archive: Re: SETI Why would anyone look forward to sharing this galaxy?

Re: SETI Why would anyone look forward to sharing this galaxy?

Alfred A. Aburto Jr. ( (no email) )
Fri, 09 Oct 1998 20:31:45 -0700

Oops! I didn't make the comments below ...

Al Aburto

-----------------------------------------------------------
> Bruce Cornet wrote:

> In the discussion on "Why would anyone look forward to sharing this
> galaxy?" the following comment was made by Al and Jerry:
>
> Al Aburto
> "No, the bipedal dinos were the only hope for the DNA of this planet and
> they were flattened by a stray mountain that Jupiter failed to grab in
> time.
> I know, impact events occur every 30 million years or so, and they tend to
> speed up evolution, but it's such a shame! Those *dinos* would have been
> spacefaring for 20 million years by now (all over our galaxy and already
> thinking about seeding M31 with brainy *dinos*!! Hallelujah to the Supreme
> Dromaeosaur!!)"
>
> Jerry and Judy <jerbidoc@zianet.com>
> "Our species is very young compared to this potential that was snuffed out
> 65 million years ago! Bipedal dinosaurs were well along their way toward
> sentience. There were a few promising lines which had already started on
> the path of enhanced socialization, enlargement of the visual part of the
> brain, bipedalism, efficient manipulation and increased encephelization (as
> a feedback development loop). If these guys had survived the impact, as
> our ancestors did! :), representatives of this planet would be populating
> other star systems for maybe over 30 million years by now! (Alright 10
> million, how many million do you want? We're almost there and it only took
> us 20 million or so.)"
>
> As an evolutionary biologist who has studied both plant evolution
> (paleobotany) and animal evolution (vertebrate paleontology) for most of
> his professional career (25 years), I have followed closely those
> paleontologists who are interested in dinosaurian evolution. I have watched
> various scientists debate whether the dinosaurs walked upright or walked
> like crocodiles, whether they were cold blooded or warm blooded, or
> something in between, and whether or not birds evolved from dinosaurs.
> Until recent discoveries in Spain and China, there was insufficient
> evidence to support the nay sayers or the yeh sayers regarding the
> avian/dinosaurian connection. The new discoveries are discussed in a
> well-illustrated article in National Geographic (July, 1998), called
> "Dinosaurs take wing, the origin of birds." The new discoveries do a lot
> for the skeptics, who must now eat humble pie. They also teach us the
> perils of speculation and skepticism based on too little data.
>
> On the subject of whether or not the dinosaurs would have been 20 million
> years ahead of us in space exploration, had they evolved into sentient
> intelligent technological beings such as ourselves, it is noteworthy that
> the dinosaurs are not extinct, they are not as advanced as us, and they are
> feathered! That does not mean that our favorite giants such as
> Tyrannosaurus survived in feathered disguise (although some paleontologists
> think that close relatives may have), but rather that some members of the
> Dinosauria did things differently. The fossil record is very fickle in
> yielding up its secrets. After their big brothers became extinct, the
> winged survivors successfully competed with mammals over the past 65
> million years. What may have led us to learn how to fly using technology
> was them, because they were ahead of us in that skill. What may have
> prevented them from evolving into highly intelligent animals may be
> limitations imposed on evolution due to specializations for flight. Flight
> gave them a convenient escape from predators, but flight also limited brain
> development through weight constraints and tool use by the specialization
> of their front two appendages (however, there are some birds quite adept at
> using their feet to hold objects, and some of them have learned how to use
> sticks as tools). Land-dwelling mammals, on the other hand, had to
> outsmart their adversaries to survive, which placed evolutionary pressure
> on brain development.
>
> Evolution is a funny thing. You can never predict its outcome, only its
> possible options given a set of environmental conditions and challenges.
> Had bipedal dinosaurs survived which had not evolved feathers and flight
> capability, perhaps things would have been different. But in order for
> similar creatures to evolve on other planets, conditions probably would
> have to be very Earth-like.
>
> Yours truly,
> Bruce Cornet, Ph.D.
> Geologist and Paleontologist
> bcornet@monmouth.com