Hardly. But the possibility that the dinosaurs might have survived a cataclysmic meteor strike 66 million years ago has been raised by scientists. This is the most interesting story of the year so far.
Wrong place. Wrong time. Dinosaurs didn't have to die off, but the space impact that blasted the Earth some 66 million years ago arrived at a most inopportune moment for the long-time rulers of the planet, according to a report released Monday....
"If the asteroid hit five million years later or earlier, the dinosaurs might still be around," says paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the United Kingdom's University of Edinburgh, a member of the report panel that included experts from leading dinosaur museums and universities worldwide. "An impact would have been horrible for them, but they had survived dips and dives for more than 150 million years," he says....
Essentially, the review suggests that the big plant eaters, the horned ceratops and duck-billed hadrosaurs, were keystone species in dinosaur ecology. Their species-wide similarity and lack of diversity pointed to dinosaurs having fewer places of refuge, no alternative prey and fewer adaptive characteristics to rely on, once the asteroid hit.
The impact plunged the Earth into a global firestorm followed by decades of "impact winter," triggering the loss of perhaps 75 percent of all species worldwide, including the non-avian dinosaurs.
Some juicy alternatives spring to mind.
- Mammals, from which we are descended, blossomed after the dinosaurs disappeared. I kind of doubt that man and dinosaurs could have coexisted. So if humans, with their superior brain power, had not existed would an intelligent dinosaur have evolved over 66 million years. I can't find anyone who can answer that questions, but imagine the world being run by one subset of a dinosaur species, such as humans, a subspecies of mammals, now ruling the Earth. Would dinosaurs have treated Mother Earth better than we are?
- Suppose for the sake of discussion that humans and dinosaurs did somehow live side-by-side? Someone probably has already made a movie about that.
Imagine the implications for say, religion, if dinosaurs had survived and humans never existed. Would God's "only begotten Son" have not be crucified? Would God have sent his Son in the person of a dinosaur to save that race of sinners? (My apologies to the faithful. Such questions fascinate me.)
Imagine dinosaur technology. How do you build an airplane to hold 250 dinosaurs?
What was America's greatest come-from-behind war? Go here to find out.
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