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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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Twenty-four-legged rock tortoise, also known as Testudinidae lapidus icosikartetrapedus.

Range: Desert environments in Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Physical Description: Rock tortoises used to have as few as six legs (see the smaller fossilized rock tortoise to the left in the photo), and as many as 100. The ones that fared best had an even number of legs; those that did worse had an odd numbers of legs, because the odd leg caused them to stumble frequently. They also veered to one side when traveling, which meant they had a lot of trouble getting anywhere without going off-course.

Characteristics: A very slow-moving creature, rock tortoises lived solitary lives except during migration season, when they banded together in family groups to travel to their winter feeding grounds.

Co-endangered species: Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).

Recent sightings: The rock tortoise may now be extinct, but the trait of having many legs, or polymelia, has been noted in more than one species. Sleipner, the steed of Odin, is a well-known example of an Equus octopedus, or eight-legged horse.

What to do: If you should see a living rock tortoise, or any many-legged creature, please notify your local environmental protection agency in addition to contacting us here at Iranigami. Although scientific communities generally recognize polymelia only as a genetic mutation, and not as a species characteristic, they will help to preserve and defend these “genetic anomalies” to the benefit of the Imaginary receiving their protection.


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.