National Geographic : 1933 Jun
EXPLORATIONS IN THE GOBI DESERT weighed many tons. It was a veritable moun tain of flesh, much larger than the biggest elephant (see p. 715). About thirty million years ago, when the Baluch lived, the vege tation upon which it fed must have been very abundant. The animal grew and grew without check. But the climate gradually changed and its food became less easy to ob tain. An Indian ele phant eats six hundred pounds of grass every day. One can imagine, therefore, what a vast quantity a Baluch must have consumed. As the vegetation disappeared the animal was faced with a seri ous problem. It must revise its entire mode of life, leave the coun try for better feeding grounds, or die. It was too highly spe cialized to adapt itself to changed conditions or to migrate. Thus the Baluchitheres com pletely disappeared at the end of the Oligo cene without ever hav ing left Asia. I had the good fortu NIGHT AND DAY THEY ARE ON A SILVER STANDARD The heavy cases, studded with turquoise and red coral, inclose the braid on each side of the head. Cumbersome as the ornaments are, these women of Outer Mongolia never remove them. me to find the first Baluch skull myself. Since then we have discovered a good many parts of the skele ton in different localities, but the largest bones were found by Shackelford. Shack announced one day at luncheon that he had found a bone as big as his body. We all laughed at that, but Gran ger, Thomson, and I went with him to a gray slope which dropped off abruptly into a deep ravine. Ten feet down the side lay a great white ball. Until I examined it I would not be lieve that it was bone, for it actually was as thick as Shackelford's body. A little brushing off of yellow sand showed it to be the head of a humerus, or upper arm bone. More brushing exposed its entire length and brought to light the end of an other massive shaft which ran deep into the hillside (see page 712). HILLSIDE REMOVED TO GET BALUCH SKELETON The humerus was as thick as a man's body and three and a half feet long. The second giant shaft proved to be the radius. It was nearly five feet in length and so heavy that two of us could hardly lift it. In order thoroughly to prospect the de posit, the side of the hill must be removed; it might reveal an entire skeleton.