Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Corn of Plenty: A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

The Unicorn and Its Predecessors: We have all heard tales of the unicorn. Elusive. Majestic. Capable of healing and enchantment. What you may not know is that unicorns can be silly and vain, capable of ostracizing those without a perfectly-spiraling horn, or alicorn. Evidence suggests that in the last decade, unicorns have mastered the art of texting, using the tips of their alicorns to type crude messages on discarded smartphones. In forests with no cell reception, they lie about, admiring their reflections in still pools while gorging on pomegranates fed to them by indentured gnomes.

It has been theorized by the renowned and aged Dr. Frederick Von Dusseldorn that the unicorn’s skull size has decreased over thousands of years, in order that the musculature of the neck may accommodate the increasing mass of the alicorn. In addition, the brain of the unicorn has atrophied from disuse, becoming roughly the size of a withered apricot. While these theories remains unproven, it is can be surmised that deep within the intricate neural connections of its brain, the unicorn is very much taken with itself.

Luckily, there are other first-rate, single-horned creatures in the world. These are lesser-known creatures, with lesser-known protuberances. They are elusive. Majestic. And they are much less likely to nicker at you behind your back. In this series, we will consider a few of these creatures and their predecessors, starting with those that are extinct.

It was a water-creature that embedded itself horn-first into the bottom of the primordial sea and was crushed by merciless millennia into a sad, dirty fossil. This creature was called the Cornonexochida (see photo), and there is only one known specimen in the world. Dr. Von Dusseldorn borrowed this specimen, to ‘study’, but we were colleagues then, and how could I have known that he would abscond with my Cornonexochida and vanish into the forests of Myanmar, never to be heard from again?

A lot happened after the flattening of the Cornonexochida. Strange, mutinous sea-things used primitive stumps to drag themselves onto land. They took gulps of air. They ate things. Over time, creatures grew bigger, and they ate bigger things. But it is difficult to swallow something with a horn, especially a horn that is seven feet high, such as that of the Stegacornus.

Another dinocorn, the rare Tyrannacornus Rex weighed approximately 7 tons. It used its rust-colored horn for fighting and as a counter-balance for its massive tail. There is only one known fossilized horn from a TC-Rex, discovered in Saskatchewan, Canada in 2003. I won’t say who excavated this fossil with painstaking care under a cruel winter sun, but it’s not the same person who asked to borrow it and then never returned it.

Numerous species of dinocorns and pterocorns perished in a mass extinction around 60 million years ago. Fossils of these rare horned creatures do exist; I personally owned a fossilized baby pterocorn horn, which I never displayed to a single soul. It was safely nestled in my desk drawer, wrapped in my favorite heirloom scarf. The scarf was handwoven 100% vicuna wool…sort of a nighthawk blue with goldish-yellow stripes. But that isn’t the point. The point is, one day my pterocorn horn and scarf went missing. Vanished! I won’t mention any names, but that scarf will be a little toasty for Myanmar, don’t you think?

In my next article, let’s jump to modernity, shall we? This talk of fossils is vexing. - DR. MIDAS WELBY, Visiting Contributor to Iranigami

NOTE FROM GWYNEACH: Dr. Welby’s series on single-horned Imaginaries will appear in this space periodically over the next year.

Corn of Plenty copyright 2014 by Courtney Johnson.


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.