A dinosaur timeline

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…

Dinosaur Tracking.

2 thoughts on “A dinosaur timeline”

  1. I had a similar experience of the skewed-ness of my own vision of the past recently.

    I read that the earliest established use of fire had been pushed back by 200,000 years after a recent discovery.

    My immediate thought was that 200,000 years isn’t long in the scale of things since Lucy etc.

    And then I thought – hey, that’s actually a long time compared to say how long it has been since the last Ice Age or the caves at Lascaux.

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