Relative Size and Other Important Tidbits

TitanesWhen we think of Pleistocene fauna, we usually think big.  The above image was assembled by Roberto Díaz Sibaja on his wonderful blog Palaeos, la historia de la vida en la tierra.  I love the fact that he has created, for many of his animal-size related posts, a real scale that nearly all of us can relate to; a human and a Volkswagen Beetle.  Look closely at his human silhouette and you can see some attitude hidden there.

M trogontheriiNot an archaeology blog but a broader and probably smarter view of the biological world through paleontology and evolution.  He covers so many facets of the natural world including many fossil animals from dinosaurs to modern camelids.

B latifronsThis is just a small example of one of his posts, but one I find myself referring to when trying to illustrate scale.

A agustidensHe treats his blog entries in a manner I wish I had the time and energy to create, using links and (god forbid) actual references.  A truly unique way to write on the internet.

D shoshonensisClick the link below and prepare to learn about our interesting past.

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Ice Age Predators from the Early Paleoindian Period


Image from the Dire Wolf Project (

We don’t find many predators in our assemblages on the Southern High Plains.  When we do, it is generally a tooth, a single toe bone, or a few bits.  Predators weren’t hunted in droves and likely wander off to die alone so they don’t end up in the cultural assemblage.  However…

There are some interesting finds coming from UNLV lately.  Las Vegas wash has produced many fossil animals, but, just as in many other ancient sites, it’s the predators that are the rare ones.

“The Pleistocene predators are starting to pile up in the fossil-rich hills at the northern edge of the valley.

Less than a month after a California team found evidence of a saber-tooth cat in the Upper Las Vegas Wash, UNLV researchers announced the discovery of a 1½-inch long foot bone from what they believe was a dire wolf that stalked the valley between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.”  Read the article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal here.


There is more information about the saber-tooth cats in this short article in the RGJ.  Another interesting find that I want to know more from.  With so much great information coming out through the scientific community, and the exponential nature of the data, it’s sad to think of all the time and energy focused away from this good stuff and onto the wacky pseudo-science floating across the television and internet.

Smilodon fatalis.  Image from the Indiana Geological Surevey (click image for more information).

Smilodon fatalis. Image from the Indiana Geological Survey (click image for more information).