– roughly: grooved tooth sculpture –
the Glyptodon was, some evidence suggests,
driven to extinction by humans thousands of years
before the invention of the English language,
which is impressive because picture
a more heavily-armored armadillo
the size of a Volkswagen and you’ve got
a Glyptodon. Also, as the climate deniers
like to say, this has been going on for
centuries, by which they mean climate change,
human-driven or otherwise, but by which
I mean human-driven extinction.
But back to the less controversial,
theoretical stuff. Seven-pound femurs
and tail parts were found in the 1820s
but it wasn’t until his 1837 memoir
on Brazilian fauna when one Dr. Lund
identified the remains as part of a new genus.
Humans fought about what to name
the creature. Glyptodons fought each other
with their tails, humans think, rather than
other creatures, because of its flexible sections.
Physics and math tells zoologists that Glyptodon
tails could break Glyptodon carapaces,
which look up close like mosaics of tiny, white, flattened
barnacles arranged like tiles on a bathroom floor.
Artists’ renderings of them are much cuter than
you’d expect after looking at the skeleton, which is
one of those things humans have to keep learning,
I guess: we hold hands and sing that, underneath,
we’re all the same, or chant that it’s what inside that counts.
True enough, but most underlying structures look haunted bare.
Megan Wildhood is a neurodiverse lady writer in Seattle who helps her readers feel genuinely seen as they interact with her dispatches from the junction of extractive economics, mental and emotional distress, disability and reparative justice. She hopes you will find yourself in her words as they appear in her poetry chapbook Long Division (Finishing Line Press, 2017) as well as The Atlantic, Yes! Magazine, Mad in America, The Sun and elsewhere. You can learn more at meganwildhood.com.