After the Devonian, some recognizable sauropsids developed along with a new group, the synapsids (likely precursors to mammals). Then with the Permian-Triassic Extinction 250 million years ago, 96% of all species disappeared in the "Great Dying" of Earth's history......even our friend the dimetrodon. Volcanic activity seems to have led to bacteria getting a boost in methane production, resulting in a toxic environment. No other extinction resulted in so great a species loss.
Monday, June 28, 2021
Friday, June 25, 2021
The topic I am undertaking with Earth's development, evolution, and extinction events could take a semester or even a lifetime to study depending on the degree of detail one wishes to examine. For our purposes here, I will be as brief as possible. For topics like this, I usually would avoid Wiki" and go to a more established science platform, but since we are being general in our approach I will offer this link which will give a more detailed view than what I will share, but still be brief enough for basic understanding: (Link to Geologic Time Scale with events)
To begin, let's go back 4600 million years to the formation of the Earth from swirling clouds to a tumultuous rock. Eventually things cooled down and meteor and asteroid bombardments bring water to the planet. And not that long after water is introduced, very early proto-life develops in the form of nucleic acids and eventually simple self-replicating cells. But this takes time......a LOT of time. While evidence points to life as early as 4280 million years ago, it isn't until 4000 million years ago that we see fossil evidence of it. Eventually bacteria develop that produce............OXYGEN!
More complex cells develop with nuclei. And nearly 2000 million years later we see the Earth with an oxygen atmosphere. This is a game-changer and also important in realizing that evolution is not one-sided. Organisms don't merely adapt to a changing geological environment, but contribute to changing that environment by their mere presence. The development of the non-living characteristics of our planet is just as influenced by the presence of life, as life is influenced by the non-living aspects. Things are what they are because of this complex, often chance-orchestrated dance of circumstances.
Once cells become complex and begin to form very primitive multicellular organisms, the jump to more complex organisms seems wondrous. And about 540 million years ago life explodes across the seas in the "Cambrian Explosion" (not a destructive explosion like a bomb, but a very rapid diversification of complex life).
Thursday, June 24, 2021
STOP!!!!. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not yet taken the short, 5-question quiz in the previous post's Intro portion of this series, please do so before continuing. No need to post your answers....unless you want to, but these posts are about challenging your current beliefs about the Earth and our place in it. Naturally you'd want to see what your current beliefs are before seeing if you were right or not.
Welcome back! So how do you think you did? We have a pretty smart bunch of regulars here, so I am confident you nailed it........but let's see. Questions 1, 2, 3, & 5 can be answered in a few simple sentences: There have been 5 generally accepted mass extinction events since life first appeared with each event rendering at least 60% of the known species at the time extinct.
Some events even eliminated as many as 96% of certain species, which was much more than the 76% loss during the well-known "dinosaur extinction". Each event was the result of a set of circumstances that 'changed the game' for the current organisms and their demise then provided an opportunity for a new wave of lifeforms to fill the void, adapted to the new environment. Life would then exploit every niche...........right up until the next big change that wiped them out. Sometimes these changes in the environment were catastrophic accidents, geological changes, and even the result of the by-products or "emissions" of the predominant life forms themselves.
And since there were several Periods between a sterile planet and today, some creatures, like the dimetrodon previously pictured, were able to avoid confrontations with T-Rexes merely by never having lived alongside them, separated not by topography but instead by 200 million years!
Question #4 is a different story and we will get more into our place in this long equation as this piece develops. But before we do that, let's take things as they actually played out............succintly..........but with enough detail to tell a lucid story. Next time: The Pre-Cambrian and beyond- life doesn't begin instantly, but once it gets going.............BOOM!!! (I'll even throw in some kinky captions, LOL)
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
The art of being a good guest is to know when to leave.
~ Prince Philip.
While some debate whether we are truly in the beginning stages of the next mass extinction, the numbers seem to support the assertion. Species are disappearing fast, and we are accelerating the process.
I love to build things or take something old and decrepit and make it better than before. My house prior to this one qualified as a true 'fixer-upper'. I spent years turning it into something better than what I walked into. A couple of years ago our neighbor from across our street tried to do the same with his place, only to sink in an ever-deepening hole of frustration with each visible problem hiding worse problems underneath. Eventually he gave up and sold it. The new owner did not try to fix the place but rather razed it to its foundation and started fresh. The new house is a far cry from the previous dwelling. Sometimes you can't fix something and need to start fresh.
On a political level, I currently believe that to be true of our government right now. Nothing seems able to penetrate toxic partisanship, not a pandemic, not global warming, nothing. I have spent hours debating possible solutions with politically-savvy friends to no avail. Sadly, I just think we are at the end of our run. But this post is not about politics. It's about extinctions, because politics aside, everything I have seen in the recent decades of my lifetime indicate that as guests on this planet, we have long worn out our welcome.
But before I go about discussing extinction events, let's get a feel for where we all are on the facts. (For the sake of being a true indicator of where people's day-to-day awareness falls, please avoid looking up these topics and just answer from your gut instinct.)
KDP's Extinction Quiz
(sorry, no spanking questions....but really? haven't you answered them all by now, probably more than once?)
1: We all know about the dinosaurs and the meteor impact that likely caused or accelerated their demise, but was that the only time something like this happened? How many times do you think life came close to vanishing here?
2: When you think of an extinction event, what do you think is the percentage of lost species?
3: How did this guy avoid being eaten by a T-Rex?
4: What is your personal opinion on the relative significance of humans existing?
a: Very important and divinely ordained
b: Very important as this planet's highest evolutionary achievement
c: Important only to ourselves
d: A detriment, the most dangerous creature to have ever evolved
e: Neither important nor a detriment, just something that a series of chance events led to
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Remember when a question like: "Hey, did you ever notice that Charlie Chaplin and Oliver Hardy had the same moustache as Hitler?" might get a response like, "wow, you're right", or "yes I have" or "that's freaky"? That same question now, in our Age of Outrage Over Everything, is more likely to provoke some idiot to say, "how dare you compare Chaplin and Hardy to Hitler? Hitler killed millions of people. The other two were just comedians who only made people laugh!" even when that is not the comparison being made.
The Age of Outrage Over Everything has produced eager disciples ready to find the offense in any situation..........and if there's no offense present, you simply invent one. (The rampant stupidity I have seen flourish recently [last decade] sort of takes the sting out of living in the period of Earth's 6th mass extinction event.* But maybe it's time to wipe the slate almost clean, and start over with perhaps a less dangerous species being the dominant force on the planet?)
*Stay tuned. An entire post on mass extinctions will be coming in a few days or so. Unfortunately there won't be any spanking involved BUT perhaps I'll add spanking captions to the illustrations of the various Periods of the Earth's past?
Monday, June 21, 2021
Rosa and I went on a short, 4-day vacation to Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, to see the waterfalls of the area. Here's one:
To be honest, it was a very good trip with very few disappointments, and even those were minor. However, to be honest yet again, I am not in a great mood. The reasons for this are not anything I wish to discuss. At least not yet, and definitely not today, but I find it increasingly wearying to just not have things work out as planned or hoped for. The adult part of my brain knows this is just the way life works, but another part of me, while accepting the inevitability of disappointment, is not immune to resenting it.
I will post more when my mood changes.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
If you're into D/s, BDSM, etc., and used to things being unequal, have I got a game for you! Fox & Geese is a game that dates back to the Vikings and is admirable for one very unusual aspect: it is one of the only board games with unequal sides, often with different rules, vying to win in a balanced contest. Unfortunately that impressive distinction is also its biggest downfall. Achieving a balance between unequal sides is elusive at best, and may well be impossible.
Friday, June 4, 2021
Yesterday I had to pick up some butter, and I've always purchased "Land O Lakes" (unsalted, in half sticks). Now I'm fully aware of the whole package design reboot that coincided with the elimination of Aunt Jemima, et al, but time has not inured me to the change. In fact, yesterday, as I looked at the box, I couldn't help but think that the new design was FAR more insensitive than the old one.
Here is the old design:
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Sometimes you just can't predict how a post is going to go. Take this one for example. I had intended to take another sarcastic shot deriding the kinky captioning of 'innocent' and ad/stock photos to add my voice to Tomy's recent post. (See Tomy's blog "Tomy's Wife")
I intended to again see if the advocates of captioning as "fair game", and "perfectly OK" could condone some of my suggestions. My first offering was this stock photo, still sporting its watermark as an example of just what kinds of pictures are out there.