Did you forget about dinosaurs and all that? I suppose that can happen when I don’t stoke the fires of anti-dinosaur fear rhetoric for a month. Well, my ability to survive the snow with my fur and warm blood and social intelligence spurred me back to action, and I come tolling the bell of remembrance for those mammals that survived to beget our great, dinosaur-free society.
Recently a discovery has been made by science-types that really illustrates the struggle of mammals during the tyranny of dinosaur rule. Scientists discovered a muddy imprint fossil that shows three footprint tracks: a dinosaur, a reptile, and a mammal. The footprints lead to a riverbank where the three likely went to drink.
The discovery fills in a bit of the mammal narrative that has been forgotten all these long years. You might interpret these prints as three creatures going about their business but I see something far harsher. This fossil tells the story of a mammal sneaking a drink of life sustaining water in a world dominated by terrifying dinosaurs that outweighed it by hundreds of times, and reptiles that were diverse enough to glide around the skies and hunt through the ocean depths. This was an ancestor of ours. A ferret of freedom. A weasel of the future. It lived in a world of tyranny and fear.
You see, people like to forget about the fact that mammals came up on the wrong side of the Cretaceous extinction event. We didn’t have it easy. Mammals had no safety on the surface of the earth. We had to burrow and hide for millions of years. We had to survive on what the dinosaurs left to be scavenged. We had to wait until, by a stroke of luck, those tyrants died of something that didn’t happen to kill us.
There are some people who would tell you that mammal survival is a bootstrap narrative. That we worked hard, and gained dominance of this planet through long hours and thankless labor. That is not true. One day, a rock literally fell from the sky and killed those ancient selfish tyrant lizards, and then we got a chance to grow among the ashes. The tyrannical monsters who controlled all of the safety and resources on the surface of the Earth died because they couldn’t adapt to living with nothing, like they had forced us to do.
It’s easy these days to think about dinosaurs as a has-been threat, a boogie monster from long ago. But we must never forget the valiant struggles of the mammalian race. You’ll find the story is very familiar.
Take heart as you remember the struggle for resources in a land ruled by ancient, seemingly invincible tyrants; remember that you are still capable of burrowing and waiting. It is your mammal heritage, to burrow and wait. Sometimes burrowing and waiting is all you will have. When tyrants hold all the lush green wealth of the Earth, it is impossible to distribute it in any way that makes sense, while they still live. And those tyrants will try to draw you out of your burrow, they will try to claim they represent evolutionary progress. They will tell you there is plenty of room in the world, but you have to remember that they want to eat you. They want to gobble you up whole and forget you ever existed. That’s what tyrants do.
Dig and wait. You may never be granted your karmic retribution space rock, but at least they won’t eat you and you can develop social intelligence and creativity and all the other shit those resource hoarding tyrants miss out on. I mean, when you get down to it, they’re just a bunch of dinosaurs, anyway.
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