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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

TULLY: A Really Small Monster


Tullimonstrum gegarium, known as the Tully Monster, lived 300 million years ago and has been found only in Illinois.  Why Tully?  Because Francis Tully in 1958 took fossil specimens to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.  Surely looks like the Loch Ness Monster, and speculations are they could be related:


Do not confuse Tully with the Telly Monster, who lives at 1304 Sesame Street:

Tully has status, being the Illinois State Fossil, and was a carnivore, exhibited in the Illinois State Museum.  Some early versions were thought to be more a soft-bodied cuttlefish:


However, sixteen scientists co-authored a letter in Nature earlier this year, stunning paleontologists that Tully, actually, is a vertebrate, that is, has a backbone.  How serious were they?  Some organization paid them, I guess, to compare Tully with 1,200 specimens to arrive at this conclusion.  In Morris, Illinois, you can even have a drink at Tully Monster, a pub and grill.


Tully kind of looks like a lamprey, and that's the mouth.  While monster conjures gargantuan visions, the reality is that Tully was less than a foot long, here with Francis Tully in the center photo:


Yes, Tully is a really small monster.

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