Florida’s Terror Birds

Most people today know that modern birds are the evolutionary descendants of dinosaurs, and survived the great mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period that killed off all the non-avian dinos. But few people know that, for a brief time in what is now the Americas, after the dinosaurs were wiped out, it was birds that assumed their position as super-predators at the top of the food chain.

Titanis skeleton at the Florida Museum of Natural History

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Florida Bushcraft: Bone and Antler Tools

Like Native American tribes everywhere, the people who lived in Tampa Bay before European contact (the Tocobaga) had to meet all their needs from locally-available natural materials.

Because Florida is mostly sand and lacks widespread deposits of stone like chert or flint that are useful for toolmaking, the Tocobaga made many of their everyday tools and implements from alternative materials like bone or shell.

Some alternative materials for tools: antler, oyster shells, and bone

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Chicago’s “Owl Man”

Chicago is known as the “Windy City”. As any resident will tell you, the reference comes from a witticism aimed at the long-winded oratory coming from the city’s often-corrupt politicians, not from the weather. But in the year of 2017, according to some reports, a mysterious creature called the “Chicago Owlman” (or sometimes the “Chicago Mothman”—and some wags called it “Batman”) was using the city’s winds in quite a different way.

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Forgotten mysteries, oddities and unknown stories from history, nature and science.