Thursday, December 6, 2012

The New Swimmers (and Squawkers)

Tyler Tylosaurus (top), Leo Liopleurodon (middle) and Dr. Dodo (bottom) are three of Dr. Steve's latest cloned creatures.

Ever since the 1980’s, there has always been a lot of talk about cloning dinosaurs, creatures that haven’t seen the light of day for thousands of years. Yet, only a few companies, such as InGen, a.k.a. International Genetic Technologies, Zoo Tycoon Inc. and of course Animal Adventures Institute, or AAI (the section of the famed Animal Adventures Inc. that studies animals). Even still, out of these few companies, only a “few” species of extinct creatures have been cloned. Why? Well of course you need DNA to clone any type of creature. Most of these cloned creatures have been dinosaurs, but the head scientists at AAI, Dr. Steve Stevenson recently received the fossils from the latest fossil dig of Dr. Samuel and Indiana Adamson PhD and what they brought back aren’t dinosaurs! They are mostly marine reptiles! (Yes, Dr. Steve is still working on the extinct creatures he mentioned in a previous issue of Smiley’s News, but these are the animals he was working on before the animals he mentioned last week, so the ones in today's newspaper were cloned first) “Finally, something other than dinosaurs,” says Dr. Steve, “I was so excited when the latest shipment of fossils came in. Now we can see what I can get out of these bones this time!” A few months after the fossils came in, new creatures were born. The new creatures are Tylosaurus proriger (named Tyler), and Liopleurodon ferox (named Leo). These two creatures are not dinosaurs, but swimming reptiles. Dr. Steve also was able to clone something else from DNA found in the “Fossil Storage”. He explains, “We have an extensive fossil storage out back. The amount of fossils back there has built up over time due to the past digs of my two paleontologists and their team. So we have some pretty neat stuff back there!” And what else should Dr. Steve clone, but one of the most famous of all extinct animals – Raphus cucullatus, aka the Dodo Bird! Yep, now a living breathing Dodo Bird is back from the brink and living at AAI (but more about Dodo Birds later). To find out more about marine reptiles, my trusty junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I went to interview the creatures themselves. When asked what exactly she is, Tyler is quoted to saying, “I’m a Tylosaurus proriger, not a dinosaur as some people would like to think, but instead, I’m actually a mosasaur, a type of lizard God created to dwell in the ocean.” Yes, you read right! Tyler is a lizard, and a big one at that. When asked about her size, she responded, “Well, I’m a full 50 feet long from nose to tail, and I weigh approximately 10 tons in weight.” I then asked her about some of the “adaptations” God gave her to help her live in the water, as most lizards are land dwellers. “First of all,” she started, “God gave us paddle-like flippers and a shark-like tail to help us propel through the water. I can hold my breath for over an hour if need be. Mosasaurs don’t only come in big packages however, one of my cousins only grew about three feet long and was semi-aquatic. You also may have noticed my jaws and teeth are perfect for chomping down whatever I wrap my teeth around. We were predators back in the day. My kind literally ate anything that moved, even Jaws would have steered away from me! If you were to look in my mouth, you’d see that I have two sets of teeth that I can move independently of each other. And my teeth point backwards, so when I hold onto something, there’s only one way to escape – down the gullet!” We also had a brief interview with Leo the Liopleurodon. When asked if he was related to Tyler, he says, “No, I’m not a mosasaur, I’m a pliosaur. There is a difference. We use our flippers for propulsion, as mosasaurs use their tails.” He also went on to say, “You might also be interested to know that I’m a full 49.5 feet long and I weigh 10 tons as well. Yet, I'm still not yet fully grown. My jaws are ten feet long and full of sharp teeth, as you can see.” And what big teeth Leo has! They are almost a foot long, and that’s not including the root! Leo also says, “We’ve also a fine sense of smell to track down our prey, which in the wild, would consist of big fish, sharks, dolphin-like reptiles called Ichthyosaurs (of course, here at the institute, he doesn’t eat those things), and . . . well, pretty much anything that moved. I especially like squid (this he can eat at the institute).” Now earlier, I did mention Dr. Steve cloned a Dodo Bird, so naturally, my photographer and I went to interview him as well. (He prefers to be called “Dr. Dodo” by the way). He is quoted to saying, “We Dodos don’t have a very good reputation, I mean, almost as soon as humans found the one and only island we live on, they exterminated us! Ever since, we’ve been pictured as fat, clumsy, dumb birds. But this is not true! People seem to assume this because they drove us to extinction. It was their own fault we went extinct anyway. This isn’t very fair anyway! Consider the Bald Eagle, humans almost drove them to extinction and do they call the Bald Eagle dumb? Nope! Not at all! But now that we Dodos are back from the brink, we have a chance to fix our reputation.” When asked how he plans to do that, he responded, “First, we definitely must show our dignity, ‘always dignity’, as my good friend Dr. Dreyfuss always says. Maybe if I learn Tae Kwon Do-do that will help impress some people too.” So Dr. Steve has been busy, busy, busy cloning new (and quite astute, I might add) creatures back from the brink of extinction. In a few weeks, things at the institute will eventually calm down . . . until Dr. Steve’s next batch of extinct creatures is cloned of course!

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographed by: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan


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