Monthly Archive for September, 2012

A mind is a terrible lizard

I recently came across the following sentence:

I, for example, cannot imagine how the giant sauropods mated, except through the use of telekinesis.

I have two modest proposals for a solution to this conundrum.

1) Face-to-face

Find a lake with a depth equal to a little under twice the height of a sauropod torso. (If you can’t find such a lake, get a sauropod to dig you one. Tell the sauropod it gets to mate when it’s finished.) Put a sauropod in the lake. Tell it to roll over. Don’t take no, or, more to the point, blank incomprehension, for an answer. Note that the long neck conveniently allows the sauropod to keep its head out of the water while lying on its back. Put a second sauropod, of the opposite sex, in the lake. Presuming a reasonable amount of buoyancy on the part of sauropods, it should now be possible to fire up “Swan Lake” and have them dock together.

2) Oral sex

A male sauropod could perform oral sex on itself then on a female, or, conversely, a female could attend to a male first and then herself. While this explanation, like the previous one, would show selection pressure for long necks, it’s less clear there would be all that much selection pressure for gender discrimination, and sauropods may have gone around having oral sex pretty much at random. Cue outrage about how Darwinists want to teach your kids about gay dinosaurs.


The source of the quote is the 1987 novel Daughter of the Bear King by Eleanor Arnason, which features an appendix providing an evolutionary explanation for why dinosaurs were magical. The novel is one of the odder SF/fantasy hybrids I’ve come across, and so far I can’t really convince myself that it works, though it is interesting. However, Arnason would go on to write A Woman of the Iron People and Ring of Swords, two of the best anthropological sf novels around.