On Easter Sunday, 2009, in the Perigord region of France a local landowner, Eustace Levond, made a fascinating discovery. He was out looking for truffles in the forest when his pig, Emile, disappeared down a hole near the edge of a cliff.
Eustace was distraught and brought a spade to find Emile whose oinks were becoming less audible by the minute. Eustace eventually found Emile in a cave and was about to revive him with some Armagnac when he noticed a strange shape protruding from a layer of red shale. Levond dropped his brie, baguette, and beret in astonishment. When he had revived both Emile and himself, Eustace cleaned away the soil from the shape and found what looked like a large, ancient bone. Eustace immediately phoned his friend at the University of Toulouse, Professor Armand le Notre, who worked in the Paleontology department.
Armand carefully examined the shape and deduced that it was a dinosaur bone, almost certainly a hyoid or throat bone from a large reptile. There was also a rudimentary voicebox preserved in the rock, which le Notre believed would allow the animal to make a variety of noises. Judging by the teeth found in the beast’s skull, the reptile would have been a meat-eater and so the variety of noises the animal would have made would all have been related to the same thing i.e. consuming fresh, raw meat.
Le Notre commented thus: “The dinosaur would have emitted high-pitched noises to scare smaller animals such as dogs and birds out of the forest and into the open, whereas it would have used lower pitched noises to frighten the larger plant-eating dinosaurs of the open savannah. Either way, the variety of noises would have all meant the same thing – I want to eat you, mon ami.”
Le Notre decided to name the beast the Theosaurus, or God’s lizard, because it was originally discovered over Easter. After pressure from evangelical Christian paleontologists in the USA, the name was contracted to Thesaurus in 2011.