Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by gturner, Sep 19, 2013.
So, there's that.
I don't care how scientifically accurate it is, the idea of a T-Rex with downy feathers always strikes me as silly.
Call me crazy...
It often amazes me how much our knowledge of dinosaurs has changed since I was a kid. When I was born, the idea that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, often feathered, and evolved into birds wasn't generally accepted. These days, it's practically a mundane fact.
Now just imagine him chirping. "Chirp! Chirp! CHOMP!"
Good thing that I watched Jurassic Park when it was still cool and not inaccurate. These scientists ruin everything.
And then he has to spit out a mouthful of feathers. "Pfewww! Pfthewwww!"
That's ok, the eventual remake is inevitable!
^ While it's entirely possible to justify scaly Dinosaurs through the frog DNA, I do hope a reboot tries to reflect modern Dinosaur understanding, just like the original one did (making them athletic animals as opposed to lumbering beasts).
I'm reminded of this
Anyway, the evolution of feathers is interesting because they now seem to predate flight. The proto-feathers that seem to resemble hair particularly intrigues me. I'm curious to see what developments will follow in our understanding in this field. More knowledge is a good thing, regardless of whether or not it changes someone's childhood perceptions.
Even the asteroid impact that wiped most of them out wasn't even a theory until 1980, when I was in Kindergarten.
Although we also have to keep in mind that not all dinosaurs had feathers, and not all evolved into birds. They were a hugely diverse group of animals. I do remember seeing many years ago a fossil that had an imprint of dinosaur skin (unknown which dinosaur), and it looked bumpy like a collection of gravel, and definitely didn't have feathers.
I still lament the non-existence of the Brontosaurus.
We figured out giant bones were of lizard-like creatures and not giant humans around the same time we invented the telegraph, made the first trains and were working on the first general purpose computer.
And dinosaurs were huge. Imagine if the human civilization dies, and another one emerges in a million years, they'll probably be oblivious of our existence by the time they start their space program, and would figure out we had a civilization of our own right about... now.
I remember watching the VOY episode, Distant Origins, which had in it a background story that said that a dinosaurs species achieved sentience and became intelligent enough to travel in space.
I know it is just fiction, but is there any chance that a species that lived millions of years before us could have achieved sentience. I am not only talking about dinosaurs but other ancient species as well. Animals have been around for 600 millions years at least.
At least Jurassic Park was the first dinosaur movie to depict T. rex as a fast, agile predator that carried the weight of its body balanced on its pelvic girdle like a seesaw, unlike previous depictions that showed the creature walking more or less upright and dragging its tail.
Oh, it exists. It's just called Apatosaurus.
(And why is Firefox suggesting that I correct that to Brontosaurus?)
The Kangasaurus posture.
Why not? We will never knw of course, but sentience is not a magical thing that "BOOM" appears suddenly after x numbers of evolutonary steps.
It's all gradual and some degree of sentience is very possible I think.
Most animals would score somewhere on the sentience scale.
I would put dolphins pretty high on that scale... how long have they been around?
The bigger problem is that a civilization requires more than sentience and intelligence. Things like hands, fingers, ability to vocalize, body posture, environment, incentives such as physical disadvantages against predators, curiosity and so on. Great apes are the only ones who seems to possess all that right now, and we were the ones to make a civilization, everyone else with some kind of disadvantage didn't. Maybe other species had a tendency to evolve a greater intelligence, but without all the rest, had not enough use for it and didn't.
Even if there's a very intelligent group of dolphins somewhere to speak a complex language worthy of a prehistoric human tribe, they are unlikely to develop a writing system, to use anything beyond the simplest tools, or to ever process materials and objects in any significant way. Anything short of an interaction with humans would leave them primitive in the short term (millions of years). Same thing for, say, the cleverest of dogs. Elephants seem to have some remarkable skills for manipulating things with their trunks, so they could be onto something one day. Bears as dog's cousins are not exactly the stupidest of creatures, and also seem to be in the middle of discovering how to use their evolving front paws to grab things. Too bad squirrels are not good in the brain department – those creatures are dexterous. And worse, none of those creatures come close to apes and dolphins (or do they? selective breeding done by humans might come to the rescue)
Speaking of dinosaurs, they didn't do bad either. Parrots and crows are little geniuses. Although they are handicapped physically and aren't going anywhere, they seem to be an indication that the civilization could have sprung from the dinosaur lineage, not our own. Distant Origin is not that crazy. We just got lucky. But assuming a tendency of growing complexity and intelligence, it is unlikely (but not impossible) for there to have been dinosaur Einsteins, even the wisest birds of today aren't wiser than many mammals, I am assuming their ancestors were only dumber.
But as unlikely as it is, thinking of an undiscovered dinosaur species that used and built tools, built houses, cooked food, etc., is truly fascinating and gets me dreamy. Not knowing how easy intelligence evolves makes it worth pondering at least. I adore the image of velociraptors opening doors.
Cheetah's chirp. I know they're not giant lizards or raptors, but the sound seems incongruous just the same.
So, I gather you're not one of those people who throws a tantrum because Pluto is no longer considered a planet, just because that's the way you learned it as a kid. "Planet 10, real soon."
Thank you for posting this article. I thought it was really cool and so did my two very sweet little pet dinosaurs. (I have a Diamond Dove and Budgerigar Parakeet.)
I'm not sad that we figured out Apatosaurus was the same creature and how it actually looked. However, Brontosaurus was the better name of the too, so I'm sad they didn't choose that (regardless of who was first).
I am not. I never expected it to change because people were used to it, but it was hard to defend Pluto being a planet and not all the other similarly-sized bodies in our solar system. I think it's a good change. Pluto will be taught, just as an example of a Dwarf Planet instead.
Separate names with a comma.