EPISODE 462 OF HUMANS AND DINOSAURS AND SURVIVAL
Note: I originally wrote this article in 2018 for no particular reason.
Interest in our short time on planet earth might have been the reason.
Today the issue of Climate Change seems to be accelerating. So
the story below may have current interest. It is a much shortened version of the original. No doubt I have made mistakes in this
article so consider it an early primer rather than a definitive authority.
An article to make you wonder.
We dominate the planet earth in this year 2021. Sure. Iinsects outnumber us but we…human beings,..dominate this obscure planet in our obscure solar systemin a universe so large that we cannot ever understand its size. We are home here on earth. We move around a lot using. for the most part, mysterious pools of oil that we find hereand there beneath the earth’s surface. Oil created by the pressure of ancient sediments on the equally ancient bodies of creatures that once lived on our earth millions and millions of yearsago. Creatures deep in the depths of time that once dominated the earth as we do today. How long were these creatures around? A lot longer that we have been. Millions of yearslonger than us. Hard to believe…very hard to believe.
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Reconstructed faces of homo erectus, our ancient ancestor who seems to have emerged some 2 to 4.5 million years ago. (various sources) Homo Sapiens, (ourselves in other words) emerged from homo erectus some 400,000 to 600,000 years ago. (various sources)
Both of these people (term?) could walk erect which freed their hands for the making of tools. Tool making took a long time to reach today’s incredible sophistication. One break point was the emergence of civilized
society in ancient Irag some 2,000 to 3, 000 years ago. What tool? Lots to choose from but for the sake of argument I have chosen the pencil. Pencil? OK, wrong term but you will get the idea. Ancient Sumerians developed
a form of writing using a sharpened stick making a variety of indentations on wet clay. So the Sumerian form of a pencil, to my mind, was the break point between a nomadic intelligent human beings and settled civilized
human beings with more time on their hands to invent increasingly more sophisticated tools culminating in the iPhone of today.
How long have we been around”? Not very long at all. Creatures from which we have evolved were moving about on land and sea some six million years ago. But they were notremotely like us really. They just became us. Modern humans evolved 200,000 years ago I am told. They may have looked like us a bit. But shocking to modern eyes. Creatures like us are very recentwanderers through the thin atmosphere that hugs planet earth. Only 6,000 years ago did we emerge and began our way to dominance.None of this would have happened had trees and plants not emerged first. Green plants breathe in CO2…extract the carbon…and exhale oxygen. Our atmosphere contains the 20% oxygen that we need to breathe. If we climb too high on our mountain ranges, we cannot breathe. We die. We dare not delve deep into our oceans for we are unwelcome there.Civilization as we know it today…industrial civilization…emerged just 200 years ago with the industrial revolution. My oh my have we done well. We are tool users and tool makerspar excellence. We are also extremely vain. Few of us ever think about our tenancy on this round ball hurtling through space. Most of us think we will always behere…all 7 billion of us. Our population has doubled in less than 100 years. A hundred years is just a fleck of time…nothing.“Change,” it has been said, “is the only sure thing in life.” Change, however, can be very slow when measured against the lifespan of human beings. Almost imperceptible really.Changes are happening though. I noticed the first Opossum in Ontario just 30 years ago. Now those sharp nosed, rat tailed, creatures are common in Ontario. Not as cold up hereas it used to be. And the gingko trees, most ancient red on earth, are moving north as well. Disconcerting things are happening. Frogs are disappearing. Frogs that oncenumbered in the billions sometimes so thick on country roads that they were squished by our rubber tired gasoline consuming transport machines. Changes are happening. The greatsheets of ice that once capped the north and south poles of planet earth are melting. Our planet is getting hotter. This heat is changing earth as we know it.Where is this going? First, I would like to prick our ego inflated vanity. And second, having achieved my first goal, I would like to consider those ancient creatureswho preceded us millions and millions of years ago. In particular the dinosaurs. These huge creatures were not alone on the earth but their fossilized remains have struck wonderinto human psyches from the first moment they were found. For the last two centuries, while our inventions have made life easier for all of us, we have at the same time marvelledat the bones, the teeth in particular, found in ancient sedimentary rocks. This includes coal deposits. Coal has been created by the compressed bodies of ancient forests whosedeaths were abruptly covered by mud and water where they could not rot and return to the atmosphere as rotting vegetation normally does. In among these sedimentary layers ofrock were the fossilized bones of creatures once dominating the earth as we dominate today.Two events have triggered this interest on my part. First is my bathroom reading material of late. A BBC book on the ages of dinosaurs. A book that makes my mind soar deep into a dark past thatI cannot fully understand. The second event occurred at a warehouse remainder sale on Cawthra Road. A salvage operation where goods gathered from bankruptcies are marketed cheaply.Among the goods on November 22, 2018, was a collection of dinosaur claws…evil looking things designed to rip flesh. The ancient residents of our earth was ‘red in tooth and claw’ asDarwinians would say. “Survival of the Fittest’ was real and happened over millions of years. Slowly. ”Extinctions happened in the deep past. At least five major extinction events have been identified by earth scientists. All five are somewhat mysterious. the extinction event thatwiped out the dinosaurs is thought to be the arrival of a large meteor that slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and covered the earth with so much dust that the sun could notbreak through to trigger photosynthesis denying living creatures plants to eat and plants to maintain a livable level of oxygen. That happened 65 million years ago most scientistsbelieve. Other, even more devastating extinction events have occurred deeper in the past. Just staring at the moon on a nice summer evening or on a crisp winter night should remindus that we have been bombarded by space objects in the past. The surface of the moon is devoid of life…no water (or very little water frozen in its icy form)…nothing obscures the beating it has taken…each meteor has left a mark.EB774BB8-E652-4809-9AE5-13D8001C5D13@hitronhub.home>” src=”blob:https://mail.google.com/83430ac0-6dcb-446f-acc3-2e8c49b9cd24″ alt=”Ni1AidyVSxKl3qkvPmroFw_thumb_977b2.jpeg” class=”gmail-Apple-web-attachment gmail-Singleton” type=”application/x-apple-msg-attachment” style=”opacity: 1;”>7D5CF7A7-2C26-41FC-9195-596EB5B33F73@hitronhub.home>” src=”blob:https://mail.google.com/7b294da4-c815-4e0a-b9e1-7785eb601ccd” alt=”8M3XHD2xQlikj4GjxRf2EQ_thumb_977b5.jpeg” class=”gmail-Apple-web-attachment gmail-Singleton” type=”application/x-apple-msg-attachment” style=”opacity: 1;”>D8B8F9CE-2438-4D66-8F18-F3AC787B9CDD@hitronhub.home>” src=”blob:https://mail.google.com/9acf52a0-0a7c-456c-bcca-6bb058128e5e” alt=”3RYkRZKtRBqWT3W3R29AnA_thumb_977b1.jpeg” class=”gmail-Apple-web-attachment gmail-Singleton” type=”application/x-apple-msg-attachment” style=”opacity: 1;”>
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Amazing that these vicious looking fingers from two ancient dinosaurs have survived. One is a replica of the hooked thumb of Boronyxm a creature that lived in the Early Cretaceous Period some
125 million years ago. And the other is the first toe of a dinosaur familiar to us all, good old Tyranosaurus Rex who gorged himself (herself) on the flesh of other dinosaurs up until his abrupt extinction 65 million years ago.
He (or she) was the last of the dinosaurs. Tyranosaurus Rex dinosaurs emerged late in the age of dinosaurs but still lived for millions of years. Let’s arbitrarily say TR (acronym) species existed for two million years…evolving 67 million years ago and terminated by that massive meteor 65 million years ago. Two million years TR’s scavenged flesh wherever it was found.
So what? So we human beings emerged 200,000 years ago but really appeared “Human” 6,000 years. Even then we were primitive creatures. The sophisticated humans who could write and
form civilized society are 2,000 years old linked to Sumerian civilization in modern day Iraq. So let’s compare our longevity to that of TR. 2 million divided bye 200,000 means we have been around only .001 years compared.
if the number 6,000 is divided into 2 million the result is .00003. Mere infants. And if we chose ancient Sumer as the year we became fully evolved the number becomes .00001. Hopefully we will live for more than 2 million years as did TR. But the prospects are not good. We may be just a flash in the pan; as they say.
POSTSCRPT: IN case you meet a TR, remember he or she can
out run you. Were creatures like us around in the age of dinosaurs?
Yes….our mammal ancestors were there, probably as mice like creatures which were too small for TR to want to eat. By good luck these tiny
mammals seem to have survived the fifth extinction. How? I have no idea…
A89D92F5-D276-4AD6-B7E7-865B83534810@hitronhub.home>” src=”blob:https://mail.google.com/9d8da58f-5ce9-45a2-b879-befcb4e095c6″ alt=”Tyrannosaurus by Paul Heaston” type=”application/x-apple-msg-attachment” class=”gmail-td-attachment-page-image gmail-Apple-web-attachment gmail-Singleton” style=”opacity: 1;”>Quick Tyrannosaurus Facts
- This dinosaur had 60 razor sharp teeth
- The teeth on the Tyrannosaurus could be up to 9 inches long
- This dinosaur used its tail to maintain balance
- The Tyrannosaurus weighed as much as an Asian Elephant
- This dinosaur’s top speed was about 18 MPH—faster than humans!