It was a lazy, summer day on The Red Channel Marker in July of 2011. The overcast, afternoon sunshine dissolved into evening quiet. Ozzie dispassionately starred at the tide’s woeful withdrawal, as the day gave way to moon time. Stars would soon appear.
“What’s the matter”? Asked Harriett.
Expressionlessly, Ozzie turned his head, blinked his transparent nictitating membrane, constricted his pupils and binocularly brought Harriett into focus.
“You have been quiet all night”, Harriett continued, “Is something wrong”?
“Wrong”? Questioned Ozzie. “What is “wrong”; or what is “right”?
Harriett recognized his mood. “You tell me, Ozzie”, she quipped laconically, knowing she would get an elaborate response.
“As a matter of fact, yes. There is something wrong”!
“You sound angry, Ozzie”.
“So I am! Am I so! Yes or No! Come or Go! Let me know! Friend or Foe!”
“Good grief, Ozzie. Have you had a bad day”? “What on earth is bothering you”?
Glancing up at Ozzie’s expression, she paused for a moment and began to speak again. But Ozzie interrupted her.
“It’s defamation of our good name!”
Harriett slipped into her female soul mate mode.
“Our name”? She cooed sweetly. “Tell me what’s bothering you, honey”,
“It’s Hollywood”! Ozzie retorted with disgust dripping from his beak.
“Who is Hollywood’? Harriett inquired innocently.
It’s not a “Who”! Snapped Ozzie. “It’s a “Thing”! A pernicious thing. Most birds think of it as a place in Los Angeles, California; the center of the American motion-picture industry. But in reality it is a worrisome, potentially dangerous “Thing”, spreading misinformation and fictitious, inaccurate depictions of truth on earth!”
“Those are pretty strong words, Ozzie”.
“We Raptors played a big part in that Hollywood movie called Jurassic Park. The velociraptors portrayed in that movie are nothing like our real ancestors. The movie portrayed us five or six times our normal size, with large doom shaped heads and covered with green nasty scales. For goodness sake, one would have thought we were some kind of low life reptile looking for a handout; and not a single feather to be seen!
“Don’t you see”? Implored Ozzie. “Hollywood has unleashed an unalterable character defamation of our ancestors. What can I do? I feel so helpless. If only we knew a legal eagle, perhaps we could make things right!
Harriett responded calmly. “If we are to live, we must be free of anger. Anger is the dubious luxury of lesser birds, but for us it is poison.”
“Where did she get that”? Thought Ozzie, but he continued to tell his osprey tale.
“The Raptors are a proud family, and subfamily too. I just can’t stand the word thinking we were like those Deinonychus.
“Don’t be upset”, Harriett tried to reassure. “I know a way to correct this misinformation”
“Tell me the story; the whole story. Don’t leave anything out. Make sure your facts are correct. Tell me the truth, accurately and in entirety. Be specific Give me the facts and I’ll let you know tonight”, replied Harriett with a smile.
Ozzie cocked his head to the side and looked down at the nest. He repositioned his talons, took a deep breath, organized his thoughts, and began:
Homer V. Raptor was a mid-sized Dromaeosaurid, measuring 7 ft long, 2 ft high and weighing 45 lbs. He was much bigger that the average Veliciraptor. His skull was up-curved with widely spaced teeth, strongly serrated on the back edge for shredding flesh and crushing bone. Along with his second digit, for which Velociraptor is most famous, Homer could slaughter the most indomitable prey.
Homer was fearless and terrifying in a fight. He was considered a hero among the Velicoraptors of the region, for once he rescued a velicorapor chick from jaws of a dimwitted Deinonychus, whom he left blinded in one eye. Homer was quick and speedy. To catch him on an open plain was impossible. Homer was smart too. It was said he had an IQ of 146. If you think I am making this up, just consult the EQ intelligence data in the appendage.
His feathers were more pronounced than most. Not only did he have more, but they were much larger and colorful, especially on his arms.
Homer Veloci Raptor
What’s in a Surname?
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a “family name “. In the western hemisphere, it is commonly synonymous with “last name”, since it is usually placed at the end of a person’s given name.
“What does my surname mean?” If you have ever asked this question and wondered about the origin of your last name, you will find your surname may answer some of the questions of where your ancestors lived, or what they did for a living, or what was their personality like, or how they looked many hundreds or millions of years ago.
Ozzie is very proud of his surname “Raptor”. It is by far the oldest surname on planet earth. Smith, Johnson, Jones, Wang, Li, Kim, Chan, Wong, Rodriguez and every other surname combined, hardly exist compared to Raptor.
“First of all”, Ozzie cleared his throat.
“That wasn’t really a Velociraptor in Jurassic Park”.
The sad fact is, Velociraptor’s claim to pop-culture fame is based on a lie: the movie’s special-effects wizards have long since confessed that they modeled their Velociraptor after the much bigger (and much more dangerous-looking) raptor Deinonychus, whose name isn’t quite as catchy or easy to pronounce.
“For the world to think that we descended from Deinonychus; an overgrown, pin brained, mentally defective, irrelevant, revolting, underachieving loser, that smelled, had bad breath, scales, perverted brainstem function, psychotic anti-social personality disorder and the lack of ability to even evolve successfully, is a horrible embarrassment”! Ozzie affirmed.
“Let me just tell you a few facts about our ancestors, The Raptors”, he said. “We are a proud family and our subfamily Velociraptorinae”.
Facts about Velociraptors
The name Velociraptor means ‘swift seizer’ or “speedy thief.
Velociraptor was a fast-running, two-legged (bipedal) dinosaur. This meat-eater had about 80 very sharp, curved teeth in a long, flat snout; some of the teeth were over an inch long. This predator had an s-shaped neck, arms with three-fingered clawed hands, long thin legs, and four-toed clawed feet.
Velociraptor had a sharp, deadly, sickle-shaped, retractable, 3.5 inch long claw on each foot (located on each second toe).
A 3.5 inch long, sickle-like, retractable claw was on the middle toe of each foot. This claw was its main weapon, and could kill its prey easily.
Velociraptor ran with its sickle-shaped toes pointed back, ready to tear apart any prey it got hold of. Pointing the toe back kept it from dulling on the ground so it stayed nice and sharp!
Velociraptor were able to run up to roughly 40 mph for short bursts.
Velociraptor was a carnivore, a meat eater. It probably ate just about anything it could catch, slash and tear apart. It ate Protoceratops (one was found fossilized with Velociraptor in a battle to the death) and other plant-eaters, like the duck-billed platypus.
Velociraptor’s brain was relatively large in comparison to its body size (this is true for all the Dromaeosaurid dinosaurs, who were the most intelligent dinosaurs).
See the EQ – Encephalization Quotient Chart if you think I am making this up.
Velociraptor lived in a hot, dry environment – a desert-like environment that had some streams.
A Day in Mongolia
At 10:35, Tuesday morning, 76 million years ago, my great, great, great………………………..great grandfather, Homer Velico Raptor, had just finished his morning meal of Sturgeon, and part of a Duck bill. He shared it with is brother, Malcomb. They dined on the south bank of the Yenisei River in central Mongolia. He was satisfied and started walking towards a grassy oasis, looking for a place to nap for the day. His brother, Malcomb, headed north along the Yenisei River and was never seen again.
It was a hot day in central Mongolia. The air was dry; the sun overwhelmed the landscape with a surplus of photons, UV radiation, and high frequency microwaves. The scrub grass was complaining, saying the conditions we unfair.
A small group of Tree Fern near the river bank reached up 65 feet and provided shade to which Homer was drawn. He had napped there before and found it peaceful. Further up the river was a dense forest of Agathis Conifer, the giant trees of the Jurassic period that grew to heights of 150 ft. All was quiet this fateful morning.
At noon that Tuesday morning, from the Agathis Conifer forest swaggered a teenaged T. Rex with and attitude. He must have had a prehistoric insect in the opening of lower alimentary canal, as he was extremely irritable. Perhaps his girlfriend had had a headache last night. What ever the reason, this T. Rex was ill tempered and looking for a fight.
Some dinosaurs are especially deadly, sporting huge teeth, sharp claws, massive size and bad attitudes. Tyrannosaurus Rex is the king. He is your worst nightmare, more fierce and scarier than drifting, falling, running, screaming without sound, and eternal torment; bound to a rock where each day eagles feed on your liver, which grows back to be eaten again and again and again; turning fear into fright; fright into terror; terror into panic. T. Rex is a fully functional killing machine, with its five – to eight – ton bulk, huge head studded with razor sharp teeth and the worst attitude since Lucifer got kicked out of Heaven.
Grandfather Homer recognized the dire situation in which he found himself. Being smart enough to run, and being fleet of foot, Homer shot off at 40 mph towards the rocky heights behind the low lying ferns, horse tails, cypress and cycads.
T. Rex followed in outraged pursuit.
Homer began to tire.
T. Rex did not.
And they climbed higher.
Homer ran like a chicken on Adderall®, Ritalin and Concerta. He felt his chest expand beyond capacity and collapse in agony. Foot steps behind him were faint, then near. He stole a look behind. The big #%&!! Was still coming. Cold blood, fetid scales, putrid breath, reptilian brain coming at him with no consideration of “why?”
“Where’s my luck when I need it”? Thought Homer.
Homer was getting funneled into a canyon with less and less space to maneuver. T. Rex looked sick like he had rabies or something. Brown and white foam flew from his mouth.
“I can’t turn and fight this devil.”
He continued to run, the only place he could; straight up the canyon.
Homer’s luck got worse. The canyon walls continued to narrow until they opened up to The Flaming Cliffs of Mongolia.
The Flaming Cliffs is a region of the Gobi Desert in the Ömnögovi Province of Mongolia, in which important fossil finds have been made. It was given this name by American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, who visited in the 1920s. The area is most famous for yielding the first discovery of Velociraptor.
Homer had no choice. With his back to the cliff, it was either jump or be eaten by this most despicable teenage T. Rex.
So he jumped.
Homer spread his feathered arms. With arms outstretched, eyes closed, he prepared to die………….
But die he did not.
An invisible, up lifting, benevolence caught Homer beneath his feathered arms. It was warm. It was compassionate. It was life saving righteousness, whose time had come.
Homer was flying! Or, more accurately gliding.
“The wind rushed over my beak and into my eyes, I had to squint against the sunlight pouring through the clouds. The air lifted my arms. My feathers caressed it and the warm air lifted me higher. Suddenly, I panicked; thought I was in a dream and would instantly smash upon the rocks. I looked down only to realize I was still moving upwards. Then I went blind. All I could see was white. Suddenly I emerged, and could see the beautiful blue sky again. Looking behind me, I laughed, realizing I had glided through a cloud. I flapped at my arms. Clear droplets of water sparkled like tiny crystals on my feathers tips, and then fell off with tears of happiness.
Raptor’s first flight
“That’s a good story”, said Harriett
“You said you can help, Harriett. How can you possibly let the truth be known”?
“I’ll take care of it, Ozzie’. Go on the sleep now, my proud Raptor.”
Ozzie fell asleep that night feeling protected.
9:32 EST, Wednesday, July 10, 2011.
“Why isn’t The Doctor answering my call’? Thought Harriett. “Maybe he’s out drinking or playing bridge, or maybe he just has his brain turned off or his battery is dead”.
To be continued………….