MNQ | Monday’s Noontide Query: Ancient Extinct Species
Dinosaurs, placoderms, brachipods, trilobites, ammonites, pterosaurs, and bizarre species dating back to the Cambrian period, many unrelated to anything living today… but especially dinosaurs…
…and ancient sea monsters that would make the most courageous seaman during the Age of Sail soil his breeches with fear, but now gone millions of years before the first human ancestors climbed down from the trees.
These are creatures that fuel the imaginations of science-minded young, those too young not to question, to wonder, and those still young at heart enough to continue wondering.
Why do prehistoric beings resonate so well with our love of the strange? One reason is that they are so unlike anything today, so unlike anything you can see in a zoo, safari, or pet shelter, and this combined with their separation from us in time make them seem alien, creatures from another world, despite the fact that they are not the creations of science fiction or fantasy, but at one time very real animals.
And their remains are fascinating too…so old that like the victims of a mythological gorgon, they’ve literally turned to stone, their death-throes frozen in place forever, to be dug up millions of years later by jumped-up plains apes with excavation tools to put them together and on display in museums around the world.
Even ancient mammals have an outstanding kewl factor, some of them vaguely reminiscent of modern species, many subtly disturbing, just different enough to pique our sense of the strange, and others, like glyptodonts, setting our weird sensors on red alert on seeing their fossilized skeletons.
Having recently finished Stephen Baxter’s book “Longtusk,” I think it would be awesome to have a pet Mammoth, though it may have comfort problems in a rapidly changing climate and get antsy around lots of little humans, which is understandable.
If you could keep any of one species of prehistoric life as a pet or companion, even sea life in a suitably-built aquarium or flying species in an aviary, what species would it be? Why?
MNQ is a question that I pose to you, my readers, and do feel free to comment…I’m not a baby-eating ogre, and I don’t bite…very hard. MNQ is published on Monday of most weeks at 12:00 PM.