Fossils shed light on bizarre reptile. A crocodile-sized creature that lived 242 million years ago was the first known vegetarian marine reptile, according to new fossil evidence.
Two specimens unearthed in China reveal details of the animal’s skull and how it fed.
Named Atopodentatus, scientists say its hammer-shaped skull helped it to feed on underwater plants.
Only a handful of marine reptiles, living or extinct, are known to be herbivores.
Dr Nick Fraser of National Museums Scotland, who worked on the fossil, said it belongs in the pages of a children’s storybook by Dr Seuss, which depicts animals with a strange jumble of features.
The reptile was “a bizarre, bizarre animal”, he explained.
“We envisage it scraping algae and the like off rocks underwater.
“Herbivorous marine reptiles are very rare – this is the oldest record that we know of.”
The first fossils of the creature were discovered a few years ago.
It was named Atopodentatus unicus, which is Latin for “unique strangely toothed”.
A reconstruction of the animal’s head
New fossils unearthed in China’s Yunnan Province by Chun Li of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing give a detailed picture of the animal’s skull.
The discoveries, unveiled in the journal, Science Advances, show that rather than having a zipper-like snout as previously thought, the animal had a wide hammer-headed jaw filled with peg-like front teeth.
Scientists used clay to make a model of the jaw to work out how the animal fed.
“To figure out how the jaw fit together and how the animal actually fed, we bought some children’s clay, kind of like Play-Doh, and rebuilt it with toothpicks to represent the teeth,” said co-researcher Olivier Rieppel of the Field Museum in Chicago.
“We looked at how the upper and lower jaw locked together, and that’s how we proceeded and described it.”
He said Atopodentatus also helps tell a bigger story about the world’s largest mass extinction 252 million years ago.
It lived at a time when the Earth was recovering from the loss of 90% of all marine mammals.
“The existence of specialised animals like Atopodentatus unicus shows us that life recovered and diversified more quickly than previously thought,” he said.
“And it’s definitely a reptile that no one would have thought to exist – look at it, it’s crazy!”
What you can make with clay and toothpicks
Other bizarre sea and river monsters
There are still many strange creatures lurking in the waters around the world. From the Monster of Lake Van in Turkey to the various unidentified creatures that live off the west of of Britain, the Golden Gate San Fransisco Bay monster to the Altamaha-ha river monster of Georgia in the USA.
Here’s a video from Animal X Natural Mystery Unit that looks at sea and river monsters.
just a few of the dogs destined for the dinner plate
For the Yulin dog meat festival, dogs are stolen from their owners, then beaten or bled to death. They’re hung upside down from hooks, a slit cut from their anus and skin ripped off their bodies, then sold to be eaten.
The suffering must be unbearable — new research shows that in terms of emotion, dogs’ brains are much like ours, something dog owners and lovers understand well. When we see dogs for what they are — living beings with thoughts and feelings — the torture they endure at this ‘festival’ becomes inexcusable.
these poor, terrified dogs
Thousands of Chinese citizens have protested the festival, but authorities won’t act until they see how badly it’s hurting China’s global image, which they’ve been working hard to improve. That’s where we come in. Let’s show the Chinese government that the world is calling on them to stop this puppy slaughter immediately!
When our numbers are great enough, Avaaz will take out ads, work with influential celebrities, run the first independent national poll on dog-eating in China, and put this issue on front pages everywhere until Chinese authorities act. Add your name and tell everyone.
Sign the petition to stop this cruel and wicked festival.
A spokesman for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust told The Mail: “It is always possible that there is a panther, or other big cat, in our countryside but there hasn’t yet been any firm evidence to prove that they’re there.”
Werewolf stories go back centuries. The most famous was in France. The Beast of Gevaudan which killed around 300 people. Check out the documentary.
“The Iroquois, the Osage, the Tuscaroras, the Hurons, the Omahas, and many other North American Indians all speak of giant men who once lived and roamed in the territories of their forefathers. All over what is now the U.S. are traditions of these ancient giants.” 1
Did Giant humans roam Ancient America in the past? Did the Native American’s have a royal class of giant rulers entombed in massive burial mounds?
The historical record certainly seems to support this reality. Over a two hundred year period, more than 1000 accounts of seven-foot and taller skeletons have been reported unearthed from ancient burial sites in North America. Newspaper accounts, town and county histories, letters, scientific journals, diaries, photos and Smithsonian ethnology reports have carefully documented this. These skeletons have been reported from coast to coast in burial chambers, stone crypts, caves, ancient battlefields and massive mounds.
Strange anatomic anomalies such as six fingers, double rows of teeth, jawbones so large as to be fit over the face of the finder, and elongated skulls, were documented in virtually every state. Smithsonian scientists identified at least 17 skeletons that stood at over seven feet in their annual reports, including one example that was 8 feet tall, and a skull with a 36-inch circumference (an average human skull has a circumference of about 20 inches). The Smithsonian Institution is mentioned dozens more times as the recipient of enormous skeletons from across the United States.
In late 2014, an article from a satirical website claimed that a Supreme Court ruling forced the Smithsonian Institution to admit to the historic destruction of giant skeletons. It was published not long after our Search for the Lost Giants TV show that aired on History Channel. The headline read: “Smithsonian Admits to Destruction of Thousands of Giant Human Skeletons in Early 1900s.”2 The article was convincing, and this apparent exposé of the National Museum hit a chord with people. Right away, we were inundated with emails from people believing the story was real. In reality, if such a story were true, it would surely be front-page worldwide news. However, when an Internet post is mentioning a startling find and not verifying any of the professionals involved, or real organizations or institutions they belong to, one can quickly conclude that it is a misrepresentation of facts or an outright lie. Maybe someday, however, the Smithsonian will admit to the irony of this story.
The over-willingness to believe seems to be the culprit for such stories gaining life. This is the reality we have had to deal with when researching the strange case of the North American giants, as hoaxes and exaggerations were often reported as truth. This is further complicated by the lack of physical evidence, and the moral and ethical implications of investigating human remains. When the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed in 1990, any remaining giant skeletons and bones were removed from public display and buried according to the traditions of individual tribes.
Old postcard showing 7 ft. skeleton discovered at Serpent Mound, Ohio.
We often get asked: “where are the bones?” and we reply: “ask the Smithsonian and the Native Americans.”
Even with these obstacles, we have done our best to chase down every account to the end and to be as impartial as possible. The book Giants on Record, is not trying to be a long scientific paper but rather an assemblage of data and documents that have been hidden in libraries and local historical societies, and quietly shunned by orthodox anthropology and archaeology for over a century. The following accounts are part of this forgotten legacy, which carry implications that may someday shake the foundations of American academia.
THE SMITHSONIAN FILES
Most of the reports we have uncovered are from well-known newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, but we begin our analysis with this account from The Worthington Advance (November 18, 1897, pg.3) that describes the ethnological work of theSmithsonian Institution’s Division of Eastern Mounds, and quotes the Director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the time, John Wesley Powell. The image below accompanies the news report,
“It is officially recorded that agents of the Bureau of Ethnology have explored more than 2,000 of these mounds. Among the objects found in them were pearls in great numbers and some of very large size… It is a matter of official record that in digging through a mound in Iowa the scientists found the skeleton of a giant, who, judging from actual measurement, must have stood seven feet six inches tall when alive. The bones crumbled to dust when exposed to the air. Around the neck was a collar of bear’s teeth and across the thighs were dozens of small copper beads, which may have once adorned a hunting skirt.”
As part of the Search for the Lost Giants show, Jim and fellow researcher James Claryinvestigated the following account that had this heading:
“An Ancient Ozark Giant Dug Up Near Steelville: Strange discovery made by a boy looking for arrowheads, gives this Missouri Town an absorbing mystery to ponder.”
Highlights of the lengthy report from The Steelville Ledger (June 11, 1933)are given:
“…he turned up the complete skeleton of an 8 foot giant. The grisly find was brought to Dr. R. C. Parker here and stretched out to its enormous length in a hallway of his office where it has since remained the most startling exhibit Steelville has ever had on public view… An appeal to Dr. Aleš Hrdli?ka, anthropologist of the National Museum in Washington and celebrated authority on primitive races is expected to help. Dr. Parker has written to him, offering to forward the skull or the whole skeleton, if necessary for scientific study.”
Jim and James Clary found the exact location where the 8-foot skeleton was removed, which was from along the north wall of a cave. They met with several relatives of Billy Harmon, who all professed to the legitimacy of the find. They also found where R. C. Parker’s office once was, and ran into an old timer, who was Dr. Parker’s patient in his youth.
While reading through the microfilm at the Steelville library, three reports of the find where uncovered, including the photo that shows Les Eaton, a 6-foot man laid out next to the 8-foot skeleton in Dr. Parkers office (see image below).
Photo of Les Eaton next to giant skeleton
The Steelville Ledger also reported that the skeleton was packed up and shipped to the Smithsonian, never to be heard of again.
The San Diego giant was purchased by the Smithsonian for $500 ($14,000 in todays money) in 1895, although they later claimed it was a hoax.
The Smithsonian Institution is continually linked to giant skeletons, or at least the lack of them. Most of the reports end in something like this: “The bones were shipped to the Smithsonian Institution for further study.” This ongoing problem of the “missing bones” has become a matter of legend, as there are dozens of reports of the Smithsonian receiving artifacts and giant skeletons. Today, however, they deny their existence. We investigate this thoroughly in our book, and conclude that a cover-up may have been instigated in the late 1800s because it did not fit in with their new ideologies of ‘Manifest Destiny’ and ‘Evolution.’ Although the giants were sidelined in the early stages of scientific discovery, they were, thanks to earlier explorers of America, already in the written record.
As far back as the 1500s when the Spanish navigators were exploring the coast of the Americas, sightings of live giants were being recorded. Three captains of Spanish ships reported these taller-than-average native people on their expeditions to America, as well as Sir Francis Drake, Captain John Smith, a Smithsonian professor, and several other notable eyewitnesses.
In 1519, Spanish explorer Alonzo Álvarez de Pineda was mapping the coastline of the Gulf Coast, marking the various rivers, bays, landmarks, and potential ports, declaring that they belonged to the king of Spain. Not far from where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico he “found a large town, and on both sides of its banks, for a distance of six leagues up its course, some forty native villages.”3 He also noted that other than giants, the tribes also had a race of tiny pygmies. Pineda described the tribes that settled near the Mississippi river as: “A race of giants, from ten to eleven palms in height and a race of pigmies only five or six palms high.” (Webster’s Dictionary defines a palm used as a unit of measurement to range from seven to ten inches, so the giants were at least 6 feet 7 inches to 8 feet tall).
On his return from Tampico to the Mississippi, Pineda unknowingly sailed right past a tribe of equally huge Texas Indians.3 A report on the Karankawas, John R. Swanton, of the Bureau of American Ethnology, describes the men as being:
“…very tall and well formed…Head-flattening and tattooing were practiced to a considerable extent.”
However it was also recorded that they:
“…do not eat men, but roast them only, on account of the cruelties first enacted against their ancestors by the Spanish.” 5
So that’s OK then!
A few years later in 1523, as the Spanish fleet discovered, dominated, and overran the Caribbean Islands, a strange report came forth via historian Peter Martyr who assisted at the Council of the Indies. The account was originally shared by a native who was Christianized and taken to Spain:
“The report ran that the natives were white and their king and queen giants, whose bones, while babies, had been softened with an ointment of strange herbs, then kneaded and stretched like wax by masters of the art, leaving the poor objects of their magic half dead, until after repeated manipulations they finally attained their great size.” 6
In early 1521, Francisco Gordillo and Pedro de Quejo undertook a secret voyage from Spain. They sailed over to America and along the Carolina coast to capture Native American slaves, and to scout out potential locations for new Spanish colonies. They managed to capture seventy members of the Chicora tribe to bring back to their homeland:
“The chiefs of the province of Chicora, a portion of what is now South Carolina, were famous for their height, which was supposed to prove their royal blood.” 7
While Gordillo and Quejo treated the enigmatic Chicora Indians with treachery, their relationships with the Duhare peoples were much more gentlemanly. This was probably because the inhabitants of Duhare were described as looking European, with red or brown hair, tanned skin and gray eyes. Strangely, for this part of the world, the men had full beards and towered over the Spanish. They did not appear to be Native American. He visited with many of the Native American tribes in the area and recorded their customs, rituals and ways of living. The report on the Duhare stated:
“Ayllon says the natives are white men, and his testimony is confirmed by Francisco Chicorana. Their hair is brown and hangs to their heels. They are governed by a king of gigantic size, called Datha, whose wife is as large as himself. They have five children. In place of horses, the king is carried on the shoulders of strong young men, who run with him to the different places he wishes to visit.” 8
The Spanish describe Datha as being the largest man they had ever seen. He had a wife as tall as him. He wore brightly colored paint or tattoos on his skin that distinguished him from the commoners.
This was all happening at the same time that the Patagonian giants (pictured below with Dr. Frederick A. Cook in 1898) were being witnessed on the southern tip of South America. For “Giants” became fashionable in the 1500s. In the summer of 1579, just north of San Francisco, Sir Francis Drake recounted his witnessing of living giants in his diary. In 1602, the California Channel Islands were ‘discovered’ by the Spanish, an area that has become a mecca for giantologists. Over 3,000 skeletons were discovered on the islands in the early 1900s, some being between 8 and 9 feet tall. Numerous mysterious reports of skulls containing ‘double rows of teeth’ were also reported on the neighboring islands.
Dr. Cook with two Patagonian giants standing at around 7 ft. tall.
DOUBLE ROWS OF TEETH
Reconstruction of skull showing double rows of teeth
Hundreds of skeletal exhumation reports across the United States have demonstrated some very unusual anatomical features. These include macrocephalic (large) skulls, elongated craniums, enormous jaws that were fit over the face of the finders, and double rows of teeth. They come from official Smithsonian reports (with one account describing a third set of teeth), newspaper articles, and letters and journals from doctors and respected members of the local community. The ‘double row of teeth’ phenomenon is what we will briefly look at here, as it has been described in multiple accounts with evidence going as far back as 6,000 years, from the area of the Canadian Great Lakes. 9
This first account from the California Channel Islands is reported in The Scientific American (Volume 6, 1862. pg.227). The finds were dated to between 3,362-8,000 years old:10
Exposing the Hidden History of Giants of the Americas
“The Indian skulls with double rows of teeth are said to have been found not only abundantly on San Clemente Island caves, but also often still on the neighboring Island of San Miguel, the San Bernardo or Juan Rodriguez of Cabrillo.”
Jim also uncovered further accounts from the opposite side of the country in New England. In The Town History of Deerfield, Mass (pg.78, 1895), Historian George Sheldon writes:
“At the foot of Bars Long Hill, just where the meadow fence crossed the road, and the bars were placed that gave the village its name, many skeletons were exposed while plowing down a bank, and weapons and implements were found in abundance. One of these skeletons was described to me by Henry Mather who saw it, as being of monstrous size—‘the head as big as a peck basket, with double teeth all round.’ The skeleton was examined by Dr. Stephen W. Williams who said the owner must have been nearly eight feet high.”
“Some 15 years ago the skeleton of an Indian Giant in almost perfect preservation was dug up in the same locality (Cedar Tree Neck), the bones indicated a man easily six feet and a half possibly seven feet high. An unusual feature was a complete double row of teeth on both the upper and lower jaws.”
“When the earth was removed from the top of the ledges east of the falls, a remarkable human skeleton, unmistakably that of an Indian, was found. Those who saw it tell the writer the jaw bone was of such size that a large man could easily slip it over his face and the teeth, which were all double, were perfect.”
“A few years ago when the highway was straightened and repaired, remains were found. When his skeleton was measured by Dr. Morrill Robinson and others, it was found that the thigh bone was four inches longer than that bone in an ordinary man, and that he had a double row of teeth in each jaw. His height must have been at least seven feet and eight inches.”
Map of New England states with tribal territories, circa 1600.
After scrutinizing the possibilities, the ‘double row of teeth’ phenomenon could be explained by there being either: 1) Literally two sets of teeth (double); 2) molars and premolars in the front of the mouth resembling ‘double’ teeth—an unusual anomaly in itself; 3) supernumerary teeth that are just occasional ‘extra’ teeth in the mouth, that could be seen as double sets of teeth, but not ‘full sets’; 4) teeth so worn down that only two roots exist that resemble two separate teeth. Further investigation clearly needs to be carried out before we can understand the origins of these unusual traits. Some accounts could be due to the parlance of the time, but it is notable that the historical record so frequently links the ‘double row of teeth’ phenomenon with giant skeletons.
ORIGINS OF THE TALL ONES
The origins of the North American giants are shrouded in mystery, but we know that they were involved in the sophisticated Mound Building cultures of the Mid-West, as the royal tombs are often found within them. There are legends that place them in the era of the Megafauna (mammoths, mastodons, sabre-tooth tiger etc.) at around 13,000 years ago. There are dozens of oral histories that revere them as gods, and sometimes as fearsome cannibalistic warriors. Great wars took place between these titans, and archaeologists have uncovered prehistoric battlefields containing oversized bones and weapons. They often possessed double rows of teeth and other anatomic anomalies; so who really were these people, and where did they come from?
This is the big question.
The origins of the North American giants are hotly debated by independent researchers, academics and skeptics, but there is now enough data to begin serious research into the subject. We cover the theories of their origins in our book, ranging from the Denisovans of Siberia to the Nephilim of the Bible Lands. There is also compelling evidence that the giants may have originated from the Americas.11
The Nephilim of the Bible are basically fallen angels. Here is a really good explanation from Dr Chuck Missler of the Koinonia Institute. Connecting UFOs with giants and the feared Nephilim.
Hundreds of creation myths and oral histories attest to this, and the giants are in stories from remote times. One example can be found in the writings of Tuscarora Indian David Cusick in his book Six Nations (1825). He states that when the Great Spirit made the people, some of them became giants. Ross Hamilton commented on this:
“It seems that the tall people at least shared the status of being the first inhabitants of Indian memory, and that the smaller-in-stature folk lived among or in proximity to them from remotely ancient times.” 12
Most people do not believe in giants, however, but rather scoff at the idea, regarding it as folklore that has been mixed up and sensationalized by newspaper journalists. We disagree, as there is ample evidence within Native American mythology, genetic data, ethnological studies, scientific reports, early excavation records, first-hand accounts, and discoveries featured in newspapers and Town History books. Now is the time for academia to take a look at this data, and to expose what really happened at the Smithsonian; for an important chapter in human history is on the verge of being lost forever.
Ross Hamilton. A Tradition of Giants: The Elite Social Hierarchy of American Prehistory. 2007.
About the Author
Jim and Hugh have been speaking at various events and hosting book launches in November 2015, including the Origins Conference in London on 7th, Glastonbury (UK) on 10th, CoSM in New York on 14th, Ashfield Massachusetts on 17th and Earthkeeper Conference on 21st-23rd in Arkansas. Full details about their work can be found at https://www.facebook.com/giantsonrecord.
Giants on Record is published by Avalon Rising Publications (UK) and is available in hardback, paperback, Kindle and other ebook formats on Amazon.com.
Animal X is pleased to announce a new series of clips.
From the Cutting Room Floor is a series of clips we are producing that looks at some of the material that didn’t make it into the completed episodes.
Over the years we have shot a shed-load of interviews, sightings, artwork and other stuff that just wouldn’t fit into the programmes. After all you can only fit so much material into half an hour, or even an hour’s television.
We have video of all kinds of things including the latest sighting of the San Fransisco Bay Monster. UFO sightings and Bigfoot information and mysterious eyes and faces in the bush.
If you’re into cryptozoology, the supernatural, paranormal or just plane mysteries than make sure you join Animal X to be kept informed of new stories. Either by entering your email address in the box on the right, or through our YouTube channel, FaceBook or Twitter.
Here’s the first in the series. Spotlighting for Mothman, from Animal X Natural Mystery Unit episode 3. Mothman and other Winged Creatures.
In this clip from the cutting room floor Daniel and Natalie are out spotlighting looking for anything that could be mistaken as Mothman.