Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Barnyard of Old New Critters (BONC) #1

Mmm, that Thanksgiving dinner was good. I'm just waking up from it.

Hey, there are still two days left of free shipping from Charlie's Playhouse. I can't compete with Wal-Mart's 105% discounts on everything, but there you have it.

Here's the first installment of a series I'll call BONC, or the Barnyard of Old New Critters, which highlights oddball creatures from the fossil record. Why "old" and "new?" They're old because they lived millions of years ago, and they're new because scientists just dug them up recently and nobody's heard of them yet. Why "barnyard?" Because "museum" and "gallery" were too stuffy. We need to round up our kids and get into the barnyard with these creatures, pet 'em, feed 'em, name 'em, and befriend 'em. Whenever there's a new BONC, wake the kids!

BONC #1: A half-naked turtle

Which came first, the turtle's top shell or its bottom shell? Well, we just found out. A new turtle fossil -- with a name too difficult to pronounce so let's not even bother -- shows that the bottom shell came first. This critter lived in water and evolved its bottom shell to protect against attacks from meanies swimming below it. It wasn't until millions of years later when it moved onto land that it needed a top shell to protect against meanies tromping or flying above it.

Think of a turtle that lives on land today. It's got a big old hard shell on top to protect against predators. That makes sense. But it's got that other one on the bottom. Why? How on earth would it be attacked from below? Hawks who sit in holes and wait for a turtle to crawl over it? A really really tiny tiny fox? No, this is ridiculous. That bottom shell is just a leftover from millions of years ago when it lived in water. Cool.

Next time you see a turtle, ask your friends which came first, the top or the bottom!

See an artist's drawing and read more more about this BONC creature here.


  1. You can't compete with the Walmart discount, but I am also virtually guaranteed not to get trampled by your blog.

    Thanks for the New Old Critters update. I have my staff preparing to lobby for me to be BONC #14.

    Hooray for Charlie's Playhouse!

  2. LOVE your BONC series!

    My kiddos love anything to do with animals -- making it about prehistoric animals just makes it even better as far as they're concerned!!!

    We'll be heading to the library tomorrow (we're homeschoolers) to check out some books about turtles (& anything we can find about preshitoric ones as well)!!