Friday, January 20, 2012


In 1924, Roy Chapman Andrews discovered a huge skull (which was twice the size of a modern Lion) of a predatory Mammal.  In constructing the animal from the skull, paleontologists came up with their claim that this Beast was the largest of Mammal Predators that have ever lived on the land (even larger that modern Polar Bear).  In honor of the discoverer, this Beast was named “Andrewsarchus”.
            The only evidence of the existence of Andrewsarchus is this one skull.  From that skull, scientists extrapolated this species to be a giant-wolf-like Animal.  Andrewsarchus from the Eocene epoch (60 to 37 million years ago) was a carnivore before the order of Carnivora came into being.  A member of the extinct order of Mesonyx, Andrewsarchus was a part of a group of carnivorous hoofed Animals, and possibly related to Pigs and Rhinos and perhaps Whales.
            Although He was sort of a predatory Pig, Andrewsarchus resembled a cross between a Wolf and a Hyena.  His jaws were so strong that Andrewsarchus could easily crush animal bones and turtle shells.  Scavenging for dead and dying animals, He preferred living near the water.
            However having only a skull to base an entire species on poses many questions.  Where does Andrewsarchus fit in the Mammal Family tree?  Is He really a Mesonychid of the Paleocene or a close Cousin?  Is He a full relative to Pigs, Horses, and extinct Litopterns?  No one really knows fully.  They can only guess at what Andrewsarchus was actually like.
            What comes out of this fog of questions is a wolf-like Predator with hooves, who is a Pig but not a Pig.  All that we do know about Andrewsarchus is that He had a large head and monstrous teeth.  In other words, He was scary.  Whatever He was, Andrewsarchus was also freakishly weird by our standards.
            Andrewsarchus invites us to enter the void, and go beyond our notions of certainty.  Once in the void, we find ourselves questioning everything that we know.  Living between guesses and assumptions, we ponder the grey areas of truth and fantasy.  However when we need leave, we must make sure that Andrewsarchus leads us back out. 

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