Dinosaurs are on my mind…not least because of the ACS’s intelligent alien dinosaur story and the attempt to ban the word and all evolutionary themes by the NYC Department of Education but also because my good buddy Ed Yong just alerted us to a Smithsonian article that puts the dinosaur perspective into some context.
Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, they’re familiar to all dino fans both young and old. These giant creatures and their neighbours roamed western North America about 150 million years ago. That’s the late Jurassic period. But where are Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops? Well they did not appear until the late Cretaceous — about 67 million years ago.
Now, picture the timeline, says the Smithsonian, in isolation, these dates are just labels, but an astounding 83 million years separate Apatosaurus from Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus from Triceratops.
The Age of Mammals has been ongoing for the last 66 million years. So…less time separates us lowly bipedal apes from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus. I always knew they’d messed up their timelines in Jurassic Park…