Creationism makes me grumpy, but of course, when your major niche is small cute animals, it can be hard to channel that usefully. Like all my political/social/ethical leanings, it’s occasionally hard to express certain things in my particular genre–it’s hard to write a scathing, moving tract on the neccessity of abortion rights featuring primarily angry hamsters. (I’d like to think I could still do it, mind you–I mean, Maus managed–but in my more realistic moments…I have my doubts.)
However, I figure you can never go wrong with a cute, cuddly Ambulocetus. The “walking whale,” Ambulocetus is one of those fabulous transitional forms that make evolutionary biologists dance with wild abandon, a whale with feet. It’s got very distinctively whale traits, largely in the teeth and the ear bones, a whale head (sans blowhole) but a body more closely resembling a sea lion or very large sea otter. It probably walked like a sea lion, since it had a very flexible spine but not very flexible hind feet, terminating in hooves–the kind of gallumphing spine-swinging gait that looks so silly and covers such amazing distances when one’s chasing tourists along the Oregon Coast. (This is not, I hasten to add, a scientific illustration–the spots are probably right out–and should be taken as the same pudgy-cuddly-rounded version that, say, my hamsters are.)
The dodo, who is almost certainly going “LA LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” was not a contemporary of Ambulocetus, but people who’ve been following my art for awhile might be having some sneaking suspicions about the symbolism of dodos, and could probably hazard a guess as to why a dodo would be havin’ issues with the existence of this cuddly little walking whale.
The more people know about Ambulocetus, the better a world it is, damnit.
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