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Thread: What if the Dinosuars Never Went Extinct?

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    What if the Dinosuars Never Went Extinct?




    The extinction of the dinosaurs was most probably caused by an asteroid hitting the Earth - but what would have happened if the giant space rock had missed?

    For a long time it was thought that dinosaurs were a lumbering, cold-blooded extinction just waiting to happen. Even the word dinosaur has come to mean something that has outlived its time.

    The scientific argument was that as cold-blooded creatures, dinosaurs would not have stood a chance of surviving an ice age.

    "According to the first imaginings of palaeontologists and the general public about dinosaurs, we thought of them as reptiles," says Kristi Curry-Rogers, from the Science Museum of Minnesota.

    "'Reptile' is a word which comes with a lot of other connotations, like cold-blooded, slow-moving, sprawling, scaly skins, kind of stupid."

    But more recent discoveries, such as dinosaur fossils in both polar regions, reveal that these animals were far more adaptable than previously thought.

    Dr Curry-Rogers has analysed fossilised bones from Late Cretaceous (65-99 million years ago) dinosaurs and found them to have more in common with mammals and birds than reptiles.


    They were the superlatives; they were the biggest, the heaviest, the meanest, the longest. You name it, dinosaurs were it
    Prof Phil Currie, University of Alberta
    The evidence points to them being fast-growing and, crucially, that at least some of them were warm-blooded to some degree.

    "They were perfectly well-adapted to deal with the problems of maintaining a body temperature," Dr Curry-Rogers told the BBC's Horizon programme.

    In other words, some of the dinosaurs were more than equipped to survive almost anything that the evolving planet had to throw at them.

    Ongoing domination

    "They were the superlatives; they were the biggest, the heaviest, the meanest, the longest. You name it, dinosaurs were it," says fellow palaeontologist Phil Currie, from the University of Alberta in Canada, who has access to one of the richest areas of dinosaur research in the world.

    "The badlands of Alberta clearly show that at the end of the Cretaceous, dinosaurs were extremely successful still," says Professor Currie, who points to dozens of different dinosaur species living in that one environment at the same time.


    People-watching at the local supermarket

    More details
    Had the asteroid missed, he believes, dinosaurs would have continued to dominate.

    "We wouldn't have the modern animals that we're used to. Giraffes and elephants and so on; they just wouldn't have evolved because dinosaurs would still be here," says Professor Currie.

    Instead of elephants, there would be large plant-devouring sauropods. In place of lions on the plains of Africa would be tyrannosaurs.

    Adaptable dinosaurs had it all covered. Dinosaurs could have comfortably colonised many environments, from polar conditions to regions of rivers and forests, jungle and deserts.

    A world with dinosaurs in it would be at the expense of most, if not all, of the mammals that we are familiar with today - and all that we rely on them for. No cows, no sheep, no cats equal no milk, no leather, no wool, no domestic companionship.

    But milk aside, there could be perfectly suitable dino-substitutes of all kind. A Protoceratops could be as farmable as a pig with the bonus of providing eggs. And an amenable Heterodontosaurus might make a perfect pet. Great with children.

    They could even have adapted to current-day habitats, dining on suburban dustbins.

    Something like us

    Perhaps the most advanced dinosaur at the time of the extinction was the Troodon which was "as cunning as a fox", according to palaeontologist Larry Witmer of Ohio University.

    They were small, upright, bi-pedal dinosaurs which lived in large groups. By studying the brain cavity, Witmer has found evidence they possessed good vision and even potentially had a brain structure compatible with problem-solving.

    "If Troodon were around today, co-existing with humans, we'd probably call it a pest," says Professor Witmer.

    It's unlikely mammals and dinosaurs could have shared power
    With its substantial brain, long grasping hands and big eyes, could Troodon have evolved to become more intelligent?

    Evolutionary palaeo-biologist Dr Simon Conway Morris believes they could even have evolved along the lines of primates or humans.

    "The human is extraordinarily well designed," he says. The whole arrangement is actually designed for a particular mode of life, which, as you can see looking around us, is incredibly successful.

    "If it's such a good solution for us, is it so difficult to imagine it could be a good solution for a dinosaur, therefore a 'dinosauroid'?"

    But most palaeontologists see the dinosauroid as an insult to dinosaurs.

    "Dinosaurs probably would have continued along their dinosaurian trajectory, getting bigger brains and bigger eyes," says Kristi Curry-Rogers.

    "But I doubt seriously that any dinosaur would ever end up looking like a person, and it is fairly arrogant to think that the end point of all evolutionary trajectories should sort of emulate human beings."

    If the asteroid had missed, there probably wouldn't be humans here today either to find out how it would have turned out.

    The impact that ended the golden age of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago made for an extremely bad dinosaur day but it was also a very good mammal day.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6444811.stm

    More on the "dinosauroid"




    In 1982, Dale Russell, then curator of vertebrate fossils at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa, conjectured a possible evolutionary path that might have been taken by Troodon had it not perished in the K/T extinction event 65 million years ago, suggesting that it could have evolved into intelligent beings similar in body plan to humans. Over geologic time, Russell noted that there had been a steady increase in the encephalization quotient or EQ (the relative brain weight when compared to other species with the same body weight) among the dinosaurs.[23] Russell had discovered the first Troodontid skull, and noted that, while its EQ was low compared to humans, it was six times higher than that of other dinosaurs. If the trend in Troodon evolution had continued to the present, its brain case could by now measure 1,100 cm3; comparable to that of a human. Troodontids had semi-manipulative fingers, able to grasp and hold objects to a certain degree, and binocular vision.[9]

    Russell proposed that this "Dinosauroid", like most dinosaurs of the troodontid family, would have had large eyes and three fingers on each hand, one of which would have been partially opposed. As with most modern reptiles (and birds), he conceived of its genitalia as internal. Russell speculated that it would have required a navel, as a placenta aids the development of a large brain case. However, it would not have possessed mammary glands, and would have fed its young, as birds do, on regurgitated food. He speculated that its language would have sounded somewhat like bird song.[9][24]

    Previously, in his 1977 book, The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence, author Carl Sagan had speculated about the related genus Saurornithoides evolving into into ever more intelligent forms in the absence of any extinction event. In a world dominated by Saurornithoides, Sagan mused, arithmetic would be Base 8 rather than Base 10.

    Russell's thought experiment has been met with criticism from other paleontologists since the 1980s, many of whom point out that his Dinosauroid is overly anthropomorphic. Gregory S. Paul (1988) and Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., consider it "suspiciously human" (Paul, 1988) and Darren Naish has argued that a large-brained, highly intelligent troodontid would retain a more standard theropod body plan, with a horizontal posture and long tail, and would probably manipulate objects with the snout and feet in the manner of a bird, rather than with human-like "hands".
    Wikipedia: Troodon

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    Personally, I'm glad they're gone. The idea of being breakfast for a T. Rex doesn't exactly appeal to me.

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    I doubt that Humans would had been an speices.
    Dinosuars were wipe out by a space comment that change the earth compeletly resulting in new species that were well suited for earth ect.....Humans.

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    Dinosaurs never went extinct entirely. Birds are dinosaurs, and many of the reptiles too. Sharks may be a branch of dinosaurs, as well as other big cartilaginous fish and turtles.

    Australia with its unique animal kingdom also may still have a lot of dinos, they stopped speciating when laying eggs and being mammal was not yet a contradiction.


    I've always hated this image of the super-primitive dinos, because there have been species among them which were neither stupid nor slow, who formed herds which requires social abilities (=measureable intelligence), who co-existed with other dino groups and so on. But yeah, something human-like might have not been a result of further evolution of the dinos uninterrupted by the crash, regardless of the time gone by.
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
    Gefürchtet von der Zeit, mein Baum, mein Stamm in Ewigkeit

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    Dinosaurs never went completely extinct. The bigger ones died out and the smaller ones evolved further.

    Then:


    Now:


    Or

    Then:


    Now:


    At least I can see some similarities.

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Humans would have hunted most dinosaurs to extinction because they would've been ib competition with us for living space. So we might still have them, but like other species (pandas, oryxes etc..) most would be in zoos.

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    David Icke would have you believe they did evolve. The Queen is a lizard.

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    We wouldn't exist because we only evolved from very small mammals after they became extinct. I doubt hardly any of today's mammals would exist since they all came from shrew-sized mammals which could never have grown had the dinosaurs not died out.

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    Extinction

    We probably never would have developed. Due to the loss of the Dinosaurs and the Ecology that supported them new Ecological Niches opened up that allowed various flora and fauna to adapt to these new Niches and flourish and so here we are...

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    In 1982, Dale Russell, then curator of vertebrate fossils at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa, conjectured a possible evolutionary path that might have been taken by Troodon had it not perished in the K/T extinction event 65 million years ago, suggesting that it could have evolved into intelligent beings similar in body plan to humans. Over geologic time, Russell noted that there had been a steady increase in the encephalization quotient or EQ (the relative brain weight when compared to other species with the same body weight) among the dinosaurs.[23] Russell had discovered the first Troodontid skull, and noted that, while its EQ was low compared to humans, it was six times higher than that of other dinosaurs. If the trend in Troodon evolution had continued to the present, its brain case could by now measure 1,100 cm3; comparable to that of a human. Troodontids had semi-manipulative fingers, able to grasp and hold objects to a certain degree, and binocular vision.[9]

    Russell proposed that this "Dinosauroid", like most dinosaurs of the troodontid family, would have had large eyes and three fingers on each hand, one of which would have been partially opposed. As with most modern reptiles (and birds), he conceived of its genitalia as internal. Russell speculated that it would have required a navel, as a placenta aids the development of a large brain case. However, it would not have possessed mammary glands, and would have fed its young, as birds do, on regurgitated food. He speculated that its language would have sounded somewhat like bird song.[9][24]

    Previously, in his 1977 book, The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence, author Carl Sagan had speculated about the related genus Saurornithoides evolving into into ever more intelligent forms in the absence of any extinction event. In a world dominated by Saurornithoides, Sagan mused, arithmetic would be Base 8 rather than Base 10.

    Russell's thought experiment has been met with criticism from other paleontologists since the 1980s, many of whom point out that his Dinosauroid is overly anthropomorphic. Gregory S. Paul (1988) and Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., consider it "suspiciously human" (Paul, 1988) and Darren Naish has argued that a large-brained, highly intelligent troodontid would retain a more standard theropod body plan, with a horizontal posture and long tail, and would probably manipulate objects with the snout and feet in the manner of a bird, rather than with human-like "hands".
    Dale Russell could be right, certainly Hammer Horror would have us believe so. We could have evolved into something like The Reptile, which stalked Cornwall, to the horror, and delight, of movie audiences everywhere:



    Hammer Horror was great. Classics like The Reptile never date.


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