It’s not a great movie, but 1978’s The Last Dinosaur captured a spirt few CGI masterpieces can. It is mankind’s hunt for the last dinosaur. It is very Rice-Burroughs in its precepts– a lost land in the glacial areas heated by volcanoes. It implicitly reflects our own beliefs that in real life we hunted the last of them to extinction. They exist now only where we have not been. And now, under the guise or delusion of merely wanting to study one, the last great white hunter sets off to nail T-Rex.
Is there any hope left for us that some of us today might be able to embark on such a Rice-Burroughs adventure to find the last dinosaur? We hear of a brontosaurus living in the Congo. We hear a couple different kinds may live in New Guinea. We hear of the giant salamander of the north, some warm blooded reptile that can survive in cold conditions. We have heard of the wonders of the warm arctic valley, the “Lost” or “Headless Nahanni” in the upper reaches of Canada. We take comfort in the discovery of the Komodo Dragon. Can there still be a dinosaur left to be found?
There are those who believe that the story of St. George and the Dragan revolves around the search for one of the last surviving Baryonyx. Biblically there is the description of Behemoth, whose tail can wipe out trees. There is Leviathan, whose breath is burning smoke.
Extinction is not the natural process of living organism. If it is adapted and relatively free of predators the species will go on. Simply because people may believe species lived a long time ago doesn’t mean they can’t be alive today. Thus in our art, which reflects our hopes, we create lands “of the lost” where ancient creatures have been cut off from the march of progress and remain in a stable environment. Here we discover dinosaurs.
But in the real world, certainly in the last 1,000 years, many such lands truly existed. There was still a chance for some dinosaurs to be living.
The story of St. George and the Dragon, and frankly any story of a fire-breathing dragon, has always captured popular imagination. But it has captured scientific curiosity because of the fire-breathing claims. How could someone make up such an attribute unless they had truly seen it?
Chemical heat in biologic critters is an old story. The Bombardier Beatle of Arizona is frequently raised. It has two glands in its abdomen. They are divided into chambers. Each gland has a tail pipe, so to speak. In the inner chamber is hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide. This is moved forward into the firing chamber where a solution of 40 to 60 percent catalase and peroxidase mixes with it. When the tailpipes shoot this out and it hits oxygen there is a burning explosion up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It is powerful enough to back off a bobcat.
A few dinosaur skulls have such unidentified chambers that could accommodate such glands.
Is there still a chance to hunt a “dragon”– a dinosaur? For Westerners the stories remain those of only distance glimpses, brief shadows. But there is no discovery. No one goes to look. No one follows the clues. Yet I dare say some very intriguing adventures await us. . . .if we would only reach out.
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.