what am i? (the visitor part 11) (the pack part 1)

its hard to believe that it's been nearly 12 days since my cousin larry showed up here in dunedin unannounced for a visit. what's even harder to believe is that for the last few days i haven't even noticed the time going by.

as funny as it sounds i've actually started to enjoy hanging out with larry...

had you told me a year ago, i'd enjoy a visit from larry i would have laughed in your face! larry was the biggest JERK! i knew. how many cousins would actively take delighting in denying their cousin a new home or job (at the storyeum in vancouver)? well my cousin sure did...

so what has changed my outlook on larry?

to be honest he's no less of a JERK!. he's still selfish, egomanical, and condescending to me. he hates humans, and thinks of me as a lesser being to to my upbringing by a human. okay i'm level with you. i'm still kinda holding a grudge.

so why is it i'm enjoying hanging out with larry all of a sudden?

because the rest of the world is being even meaner to me than he usually is!!!

ever since the special news coverage about larry's few misadventures around dunedin we've been public enemy number one! the mean things people say about us on TV are hurtful. even larry the apex tyrannosaur, doesn't do half the stuff everyone says we do. whenever we go anywhere the way people run away from us and scream is even worse.

it has gotten me wondering why do i bother trying to live among humans? why have i been trying to encourage human dinosaur cooperation?

it hasn't gotten me anything or anywhere. if anything i have less than most dinosaurs who are still alive today...

than i look at larry. he hasn't made any accommodations for humans whats so ever. if anything he treats them with outright disdain and disgust. he has made it a point of pride to be a pure tyrannosaur who doesn't remotely care about being in civilized world.

how has this hurt larry?

not a bit! if anything he has thrived from it...

he is a full on movie star. the most iconic tyrannosaur in the world due to his parts in jurassic parks 1, 2 and 3, king kong, and walking with dinosaurs. through these movies (especially the stupidity that was jurassic park 3) larry has made a fortune. he is easily the richest dinosaur on earth with millions of human dollars. allowing him to do whatever he pleases...

he is happily mated with offspring. larry is definitive proof that girls love jerks over nice guys. he's mated to the second hottest living tyrannosaurid alive today, teresa the tyrannosaur
(second in hotness only to the lovely lillian the albertosaur... drool). not only is she larry's mate, but they've had eggs together. hot mate and a bunch of larry jrs underfoot. again larry's not so bad off.

then there's the respect issue. dinosaurs and humans alike both respect and fear him. i wonder how much of it is from his being a celebrity or if it is the other way round?

whatever the reason, if larry wants something he gets it! no one wants to stand in the way of a full on tyrannosaur...

it's funny because my whole life i'd thought that having people fear you was a bad thing. when i look at larry (who does frighten me a bit) i realize maybe it is a good thing...

now granted i could never get the level of fear that larry does. he is a 14 metre 6 tonne giant. i barely come up to his ankle (keep in mind on most dinosaurs the ankle was way higher up the leg than on mammals... in the pics larry's ankle is the second "backwards bending knee").

despite this, larry tried today to convince me my small stature wasn't an issue. at least with none theropods.

"i don't know about that," i countered larry's claim. "who'd be scared of little old me. I barely come up to most humans belly's."

"bah, whose to say you aren't due for a growth spurt cousin" larry dismissed. "besides you of all people should know how deadly a juvenile tyrannosaur can be."

now i knew what larry meant by this, but you human readers of the innerweb may be a little confused...

(a new feature of my blog to gap us prehistoric survivors with you the readers of the innerweb it's the first ever Palaeo FACT! TM)

adult tyrannosaurs like larry have indeed been amazingly molded by evolution for killing, but they have one weakness (as is bound to happen through random selective pressures!). initially we tyrannosaurs were small like the rest of our coelurosaurian keen. however through millions of years we branched off into larger and more heavily built forms.

our skulls became our main weapon, and with each new member of the tyrannosaurids (every 5 million years or so) not only had our overall size gotten bigger, but so had the size and power of our jaws. the price we paid for this constant up scaling was that to support the weight of our massive bodies and in particular our heads we had to slow down.

though our prey was large and slow like us it was hard for just adult tyrannosaurs to hunt them down. so the solution?

we retained part of our coelurosaurian legacy of nimbleness and speed. for young tyrannosaur bodies are built more like our speedy cousins the ornithomimids (the ostrich lizards!). only as we grow up and develop the larger skulls and bodies of adulthood do we slow do... meaning that it was the job of the younglings in a pack to actively pursue and hunt prey...

millions of years of ago in the cretaceous my role in life would have been to run into the massive herds of hadrosaurs and ceratopsians and try to chase out an individual for the adults to kill. though this may have sounded like an irresponsible form of child rearing, it was in larry's opinion the ultimate childhood. the younglings didn't consider it work, but more like a game. just one that could have life or death consequences...

end fact...

getting back to my discussion with larry. "it's not the cretaceous anymore larry," i told him.

"so you keep telling me cousin," larry angrily grumbled. suddenly he was very pointed, but not in his typical way. he actually was talking to me as though we were on level, and not like he was better than me. "do you know what your problem is cousin?"

"what?" i thought larry was going to say some easy to ignore insult.

"you're afraid of who and what you are," he stated.

"i am not!" i replied in shock at the accusation.

"really," larry challenged. "not once this trip have i seen you do anything remotely resemble a tyrannosaurian thing. not once... you have only spoken tyrannosaurese when you did not want humans to know what you were saying or these last few days."

"and do you want to know why i think you do not behave like one of us?" larry paused. "because you're afraid to face reality. afraid to face what a tyrannosaur in the modern world real is."

"every time you speak of the human world around us you speak as though you are some sort of lucky visitor. you speak of our past as though it was somehow obsolete and primitive in comparison to the humans and their 'civilization'. you speak as though we tyrannosaurs are some how an inferior species. when you speak like this, it sickens me, and insults not just myself but ALL of us!" larry stated.

"humans are not our evolutionary superiors. they have only been around a million years. we tyrannosaurus rexs alone were in existence for 3 million. they did not earn rule of this world or have to fight for it as our ancestors did. they and their mammalian cousins simply picked up the pieces after we bore the brunt of nature's greatest trial. you advocate and endorse these pathetic evolutionary vultures?!?

"the greatest legacy the world has yet seen, 160 million years our kind ruled this planet, and yet you'd defer to those that have only ruled it for half that time, and only due to our absence?"

"you mock and insult our traditional ways. in face of what? human 'intelligence'? what has their ways brought them and the world other than suffering and death? they destroy the environment simply to gather the means and resources to destroy each other. the tyrannosaur way was a more sustainable way."

"oh we killed all right, but only what needed to be killed for our survival. did we kill each other. yes, but if we did we never did so under the ruse of a greater or just cause. we did it because that is the nature of the world. eat or be eaten!"

"the reason you don't see all this cousin is because they've trained you to be afraid of this truth. to be afraid of what you are," larry concluded.

"why would they do that?" i couldn't see a logical reason why. some of what larry had said made some sense, but why would my friends have made me afraid of myself? why would craig have raised me this way?

"because their afraid of you too," larry asserted. "they know of your potential, and they don't want you to tap it. they'd rather you stay a good obedient little museum attraction."

"instead of what?" i wondered.

larry's composure became very pleased. "a contributing member to your family."

"what could you and aunt black beauty need from me?" i was confused. since when did a big movie star need to ask for money from his lowly security guard cousin?

"no cousin you misunderstand. about a great many things it would seem," larry explained. "i speak not of our immediate family. though they are key members, but of our greater coelurosaur family."

"we ask not for your monetary contribution, but your loyalty," larry asserted.

i just stared blankly at larry in deep thought, but he misinterpreted it as me being puzzled.

"you look as though you have questions cousin," larry prompted.

boy, did i have questions! i'd worked some things out...

"was this what you were trying to tell me about before you fell down bench hill? the 'pack'?" i asked.

larry was slightly taken aback. i don't think he'd ever expected me to remember him saying that, that alone me piecing it together. "yes cousin. that is preciously what i'm talking about."

"what is the pack?" i really wanted to know!

"the pack," larry repeated in reverence. "the pack of the primordial feather is the ancient brotherhood that has kept the various coelurosaur clans bound together since the extinction."

"i've never heard of anything like that before!" i countered. being very much a coelurosaur, and have spent a lot of time around other coelurosaurs you'd think i'd have heard of such a "brotherhood".

"of course you haven't cousin," larry assured me. "though we are more than well known to those in important places in the museum and palaeontology industries we attempt to keep a low profile. other dinosaurs fear to even speak our name due to our power!"

"i'm a coelurosaur. why am i only hearing about this now?" i demanded. my whole life i've been an outsider among my fellow dinosaurs, and now i learn there's been a coelurosaur only club that i wasn't even invited into to!

"because you were not of the age of passage," larry admitted. "all brethren must survive to the age of maturing before being allowed into the pack. till than they are not ready to take their place amongst the pack."

suddenly it dawned on me. my 4th hatching day had just gone by shortly before larry's visit... and larry had oddly congratulated me on it when he first arrived in dunedin...

why was that an important realization. well by the time a tyrannosaurid had reached 4 years old in the cretaceous, it had grown enough to partake in the hunt... the age of passage! from mere weak hatchling to predatory runner for the family...

"why didn't you come on my hatching day to visit me than?" i wondered.

"because i did not know you were here in new zealand," larry countered. "that is why i was visiting the tyrrell just before i came here. i was looking for you at the museum. imagine my surprise when i discovered that you were no longer employed there."

larry's voice grew angry and tense. i worried it was due to my decision to leave canada. "it seems those fools at the museum decided to under go a major attraction shuffle due to us. the pack had only wanted the tyrrell to get rid of the absconder, but they got rid of much more. you were an unfortunate sideeffect of that effort on their part. a mistake they will not make again i assure you."

wow that was a lot of information to take in.

so the only reason larry had really gone to the tyrrell was to see me? not his mom (my aunt black beauty) like he'd told me...

the museum won't have realized they had too many dinosaurs in its employment if this pack of larry's hadn't bugged it about a specific dinosaur. an absconder...

"discovering the museum had ejected you, and with no trace of where you'd gone we feared we'd lost you forever," larry continued interrupting my train of thought for a moment. "only by luck i stumbled across an agent who knew of your new location."

agent? he couldn't mean... "peter bond?"

"yes that was the human's name," larry agreed.

suddenly it hit me. peter had mentioned the possibility of a visit on not one but two occasions!what did peter have to do with larry? why had he told larry where i was?

than another thing hit me from a second before... absconder! that's what larry had called lillian before!!! the pack had taken aggressive action against one of its own?!?

"what do you mean the pack got lillian kicked out of the tyrrell?" i confronted. "i thought the pack was about united coelurosaurs!"

larry's tensness about the humans at the tyrrell clearly shifted towards me. i don't think he'd expected me to make half these connections...

"within reason cousin," larry once again was calculated in his responses like he had been throughout the earlier parts of his visit. "we are only about helping and accepting those coelurosaurs that help and accept us. lillian think herself better than other coelurosaurs, and better off without us. we simply wanted to reminder her how much her individual success was owed to those that came before her."

"so you destroyed the one thing she cared about most?" i angerly asked. lillian's only purpose for existing was to be the tyrrell's star attraction. she was the poster dinosaur for the whole museum. the international image of what an albertosaur is. this pack had taken it all away from her.

"i know you wished to court her cousin, but you are still young, and there is much about that female you do not know," larry tried to calm me. "that is part of the reason i have come to you cousin. i know all about your failed attempt to win lillian's heart, and we in the pack wish to see a happy ending to that tale."

"we have helped far more of our kind make it in this human dominated world than hinder them," larry stated. "lillian just left us no choice. you know how self-absorbed she could be. we only wanted her to realize the error of her ways."

"what do you want larry?" i cut to the chase.

"for you to stop pretending that you can fit in the human world. for you to finally accept your potential, and embrace what you are. lastly for you to take your rightful place in the pack of the primordial feather!" larry advocated.

"we am not your enemy traumador," larry addressed me by my name for the first time this whole trip. "the pack wants to do nothing but help you. we can make all your problems go away. rather be forced into being a mere security guard at a museum we will make you the star attraction of one. rather than have to live alone an outsider inbetween to worlds you could join your own kind."

"most important of all we will see to it that you find a mate," larry promised.

i could hardly believe my ears. after all my bad experiences with dinosaurs in canada, after the tyrrell had laid me off, i'd gotten used to the idea of dinosaurs being unable to get along anymore. due to the few places that humans have uses for us competition is very fierce among us to get them.

now larry presented me with the solution to this very problem, but was it true?

at moment given the way new zealand as a whole had turned against me what did i have to lose by accepting larry's offer?

just as i was about to give larry the reply he wanted, from behind us came a defiant call. "you're a bit late larry. i waited a good month for you to show up for before i stopped paying attention. looks like i should've kept my guard up a bit longer."

as we both turned around i let out a yelp of surprise. there standing before us was my legal guardian craig. larry's lips curled up revealing his massive teeth all the more (a clear bit of tyrannosaur body language indicating hatred). from larry's throat came a confrontational growl.

"it's been a while larry," craig casually remarked ignoring larry's very intimediating posturing. "i got lucky that you made the news everywhere here or i might have missed your visit."

larry's growl became a much more audible roar.

"you sound like you're not happy to see me larry," craig mocked larry. a very brave move considering the signals larry was giving off. "well i can't say i'm to pleased to see you either larry, but there is one thing i can say for sure. you're not taking him larry. not over my dead body!"

to be continued...

No comments: