We know how life began on our planet 3.8 billion years ago, and how much it has transformed since then. From single-celled organisms with no reasoning ability to humans with somewhat god-like ability—we have come a long way. And in this illustrious journey, we have seen a lot of diverse beings that reigned over the Earth at one point of the time or the other. Nature made all these beings evolve from their primitive form to a developed form. But why was evolution made a thing by the nature? Why did we need to evolve?
Seeing the flow of the nature, it seems that it is very caring of the beings it gives home to. The first bacteria could have stayed the same and reigned the Earth, but they evolved because they were too small for any good. Nature helped them grow into bigger and better beings so that they can explore the nature better. And in the process, the nature ended up giving birth to the biggest beings this planet has ever seen—dinosaurs.
I find dinosaurs so fascinating in this journey because they were the reason, according to me, that made nature make way for the humankind.
Let me go in details on this one.
You don’t need to be a scientist to know about the animal body types. There are mainly two body types: endothermic, and ectothermic. In simple words, endothermic animals are those animals that produce their own heat, and ectothermic animals are those animals that gains heat through the environment. Animals such as reptiles, most fish, and amphibians are examples of ectothermic animals who rely on outside sources to warm up or cool down their body temperature. On the other hand, mostly birds and mammals, including humans, are endothermic who unconsciously use their metabolism as a way of regulating their body temperature.
You are supposed to know this because no matter what happens to the climate, either it heats up or it cools down, the animals possessing one of the physiological characteristics, say it’s endothermic, or ectothermic, should survive. As for the dinosaurs, it is not known whether they were endothermic in nature or ectothermic which makes it hard to conclude why the dinosaurs didn’t survive the climate change like the birds and the mammals if they were endothermic, or why they didn’t survive the climate change like the reptiles and the fishes if they were ectothermic. Or can there be a possibility that the dinosaurs had a unique physiological characteristic apart from endothermic and ectothermic? If so, why were they so special? If life evolved from a single cell then we all must have these things in common. There is no question that the dinosaurs had some different physiological characteristic. They were definitely either endothermic or ectothermic. This makes it hard for me to believe that the dinosaurs went extinct because of climate change in general.
To move further, if we consider the other theories like the Asteroid Impact Theory, Deccan Volcanism Theory, Rise of the Sea Levels Theory, Epidemic Disease Theory, Egg-eating Theory, etc., they all make sense making it hard to get the actual answer, but all the major theories go back to climate change, ending the argument.
It is hard to say what actually killed the dinosaurs, but whatever the cause, the answer won’t justify why nature abandoned the idea of ‘the bigger the better’. In this case, we need to consider other things to understand why the nature let tiny humans (compared to dinosaurs) evolve with intelligence.
According to my research, the Asteroid Impact Theory is highly accepted by people, then comes the Deccan Volcanism.
When I went deeper into these theories, I found that dinosaurs could have survived their mass extinction after all if they were intelligent enough.
The asteroid impact was surely a deadly event, but it didn’t wipe out the dinosaurs right away, their time started slipping away a long time ago before the asteroid hit Chicxulub. The dates show that the Deccan volcanos started erupting way before the impact poisoning the environment. However, as the geographical studies show, Deccan Traps exist in India, which is a part of the Indian subcontinent. Many dinosaur fossils have been found in India and its neighbouring countries proving the fact that dinosaurs existed in the land of Indian subcontinent. Here, if you study the Plate Tectonics Theory, you will find that the Indian subcontinent was just an island off of the east coast of what is now Africa during the time these Deccan volcanos are supposed to be erupting. Even if the Deccan volcanos continued erupting for a long time, I don’t think their effect could have reached Africa, Australia, Antarctica, North America, South America, or Europe. You can give this theory enough praise for explaining extinction of dinosaurs in Asia and maybe some parts of Africa and Europe, but I don’t think it was able to grievously harm all the dinosaurs.
If Deccan volcanos were to kill off the dinosaurs that far away from them, it would have had to pollute the air and water tremendously. In that case, a pollution that powerful, would have killed off not only the dinosaurs, but all the living beings from the face of the Earth. The reason behind the disappearance of dinosaurs is not the volcanic eruptions. Or is it?
To dig deeper into it and to put two and two together, it is better if we go for the Hybrid Theory (Deccan Volcanism + Asteroid Impact Theory).
Here, if we consider them together, we can say the volcanos started the extinction and the asteroid gave the process a big hand.
I think the volcanos could have been really deadly for all the living beings, but the asteroid helped in one way to change the atmosphere, but that’s not my argument.
Now, if you consider the position of the Chicxulub crater during the end of the Mesozoic Era, the impact could have possibly ended the life of dinosaurs in South America, North America, Europe, Africa, and some parts of Antarctica and Asia. Still, there is no possibility that any of these disasters were able to reach Australia. In the midst of volcanos and asteroids, Australia was chilling just fine. If none of these big disasters were able to reach Australia, Australia should have been the single place on Earth where dinosaurs roamed still now. The movie Jurassic Park could have been a reality! But what happened to the dinosaurs in Australia, what went wrong with them?
There are various other theories about the extinction of the dinosaurs other than these two major theories as I have mentioned above. If we consider all those other theories to have played a role in the extinction process, all at the same time, we can say they were enough to manage to wipe out the dinosaurs in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia too. But the thing to notice, and to consider most importantly is: there is no evidence that the dinosaurs existed in Australia during the time of their extinction.
The most recent dinosaur fossil found in Australia is about a hundred million years old, which is way before the mass extinction. Also, there hasn’t been enough discovery of dinosaur fossils in Australia, which clearly suggests that the dinosaurs didn’t really make this part of land their home. Over the past century, just a few dinosaur fossils have been discovered in Australia—which is a very small number compared to dinosaur fossils found all around the world. The dinosaur species that exist in Australia must be from the time it was a part of Antarctica, but as it drifted off, it isolated them from the world and they went extinct for the various reasons given by the other theories.
If this deduction makes sense to you, you can say that the dinosaurs could have survived their extinction if they could forecast the calamities and moved to Australia.
It was a long journey for them indeed, but they couldn’t survive because they weren’t intelligent enough. This might have made the nature change its approach from big is better to sentience is better. And how are we proving the nature?
Even with the intelligence the nature has provided us to see us grow and survive, we tend to do the opposite. Instead, we keep dragging ourselves to our own demise. This makes me wonder, if big is not better, and intelligence is not better either, what the nature would come up with after we have ended ourselves.