Friday, March 27, 2015

Rerun Article: Riverville's Potential is Bunnyville!

The Invasion of the Bunnies! Dr. Elizabeth Sorkin (left) and Nigel Milligan (right) survey the extent of this "bunny migration"
Easter is approaching soon! Soon, people will be having Easter egg hunts and will be going to the mall to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Speaking of bunnies, we can’t seem to get them out of our minds here in Riverville, New York, especially with the latest incident last Saturday! Two of the first witnesses of what was about to happen were Mr. Nigel Milligan, CEO of Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.) and Dr. Elizabeth Sorkin, lead veterinarian at AAI. They were outside on a stroll through AAI. when suddenly the ground started to rumble (rumble). It shook (shook)! It trembled (trembled)! It shuddered (shuddered)! It shook (shook)! It . . . did I mention shook? “It was a normal day when my employee and friend Dr. Sorkin, decided to take a walk through the campus,” says Nigel. “Then all of a sudden, it felt like a tremor was approaching!” Dr. Sorkin was also surprised by the ground shaking so wildly. She is quoted for saying, “I really had no idea what it was that was approaching AAI. At first I thought it was an earthquake but that was until I saw what was coming over the horizon.” And what to the couple’s wondering eyes should appear . . . but a large cloud of dust and an army of bunnies my dear? Rabbits and hares by the thousands suddenly came stampeding over the hills and toward AAI! As the rabbits ran toward them they had to duck and cover as the rabbits came. They are now everywhere! Another witness, Mr. Fred Fish and his friend Dr. Dodo were also surprised by the appearance of the bunnies. “These bunnies are everywhere!” says Mr. Fish. “I almost feel like the Egyptians must have felt when Egypt became overrun with frogs when God used Moses to cast down the second plague! Except these creatures are much cuter than frogs. But they poop everywhere!” Within ten minutes, thousands of rabbits are hip-hopping across the campus, eating shrubs and other plants. The other animals and people living at AAI. dare not open their doors more than necessary! It’s a good thing most of the creatures and people living here didn’t plant gardens yet, because with these bunnies around, it would be no more! These bunnies are bothering even the largest of creatures. Rachael the female Tyrannosaurus rex, mother of three is very annoyed by this. “I have to be careful every time I step out the door to make sure no bunny rabbits sneak into the AAI. I’m telling you, I’d eat the bunnies if I could, but the thing is that there are so many of them, that if I started eating them, it wouldn’t make a dent in the population. Besides, they are so hard for a big predator like myself to catch.” But the question everyone has is why all these rabbits are here instead of deeper in the forest. Dr. Sorkin has a few theories as to why these rabbits have left the forest where they live and came here. “I have a few theories as to why the rabbits are here instead of in the forest. Lately, a few miles west of here, major deforestation has been happening at an alarming rate. Perhaps these rabbits are ‘refugees’, fleeing the destruction of their homes. We have to find another home for these rabbits before they eat our plant life down to nothing!” The rabbits were getting everywhere and really annoying, so Nigel, Dr. Sorkin, Mr. Fish and Dr. Dodo had a plan! “The plan we have designed,” says Nigel, “is to use the rabbit’s superb sense of smell to our advantage. We have machine here that will emit a smell into the air that the bunnies can’t resist. ‘What smell?’ you ask? Why, carrots, of course! As we all know bunnies can’t resist the smell of carrots if the scent is strong enough. We have been granted permission by the Wildlife Protection Unit of New York State to release these bunnies into one of the national parks where they’ve had a real lack of rabbits lately.” So they turned the machine on, put it on a special truck and started driving away from AAI. The rabbits couldn’t resist the smell and started to follow the truck right out of the AAI. area. Pretty soon the rabbits were led into the forests of the national park and AAI. was saved from complete “de-plantistation”! “I do love rabbits,” says Dr. Dodo. “But we already had enough here at AAI. before that mob came along. I don’t at all miss the smell those rabbits produced! Not one bit!” And with Dr. Dodo, I’d have to agree.

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

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Rerun Article: Age-Old Jellyfish Visits Animal Adventures Inc.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Caper in the Nighttime

“I'd like to know what happened to my carrot cake that was going to be for a party next week,” Lizzy announces, turning toward Jack the Jackrabbit.
“Oh sure, blame it on the rabbit!” Jake exclaims. “I don't even like carrots.”
“Well, who else ate my cake?” Lizzy asks.
Jake shrugs.
“You're very helpful,” she mutters.
“You're welcome,” He accepts.
Lizzy sighs and heads over to Mr. Smiley's office.
“Hey Mr. Smiley, do you know what happened to my carrot cake? I left it in the fridge last night and..what are you doing?” she yells.
Mr. Smiley is standing dangerously on a his tiptoes on top of a chair while trying to fix the light bulb on the ceiling light. Then the chair tips and Mr. Smiley comes crashing down, light bulb with it.
“Um...are you all right?” Lizzy asks.
“I'm fine...I was uh, just fixing the light. It was driving me crazy, all that flickering,” Mr. Smiley states.
“You could have just used the ladder,” Lizzy points out.
“Yeah well, I would've, but I couldn't find it,” he answers.
“It's usually in the closet,” she suggests. “Did you check the kitchen?”
Mr. Smiley nods his head.
“I looked everywhere and finally I just gave up,” He informs.
“That's weird,” Lizzy remarks. “Well, I need to go find my cake but if I see the ladder, I'll put it back where it belongs.”
“Thanks,” Mr. Smiley says, trying to clean up the broken glass.
Lizzy heads over to the kitchen. Maybe Chef Rack-coon moved it somewhere safe. As she arrives in the kitchen, Lizzy finds the place a mess and Chef Rack-coon is looking through a cabinet.
“Hey have you seen my carrot cake?” Lizzy asks. “You know with the yellow and white icing?”
Chef Rack-coon gets out from under the counter.
“You mean the cake that was left in the fridge last night?” he repeats.
“Yeah!” Lizzy exclaims.
“Never saw it this morning,” he recalls. “It wasn't wrapped properly so I did that so it would stay fresh overnight.”
“Oh, so you haven't seen it since?” Lizzy states.
“Nope, sorry,” Chef Rack-coon reconciles, “I would help you look but I've got other problems.”
“Like what?” Lizzy asks.
“I can't seem to find my favorite rolling pin. I must have misplaced it but I could've sworn I put it back where it belongs.”
“By the way, have you asked Jack about your carrot cake?” Chef Rack-coon inquires, “maybe he ate it.”
“Why is everyone accusing me!” yells a voice in another room. “I HATE CARROTS!!!”

Where could Lizzy's carrot cake be? What happened to the ladder and Chef Rack-coon's favorite rolling pin? Who took them and why? Jack!

It isn't me!” Jack wails.

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

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Rerun Article: Riverville's Potential is Bunnyville!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rerun Article: A Dinosaurian Misidentification

On the outside, a baby hadrosaur (left) and baby T. rex (right) don't look that similar, but  when only fossil bone fragments are discovered, misidentifications are common.
You may recall that a few months ago on the Tricera-Clash article, we spoke of the find of five Tyrannosaurus, two adults and three young ones, in one location and a Triceratops. But recent studies prove differently. My photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I went to Dr. Samuel and Dr. Indiana Adamson (the paleontologists who initially made the discovery) to get the full scoop on the story. “Last year, we thought we had five tyrannosaurs,” says Dr. Samuel. “But this was put in question when we took a closer look at the fossils of the baby tyrannosaurs. When we first dug them up from the ground, they were still encased in solid rock . . . here at the lab we cleaned that rock off using special equipment and finally we are thinking that things were not at all what they seemed.” After taking the rock off of the “baby tyrannosaur” specimens, the paleontologists looked at the creatures’ heads and noticed something – a duckbill! Tyrannosaurs don’t have duckbills. “When we saw the duckbills, we knew that we had been wrong before,” says Dr. Indiana. “Once we took an even closer look at the skeleton, we realized that indeed the whole body is quite different from a tyrannosaur. No, the fossils we have are from a trio of baby hadrosaurs!” Baby hadrosaurs, or duckbilled dinosaurs, are very different from tyrannosaurs, as you can plainly see in the picture above. Dr. Indiana continued, “The fossil adult T. rex however, are really T. rex. So at least we have that straight. This is not the first fossil mistake paleontologists have made. In fact, the history of paleontology is littered with mistakes!” And right Dr. Indiana is! The history of paleontology is littered with dinosaur mistakes and misidentifications. Here are a few examples:
  • Brontosaurus, one of the most famous of all dinosaurs, never existed; it was actually made up of the head of a camarasaur and the body of an apatosaur. While both are long-necked dinosaurs, they are very different.
  • A duckbilled dinosaur called Anatotitan never existed either, it is actually a member of the Edmontosaur genus.
  • A pterosaur (or flying reptile, which is not a dinosaur by the way) leg bone was thought to have been found in the Middle east. If it was a leg bone, this pterosaur might have had a wingspan of over 70 feet! However the “leg bone” was discovered to be, not from a pterosaur, but it was actually a petrified tree trunk!
  • One of the most shocking of all is when a paleontologist put the fossil bones of a swimming reptile called Elasmosaurus (not a dinosaur) and thought that it had a short neck and a very long tail. Well, he thought the bones were an “irregular fit” so he had one of his friends expect the fossils and he found the problem – the head was on the wrong end!
One of the most recent possible misidentifications is that of another tyrannosaur named “Jane”. Jane is a tyrannosaur, but scientists aren’t sure which type. She looks very different from an adult T. rex so originally she was thought to be a different species and called the new species “Nanotyrannus”. Now this has been put in question and some scientists now believe that “Nanotyrannus” is actually a juvenile T. rex. Other scientists disagree because they believe that “Nanotyrannus” has too many differences from T. rex to be a juvenile T. rex because there were more differences than is expected for a maturing tyrannosaur. So far, only two specimens of “Nanotyrannus” have been found. Until more bones are found, Jane’s fossils will still elude us!

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

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Next Issue: The Caper in the Nighttime

Friday, March 6, 2015

New Semi-Aquatic Spinosaur Unveiled At Animal Adventures Institute

Right when we thought that we wouldn't see another dinosaur from Dr. Steve Stevenson's Animal Adventures Institute (AAI) until next winter, he unveils yet another! This time, a large theropod called Suchomimus. Hearing the news of Dr. Steve's newest genetically engineered dinosaur, my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I went to Dr. Steve's laboratory to get a look at the new creature.

“The reason we didn't unveil this beauty before,” says Dr. Steve, “is because we were thought its egg was a dud. However, instead of giving up on it, we decided to keep it in the incubator and low and assistant Oliver Oviraptor found the problem.” Dr. Steve went on to explain that Oliver had turned the temperature too low for too long, explaining why it wasn't hatching. “What can I say?” Oliver asked. “How was I supposed to know it was too low.”

Without further ado, I decided to ask just what Suchomimus was. Oliver is quoted for saying, “The 36-foot long, five-ton Suchomimus tenerensis was a member of the spinosaur family. It lived in northern Africa up until 4,350 years ago, when the great Genesis Flood destroyed the pre-Flood world as man and animal at the time knew it.”

I found out that day that Suchomimus spends a lot of time in and around the water. It was perfectly designed for a semi-aquatic lifestyle (though not to the extent of the short-legged Spinosaurus, Suchomimus' close cousin). Its eyes and nostrils are located high on the skull, just like a crocodile's. In addition to this, it also has a crocodile-like jaw able to snatch its favorite prey – fish – from the water. To help it catch fish, it also had sharp claws and strong forearms. “The fish that Suchomimus preyed upon,” Dr. Steve said, “were very different from the ones found in that region today. Actually, the entire ecosystem was different back then! In the pre-Flood world, northern Africa was a swampland, filled with boggy plants. The area was inhabited by herbivorous dinosaurs, like the sail-backed ornithopod Ouranosaurus. Pterosaurs and large crocodiles, like the 40-foot Sarcosuchus also lived there. Suchomimus probably preyed upon large fish such as the Coelocanth, which can still be found in the Indian Ocean today.”

But one of the coolest features of Suchomimus was the ridge down its back and tail. It is used for display purposes.

Suchomimus – the awesome semi-aquatic fish-eater – will be living in the Spinosaurus apartment room. I'm glad Dr. Steve has brought back another species from extinction.

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

Weekly Cartoons

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