Toothy Fossils – Tucson : Haiku, a Travel Haibun

Haibun : Toothy fossils

Wiki says the Majungasaurus was one of the last known non-avian dinosaurs to go extinct during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. They were carnivorous and were known to eat each other — which if you are among the last meat-eating dinosaur to go extinct, you might not have a choice. Their average weight is estimated to be 2,400 pounds (1,100 kilos) so I bet it would’ve been hard to find enough meat on the hoof to feed themselves.

Crocodile’s ancestral dinosaur biting down on styrofoam — gotta keep those teeth sharp! Look at the Majungasaurus Atopus. What is that? You want one? Pony up your credit card.  Only US$4,500. Quite the bargain. Dinosaurs are gone — after all nothing lasts forever — but you can have one for your very own. It’s over there, right by the sabertoothed cat and the woolly mammoth. Real ones? Nah, cast replicas. There’s a real dinosaur over there. It’s just the one bone for quite a bit more cash. My! that thing is humongous. Wow! Look at the curl in the genuine tusk. The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase has come to town.

saber-toothed cats smile
buy a majungasaurus?
history for sale

haibun & photo by © 2020 M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved.

I love that the saber-toothed cat is called Smilodon … and that’s the scientific name for it, for real.

Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase

The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase is all over town from the end of January through the first couple weeks of February.  The show at the Civic Center was $13 and only ran a week.  I didn’t make it to that one but will try next year.  The show is annual but it’s the first time I’ve gone despite living in Tucson forever.  I didn’t realize there are more than 50 event sites all over the city and most of them are free. A few of them are open to wholesalers only but most are open to the public.

baby woolly mammoth

I went to the 22nd Street show — humongous tents filled with vendors hawking everything from fossils (yep, real fossils) to gems.  It’s free to walk in but $5 if you need to park your car.  If you’re buying petrified wood or a woolly mammoth, you’re going to need a pretty big car.

Woolly Mammoth cast sculpture with it's amazingly long tusks
Maybe that’s the mama or papa

There were two areas where food trucks congregated.  May I say “yum”?  The Takoyaki Balls foodtruck of course featured takoyaki balls — they are octopus balls which you find in Japan at festival street vendors. Tomomi Katz, the truck owner, knows how to make them — they were perfect with the bonito flakes on top.  Just how I remembered them.  “Natsukashii!” It’s a great Japanese word meaning “brings back memories” or “gives one a sense of nostalgia”.  That’s exactly how I felt when I ate them.  I also ate some creamy Sri Lankan chicken curry cooked in spices and coconut milk later at another food truck, The Curry Pot when I came back for a short visit with Akari and Nobu.  It was served over rice with two side dishes.  One was a vegetable curry.  I have no clue what the other was but it was good. They had an iced coffee cooked with cardamom which was yummy. Akari got the same thing but Nobu wandered off to check out the barbecue truck.

Arctodus Simus, short-faced bear. They lived from the Pleistocene era until they went extinct 11,000 years ago, roaming from Alaska to Mexico. At 1,300 pounds and 12 feet tall on it’s hind legs, those babies were huge! I would not want to meet one of those on a dark night in the woods.  Thinks about it.  Well, maybe not in broad day light either unless it was far far away but within photo range.

At the 22nd Street venue, there’s a shuttle stop a short walk away.  The free shuttle will take you round to the various venues.

This year I left after visiting the two giant tents at 22nd Street because it started sprinkling.  I thought I better make it back to my bus stop and get home so my camera wouldn’t get wet.  So this year I only spent a couple hours at the 22nd Street site but next year plan to take in more venues and start much earlier. Plus I ran out of money, lol–there are a lot of goodies at very reasonable prices. I saw a lot so I’ll be sharing more photos in the next post.

Tip: The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase runs for a couple weeks so you can visit the various sites on different days.  However, not all sites are open every day or even every week.  So make a plan. This year JOGS had a list of exhibits, locations and their days before the event.  Check them again next year if you’re planning to be in Tucson during the first couple weeks of February.

video of the 2020 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase by Krieger.  This one was shot at the 22nd Street site where I was at.  He has several more videos up from various other sites as well.  The Showcase has over 50 sites spotted all over the city.

Blog Linkups:

Poetics – Impermanence : dVerse Poets Pub

Ok, a bit wordy but putting it in for Wordless Wednesdays anyways

Wordless Wednesday – Comedy Plus

Wordless Wednesday – Natasha Musing

Wordless Wednesday – My Corner of the World – Photographing New Zealand

Wordless Wednesday – Musings of my Soul

Image-in-ing, a weekly photo blog linkup

Other sources you might like: did a good write up: How to gem show: A local’s guide to the 2020 Tucson gem showcase

To get an idea of all the locations, JOGS international exhibits still has their list of 2020 exhibit locations up.  Many sites are annual. The tucsongemshowapp is no longer showing anything since the event is over but when it was on, showed what was happening daily.  They have a downloadable mobile app as well.

And for the scientific minded folks out there :

an abstract: Cannibalism in the Madagascan dinosaur Majungatholus atopus by Raymond R. Rogers, David W. Krause & Kristina Curry Rogers

a downloadable pdf article : A review of Dyrosaurus phosphaticus (Thomas, 1893) (Mesoeucrocodylia; Dyrosauridae) from the Lower Eocene of North Africa. by Stéphane Jouve


You can use the Amazon search bar to search for anything as I did with  “majungasaurus”. Results may vary.  Today one of the results that popped up was the BBC series Planet Dinosaur Season 1, the Last Killer’s episode featuring the “last generation of killer dinosaurs” although the Feathered Dragon episode looks more interesting with it’s microraptor. Plus, you know, dragons!

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