In the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of The Science of Discworld, the dinosaurs died out because… well, a lot of things happened. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
So, can’t say I have any personal connections to the extinction of dinosaurs without making one huge leap of reasoning, which ends at a surprising place: Revelations. Except that’s not all that surprising once you think about me and my own personal history, given that GLOOM AND DOOM was a huge part of my Christian upbringing. When I first learned about the dinosaurs, I was explicitly told – I kid you not! – that God was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs because they were evil. They did not fit in his plan. EVEN THOUGH HE CREATED THEM? Oh, dear reader, that logic was met with more resistance! Because God created the dinosaurs and then the dinosaurs sinned, and thus, he wiped them out, and therefore, we could be wiped out, too.
The apocalypse was frequently on my mind as a kid, which… you know, that was probably not a healthy thing to think about more than like… once a year. Do we wonder why I am full of anxiety??? (Just kidding, no one does, IT’S SO OBVIOUS.) This was another one of those things that I quickly realized had to be bullshit, but it’s still kind of haunting to think about. However, that’s largely because I was taught that the extinction was sudden, that a comet (WTF) hit the earth and then, like, a year later ALL WAS DEAD. So just in terms of having most of my understanding of the extinction demolished, this chapter was INCREDIBLE. Again, it’s hard to fathom the massive amounts of time that are used here, especially since I didn’t know that even the K/T event itself has not been decisively “proven” to be a single event. Species disappeared more rapidly, but this is the first time I’ve ever read about the multiple theories of what caused these species to disappear in a relatively short span of time. Of course, it doesn’t explain other species disappearing millions of years before the K/T event, and I also really want to know why other species survived it. (Not surprised about octopuses, though. NOT THE LEAST BIT SURPRISED.)
I would love to be able to study that period of time in a manner similar to the wizards and the Project. There’s just so much I want to know. I also imagine that hard-working scientists the world over have discovered a lot more information about this period in our history since The Science of Discworld was released and re-released. What else do we know? WHAT NEW INFORMATION IS THERE? Has anyone visited the site at Chicxulub before? WHAT IS IT LIKE??? Tell me everything, friends, I JUST LOVE DINOSAURS SO MUCH.
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