WHERE HAVE ALL THE DINOSAURS GONE? – Marilyn Armstrong

This post began because my husband is not fascinated by dinosaurs. He seemed a bit baffled as to why I’d want to write a story about dinosaurs. Should a dinosaur wander through my backyard, be assured that I will be out there taking pictures until either the huge reptile ambles away or eats me, whichever comes first.

Unlike many things which have adult origins — technology, philosophy, history — all the “ologies” and “osophies” that attended my education and subsequent research — my passion for dinosaurs goes all the way back, back, back in time to when I was four or five years old and my Aunt Ethel took me to see “Fantasia,” the original, not the later remake.

Who remembers in “Fantasia” the history of the earth, starring the rise and fall of the dinosaurs? It is set to Igor Stravinsky’s brilliant “The Rites of Spring.” The music itself might be enough, but with the Disney artists on their best game, it was something else and embedded itself in my mind for a lifetime.

None of the movie’s graphics were generated by computers. All of them … each frame … was drawn by human artists. The music was played live by an orchestra full of real musicians. Contrary to popular opinion, special effects were not invented by Steven Spielberg.

I was just a little kid and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I had nightmares for years about dinosaurs hiding under the bed, in the hallway, in my closet. I couldn’t sleep without a nightlight because I was sure there was a dinosaur lurking, ready to grab me in giant jaws with teeth 9 feet long. I was a child of great imagination and excessive sensitivity.

As I got older, I began to read books and discovered lots of really cool stuff about dinosaurs, most important (to me) was that North America — what is now the middle of the United States had been giant reptile central, the heartland of the Brontosaurus, Velociraptor and other astonishing creatures. Wyoming was the hot point where Tyrannosaurus Rex ruled. Perhaps their legacy lives on in Washington D.C. But I digress.

When this was made, the whole asteroid thing was yet unknown, so the history of the earth is missing that piece of information, but I’m sure Disney’s artists would have happily included it had they known. Meanwhile, I’m totally whacked at the idea of the earth getting hit by an asteroid. I always have a good laugh when someone in some space lab mentions, casually, that there’s an asteroid headed our way, but not to worry, there’s no better than a 50-50 chance it will really hit us.

That we pathetic creatures, crawling around the surface of the earth, believe we are all-powerful and can control our destiny by technology is funny. Not only has this planet been hit by asteroids — not once but many times — but each time, the event precipitated the extinction of Earth’s dominant species.

The dinosaurs lasted a lot longer than we have. Should one of those big hunks of space debris smack into us, I think it unlikely that all the computers, weaponry, technology or prayers we can muster will be of any use at all. Our collective ass will be grass without even the opportunity to text our best buddies about the impending big bang.

We will be gone, quite likely having had even less effect on our planet, in the final analysis, than did the dinosaurs.

Humankind has always suffered above all from the sin of pride. Hubris, as the Greeks called it. We think we are creatures of God and perhaps we are, but who said we are the only creatures of God or that He gave us a permanent free pass from extermination?

map-dinosaurs-1993

And this is what so fascinates me and probably always will. That these creatures, these huge, powerful creatures who ruled this planet for more years than we can comprehend were, in a single calamitous event, exterminated. Eliminated from the earth leaving just their bones by which to remember them. And we think we are so all-powerful. I bet they thought so, too.

But now, we won’t need an asteroid. We are going to do something that all the dinosaurs couldn’t do: we are going to make ourselves extinct. How cool is that?



Categories: Animals, Movies, Nature, Science, Technology

Tags: , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. We had some very interesting dinosaurs in Australia including the predecessors to the present day wombats and kangaroos. I remember seeing an exhibit in the Tasmanian Museum about 20 years ago called “Mega Fauna” about some of these creatures. It was very interesting. I’m pretty sure Naomi went to a dinosaur exhibit at the museum in Launceston a couple of years back too.

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  2. I understand your fascination, and think you may be right about the humans

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  3. But I did write about dinosaurs yesterday, nonetheless.

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  4. Would you believe, I’ve never seen Fantasia!!

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  5. Where have all the dinosaurs gone? Simple, they are sitting pretty in our “Senate”

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  6. Nova has a wonderful episode about the dinosaurs in Australia. It’s fascinating…
    Leslie

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  7. Good points, Marilyn.
    As for childhood dinosaurs, I remembering seeing the movie “Journey to the Center of the Earth” with Pat Boone. The dinosaurs fascinated me and scared me to death!

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  8. I still love that movie. Hand-drawn gels are so much better than digital art.
    When I was a child I had nightmares also. Years later while watching the movie as an adult I realized than some of the scenes in my dreams were based on the movie.
    We need to get the dinosaurs out of Congress. We’ve drained the swamp and now we can see all of them. It should be easy.

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