Faces of Death 2

2 May 2009

Last time, we looked at various portraits of a weak-ass minor planet getting effed up by our atmosphere before getting royally bitch slapped by our lithosphere.  Anyone with a passing interest in dinosaurs will know that strike of the space-junk, while widely accepted (though see recent meso-profile critiques), is but one of countless etiologies proposed for terminal Cretaceous bummer days.

You might think that protracted catastrophes like pestilence, climate change and famine offer less in the way of dramatic potential than a body of a certain mass rapidly attempting to occupy the same space as a much more massive body.  If so, you should probably read more.

At all points the dinosaurs that had trampled the earth till the grasses grew, the most superb of all vertebrates, the creatures that fix the imagination above all others, are seen to fail. The growth forces and the responses to environment were no longer in adjustment. Eggs were few, their loss from attack devastating, life slow. The young were the prey of their own kind, and the race had lived long enough for reptiles lower in life’s scale to threaten. If new enemies were needed they were at the jungle-edge. Geologic change that once would have meant mere fluctuation in habitat affected the declining numbers disastrously, and what such change and the reptiles soon to rule in the forests of the Eocence may have failed to accomplish, senility did. That long dinosaurian day was done. Its sun was sinking beneath the horizon forever. (Wieland 1925).

15 years later Disney took a stab, note that it anticipated Bataan by at least a year.  Talk about zeitgeist.  While drought and desertification deal the fatal blow (with some help from miring), major geologic upheaval kicks in as an epilogue. We can talk about this and Lyell, and Agassiz some time.

Now, assuming you are are as sick of asteroid porn and dinosaurs as I am you will want to hear about the mass dysphoria induced by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring courtesy of radio lab.

2 Responses to “Faces of Death 2”

  1. Zach Miller Says:

    *raises hand*

    Why would the tyrannosaurs be dying instead of feasting on all the duckbills STANDING AROUND THEM?

  2. Neil Says:

    Too thirsty to eat, probably.


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