The Ultimate Survivors
In modern society, you don’t want to be labeled “a dinosaur.” The word strongly conjures feelings of extreme old age, bound for extinction, past one’s prime. In a word, a dinosaur is something outdated. But this unfortunate preference toward obsolescence is a trick of language, not a reflection of reality. If there’s anything someone wants to be, it’s most certainly a dinosaur.
Firstly, dinosaurs are neither complete extinct, nor obsolete. Their direct descendants, birds, are more varied and vivacious today than in the Mesozoic–living in the most extreme climates on the planet and continue to carry the dinosaur trademarks in their bodies and in their DNA. Dinosaurs are physically still with us.
But dinosaurs are with us in our imaginations as well. We humans are beguiled by the non-avian giants, the titans of their time. We are spellbound by their skeletons and yearn to know more about their lives. Some of us spend our entire lives hunting their remains while our museums accept tens of millions of visitors each year to see Mesozoic relics up close. The last of the non-avian dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago and yet we–who never saw a living non-avian dinosaur–pursue them past the boundaries of death and time.
So “dinosaur” isn’t really a great ‘dig’ (okay, I have to confess I really did not intend that pun, but once I wrote it there was absolutely no way I could retract it. I also can’t apologize for it.). We should want our descendants to survive for millions of years. We should aim to inspire the generations to come. And, like the dinosaurs, we should be ready to adapt and change with the challenges nature presents to us. Because we are newcomers–a few million years and most species are extinct. But the dinosaur lineage persisted for something like 150 million years. Anyone should be happy to be dubbed a dinosaur.
Know any dinosaurs? Whether they’re the old, obsolete kind of dinosaur or the ultimate survivors, we want to see your pictures on Facebook and Twitter. Tag us in your photo and use the hashtag #TDIDinos.