These are things I’ve learned about recently, so I thought I’d kick some knowledge in your direction. Drink deep everybody. It’s Friday.
So it turns out the Brontosaurus never existed.
Did I just blow your mind?
Yep, Kumail and I were watching an X-Files episode last night about a Loch Ness monsterish thing when Kumail started wondering how long dinosaurs lived in general. He started looking up more and more stuff about dinosaurs until he came to this amazing story about the brontosaurus- The Bone Wars. (By the way, the answer is about 25 years)
The Bone Wars was basically a huge rivalry between palenontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. Cope and Marsh were old friends- they even named species after each other! In 1870, Marsh humiliated Cope by pointing out his reconstruction of an Elasmosaurus was flawed, with the head placed where the tail should have been. Cope, in turn, began collecting in what Marsh considered his private bone-hunting turf in the Bridger Basin of southwestern Wyoming. By 1872, they hated each other, and were both trying to rush around digging up and identifying fossils in Wyoming. Both scientists got down and dirty in the race, resorting to bribery and fossil destruction. Both of them were ruined financially by the battle. They discovered 142 new species of dinosaur with their hatred… or maybe just 141.
In 1877, Marsh found a small dinosaur skeleton and named it Apatosaurus ajax. Good for him! But two years later, he found a big skeleton and called it Brontosaurus excelsus. The problem? The big skeleton was just an adult version of the small skeleton he found, and since he found the baby Apatosaurus first, the Brontosaurus had to change its name. In his rush for fame and glory, he found the same dinosaur twice! All this came out in 1903, when yet another guy released a scathing paper on how the two dinosaurs were the same, but the paper was released AFTER a huge fucking dinosaur skeleton was unveiled and called Brontosaurus, and the name stuck.
Who won the Bone Wars? The Brontosaurus, clearly. It’s like when Prince tried to change his name to that symbol and everyone just called him The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.
Now onto my obsession with cats that have something wrong with them, which Jared and Pete seem to think is a problem. Every Wednesday and Thursday, when I work out of the Manhattan office, I go and visit cats up for adoption at the local PetCo. One day I saw one with a sign on it that said “I have Wobbly Bobbly Syndrome, but I’m very healthy!” The cat inside was rocking back and forth, and weaving drunkenly when it walked around. I was intrigued.
Wobby Bobbly Syndrome is actually cerebellar hypoplasia, and it’s a disorder found in cats where the cerebellum is not completely mature at birth. The symptoms are seen as soon as the kitten is born, and basically they have jerky movements, tremors and big time clumsiness. They fall down a lot and hasve trouble walking. The tremors increase when they’re excited and subside when they’re calm. It can be caused by malnutrition, a bacterial infection, and poisioning- but who would poison a kitten?
My favorite thing about Wobbly Bobbly cats is that while their symptoms don’t get any better with time, the cats learn to adapt and compensate for it and usually have a normal lifespan. They go from seeming drunk all the time to just being a bit clumsy.
This is Gordon. He has Wobbly Bobbly Syndrome, and as you can see, he goes from being a very drunken kitten to a kinda weirdo adult cat, running sideways and bumping into things. God, they’re little fighters, huh?
And finally, this blisteringly sad interview with Amy Winehouse in the new Rolling Stone. I think they do a good job of capturing what it’s like to hang out with someone with an active crack addiction, as you are left feeling bummed out and confused and slightly dirty once you finish reading it.