also, nice poeme!
"I hate the plains!" "Let's leave, then!" "Yes, let's flee!" Now rose the poignant cries of sloth disharmony. "Not to the marsh -- the mud smells so bad!" And indeed this telling argument made every sloth nod. Sloth A by now was extinct, so was Sloth B, So this meeting of necessity was led by the giant Sloth C, Who rose to his full height of 18 feet and said, "Our bones have grown so heavy, we'd sink to the bottom of the sea, It seems clear we'll need to grow slimmer and trimmer To avoid becoming some greedy shark's dinner." After which up soke Sloth D, "Meanwhile, let's try something new, whatever it may be! The marsh is out, the sea must wait, why don't we opt for a tree?" Now sloths had gotten good at long-range planning, So they thought, and they decided to try banning heavy bones and brawn And bulk. Dawn by prehistoric dawn, they edged and shrunk by slow degrees Away from the grassy savannahs, inching closer to the trees. Yes -- closer to the trees where modern sloths all calmly ponder Their future return to those wild blue seas waving way out yonder.
Ah, the things I do For love of you, My lovely BlueHorse!
Mmm, rhinestones. . . so. . . shiny!
Evolution of whale hearing unfolds in fossil record
Oh, sloths are sloths, and whales are whales, And
seldom the twain shall meet, While ears and claws and flukes and jaws Are studied and found discrete.
*Bluehorse swoons and drops her lace hankie
More on the evolution of the whale ear
This, I think, tells me more about the whale's ear Than ever I knew I needed to hear.
Another sloth poem.
I wonder if sea sloths
The dolpin dare not doze too deeply, lest he inhale a wave and drown. The seal at sea must keep on swimming, lest she sink like a stone. Nor must the bird on her branch fall into deep sleep, lest she topple off her throne. Her desperate fluttering would cause the other birds to fuss and draw unfavorable attention from a tree cat -- or wuss. Most birds don't see too well at night -- collide with branches, break their beating wings because the birdy way is to resort to flight. Sloths, like seals, dolpins, or birds must also have learned to sleep a sleep not too profound, a sort of sleep half-baked,. Looking at tree-sloths, I wonder if they've ever really waked.
Beezers, some of this stuff really needs to be inked out on dead trees. You're in golden form lately.
Wolof, if you knew how many cartons of paper I've wasted already, you wouldn't suggest that.
howabout getting them all printed on a grain of rice? Y'know i think the record is something like 40,000 characters.
I believe an edition of the
Complete Monkeyworks of Beeswacky
is already in preparation, and no doubt the sloths will have a chapter.
A grain of cooked rice?
Sadly, the evolution of the whales' fine ears is proving to be a handicap now that they have to share the oceans with us:
The world's oceans are now so saturated with noise that whales and other marine mammals are dying, biologists say.
h-dogg what're ya
to bum me out? more wine!
Pete_best, there's plenty of whine to go 'round in most any thread. And cheese--lots of cheese. Yes, this is a cheesy place. But the party sucks when the shrimp platter gets empty.
Do sloths eat popcorn cake? It probably does not hit the sloth-spot. Their favorite cake is marmalade, which takes little time to bake. But when sloths get around to eating a slice, it no longer tastes very nice. "Yuck, it tastes like glue!" "Look! Mine has gray fuzz!" "This tastes like earwax!" a sad sloth wails, for what the chef fixes sloths always fails to do what (for speedier diners) it does. And so sloth gourmets dine instead on uncooked snails.
at last! reunited with sea-sloths -- I'm delighted
spackle wrote excellent poetry. Wherever ye are, spackle, have a wonderful 2005!
The Whale and the Antibody
In time, each critter evolves a strategy and hands it on to the progeny. Eyes will even now migrate across a fishy face, to give us fine flat flounder or the plaice. Way back, some gave up growing fur, or legs and paws, but lampreys, early risers, never bothered to grow jaws, and lampreys never got around to antibodies -- so we think of them as having quite odd bodies. Svelte sleek whales, one step by tiny step they went, and let their nose-holes wander back so nawadsays they vent through holes placed at the back of their amazing heads -- whales passed such small improvements on to their calves or kids.
Tree sloths have blondish, greenish hair; they raise a crop of algae there.
S-Santa? Is that you?
*hands over mouth, stomps feet in place*
The sloths rejoice!
The Sloth Theodore Roethke In moving-slow he has no Peer. You ask him something in his Ear, He thinks about it for a Year; And, then, before he says a Word There, upside down (unlike a Bird), He will assume that you have Heard- A most Ex-as-per-at-ing Lug. But should you call his manner Smug, He'll sigh and give his Branch a Hug; Then off again to Sleep he goes, Still swaying gently by his Toes, And you just know he knows he knows.
nice one GramMa!
The sloth is not asleep His flat out run is but a creep And yet his heart is beating For tho we scurry hot and juiced He's got no meetings, got no use For human-style barks and bleating He'll be no mascot for football teams His waking days are like his dreams Filled with silence, breeze, and dreaming
If I were a sloth I would ponder The nature of sloth and its wonder For days on end I'd be yonder Curled in the branches Bracing my back on bended twigs and leaves ah me
Sloths ponder questions - Organinze thoughts But what they've learned They tell us nots.
Totally inspired, Pete.
a sea sloth in a bath of brine remains afloet, for much of its time it spends on top of the bright blue sea or in teasing the innocent manatee
the manatee is a friend of the whale a pudgy fellow with a flippery tail when the manatee becomes quite roth he sends the whale to talk to the sloth
Gray whales swim five thousand miles and more from the Bering sea to the Baja shore In the southern sea they make new whales then swim back north while telling their tales The sea sloth is more of a homebody as is the fat and happy manatee
Hurray for the sloth-singers,
I admire your poetic works they are warm like Sun
Petebest: I admire
poetic works they are joyful and abandoned like your Pants.
Not many know Of my same situation In a sea-storm Before civilization On the border of land With water all 'round I clung to my perch And rode out the sound The branches then waved The rain fell and lashed But I ne'er moved an inch To the tree I'm attached No humans were present And none passed away But thankful for tree trunks I'm still there today
the sloths live high in the trees on green stuff and lichens they feed as they please their fur isn't shiny it has little gloss their coats are green-covered with algae and moss
From George Edwards'
'Gleanings of natural history, exhibiting figures of quadrupeds, birds, insects, etc',
at the University of Wisconsin's
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture
A sweetly angled nose Three toes arranged The sloth's a mage So regal that you'da Thought he's a Bhudda Perhaps he is How strange
Good links, especially that second one,
There once lived some poor megatheria, Quite oblivious to all the hysteria. Leisurely chewing on bark, While Noah fashioned his ark The rainwater soon flooded their area. Dreaming sweetly of sunshine and daydreams; Leafy salads, and hammocks, and ice creams, The giant sloths missed the boat, But didn’t bother to float, Because Noah was too far upstream. As the bees flew by in the sky, They looked down on the sloths and cried, "Did you learned the moral? Don’t rest on your laurels!" And the sloths' unhurried reply: "We see no point in getting ahead. Why not enjoy life, instead? To quote John Maynard Keynes, 'The fact still remains... In the long run, my friends,we're all dead.'"
I do so love that this thread lives on.
beeswacky, you are too kind. thank you.
Heh. 'Tain't just me,
! Enjoy the bananas!
Sloths don't yodel They prefer these Windy leaf sounds of the windy leaf trees They listen unhurried And instrument-bound Enjoying the movments High over the ground
Sloth bears are
By humans, less refined Their trees are being cut down Their grounds are being mined If only humans learned To live by making way We'd all be fat and happy And sleep throughout the day
Sea sloths lived so long ago the sea's forgotten their agility they could over-and-under the ancient waves and loop-the-loop with alacrity. Cetacean fans then just stood on the shore and envied the sea sloths their
je ne sais quoi
. The indelible impressions sloths left on their minds made their arms turn to fins, while on their behinds their tails turned to flukes. And on top of their heads their nostrils appeared so now whales in seabeds can snooze through the night with no fear of drowning or falling down into sea-crevices yawning. This was not done overnight, it took long eons and eons, while there vanished from earth ground sloths, dragons, and fauns.
The New Year Sloth Is much quicker to surface There are many In the trees above us Bemused And BeeWildered The time shift abounding The netherworld Shifting somehow Upon a bough Now Beelated kudos await Happy New Year Today Is alive again
I see a sloth A sloth I see A waking dreamer Beside the sea From day to dream Like A to B The furry rhyme's Inside of me
Whales Have Their Own Syntax That Uses Sound Units To Build Phrases That Can Be Combined
we'll sing of the whale who sings under the sea serenading his girl with a deep melody in a voice that resounds so the echo rebounds there's sound hierarchy in what he sings to she
Shit, I just noticed the first link doesn't work anymore.
Here it is.
I wonder what sweet love songs the sea sloths sang to their mates once upon a time.
sweet, bold sloth-lady, come with me! we two will live adventurously since what we knew simply won't do we'll spurn savannah and the sea for a brave new world found up a tree
Arctic fossils mark move to land
Tiktaalik makes another gap
song of the pre-proto-archeaosloths we wallow in the shallows but we haven't any elbows and we haven't any digits we have to waggle our tails and whenever we have the fidgets we can't chew our fingernails no, it's not a great existence none of us now can swim a distance but some day we'll move upon the land for this is all a part of our pre-protoean master plan -- these finny stubs we're making do with are the very sort of handicap we must soon escheweth! so let's say goodbye to what's left of our necks and get rid of these stiff scales growing down our backs!
Embrace your inner fish.
The fish that hunts on land
Shows t' go ye, a fish out of water can do a lot more than folks thought he oughter.
A sloth wades In the shallows For munchy bits It allows Time parades Time follows And damned if we remember.
nice Petes! munchy bits lunchy bits now the sloths are crunchy bits
Hunched over the bough Of a brazil nut tree The sloth Aware Fears not destiny or wind And knows only all or Brazil nuts And sweet drooping days Above the grunt and growling floor Below
Why the Sloth Be the Model of Morality I am loathe to slander the sloth as he wanders he cannot philander and neither can she because by the time such a notion occurs before s/he can act on it down goes that tree
"...the second-most complete juvenile Megalonyx ever found..."
Happy second birthday to the sloth thread!
With your kind permission, a bit of link-ku:
Baby Ice Age Sloth extinct, furry, SUV-sized mammal The bones were found 10 feet away from the first adult bones Ribs are fragile smack-dab on the bottom of the creek When paired with the adult, the juvenile represents a one-of-a-kind find sloth digs and research can be found
'sloths are making a dreadful mistake! wherever we go, there's only heartache we should curl up and die in the bed of this lake' and thus to his mother the younger sloth spake
If it t'weren't for the foresight And bravery Of our little sloth big as an SUV There'd be nothing but sloths As far as we see
sloths once noted for daring and foresight have now retired to the tropic trees leaving the world only traces like these of former sloth glory and ancient sloth might nowadays they mind their slothly Ps and Qs knowing they have proven there's really no new news
there's no use telling a sloth to run that's a feat that won't be done for if and when ye are a sloth ye learn to be a philosophe once carried on a human shoulder ye know ye won't become much older
Gah! The url changed again!
Here it is
on the shores of a vanished Peruvian sea brine-dwelling sloths became extinct but not the manatee o if my tears fall now they'll inundate the poor sea-cow but can't summon vanished sloths again to go finning o'er that long-sunk plain ... ah,
! never would I have thought modern sloths could have a spat or keepers be so gender-blind as to neglect to peek at captive sloth-behinds and fail to note or seek ass-tonishing truths like that
Shark with webbed feet
Naughty bits, actually. Aka "claspers".
Tsk, tsk. That evolution is so
Dunno - multiple sexual appendages with digits could have a time and place.
Not complaining, mind.
So that's what a sloth-stroke looks like!
A wee quickie note On ye olde sloth-stroke: One arm then the other Moves sloths through the water Til they're tackled by ladies in boats
It's hard to keep swimmin' When pestered by women Who grab any fella that floats.
School of 30 fish 'walking' through neighbourhood shocks homeowners
Next in the news... pigs will fly.
Slothey T. Hoffman
Whales Had Legs, Wiggled Hips, Study Says
Wait, we evolved from sloths?
Wait, we evolved from skateboarders? Blasphemy! Yer going to hell!
Creationists brains never evolved past blobs of unquestioning protoplasm. Now, THAT I can believe.
Darwin's First Clues: He was inspired by fossils of armadillos and sloths.
Of course it makes sense that Darwin was moving toward the idea of evolution before he hit the islands. Very few theories are born isolated in time and space.
...and The Origin of Species continues to exert an extraordinary influence—though, unfortunately, not many people actually read it.
Time to remedy that right HERE and now!
The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online
Unfortunately, the above darwin-online.org.uk link is in
*shudders at the absolute horror of unreadability* Thanks, homunculus! I enjoyed this article immensely. Very well written.
His culinary experiences ... being part of his voracious tour of discovery...
This kind of care toward word choice, as well as the subtle humor in the article, always garners my admiration. Well, it's a rainy morning, and reading Darwin's theory trumps any other activity.
I'd rather be a sloth Than a prairie dog becauth My chatter'd not too crisp Cauth I chatter with a lisp And often I will pauth
petebest! I thought you'd all gone.
Holy cow! Ith's a petebetht!
petes!! *clings to petebest's leg*
*clenches shawl, extends trembling hand* Pete, is that you? Come to GramMa.
In Pictures: a new side to the sloths of Panama
Ancient fish had the genetic code for limbs and fingers long before they scrambled onto dry land
Anyone Who Says They Don’t Want a Hover Sloth is Lying
The Strange Symbiosis Between Sloths and Moths
Some Ancient Sloths Ventured Into the Ocean, Study Says
...bellies as a flotation device...
*sigh* I can relate.