Saturday, 3 July 2010
A little excursion into paleobiology
I like science. I am interested in it. Any science, or nearly because there is science and science. You can study subjects at a university that may be worthwhile but only remotely related to science. So you can become a major in political science meaning you have got some coaching and training to con people into believing you will do something for them.
Or you can study theology so as to be mentally equipped to become a priest, a bishop, mullah, ayatollah, rabbi. Fully trained to speak convincingly about a specific eternal truth. However, you cannot study for a degree in animist religion, cargo cult (invented in Borneo), scientology, vodoo. Not yet. No, you cannot become a Science Major in Louisiana or Haitian Vodoo. That's a pity but so it is, for the time being!
No, the kind of science I am interested in are those branches where people try to find out, to understand, to improve.
Well, sorry, the stuff above is a digression. The subject right now is paleobiology, linked to evolution of animals and plants. People working in this field try to find out the evolutionary history of life.
The point I am interested in is the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 Million years ago. There was this big comet crashing somewhere on this unhappy planet and wham, all the dinos died. Those living on the land, on the ground and in the air and those living in and under the water.
In a nutshell: I don't believe it. Some must have survived. Why shouldn't they? The sharks exist for more than 400 Million years and they managed to stay with us. Same for the crocodiles that crawl around for about 200 Million years and they are still here. So why only the dinosaurs vanished totally in a very short time?
So my idea is that though most died when this killer planet made Mother Earth dive into a long Winter, some survived and carried on. I am even convinced the first humans must have met some of those last dinosaurs, the biggies, kind of Tyrannosaur, I suppose.
Why I think that? Because in all civilizations there is talk of dragons. And when you look at pictures of those dragons one frequently sees a kind of big, snake-like lizard with big claws.
Here, please look at this Chines bronze showing how these people imagined a dragon.
And this one is a German engraving showing Hercules slaying the Hydra, the ancient Greek mythological dragon.
This is the Klagenfurt Lindworm. Well, I don't think that proves anything but I show it nevertheless because this is a beautiful stature. However, if you have a look at the old coat of arms of that city, the dragon there looks very convincing.
This last sculpture shows a very impressive dragon on the Kaiserbrücke in Mains/Germany.
This is a bit out-of-the-way subject. I wonder if I have convinced anybody and some of my readers might think "I don't care". Sure, right or wrong, nothing changes either side. But the same is true for evolution vs. creation. However, the outcome of this little quarrel might have huge implications.