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On Dinosaur Time...
June 22, 2013 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.
posted by Artw (66 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Are you telling me the doodles I made of T. Rex getting it in the face with a Thagomizer aren't accurate?

Also, relevant XKCD.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:11 AM on June 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Very interesting, but any time I read an article like this, my takeaway is that it's really not going to matter if I don't get that promotion.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:11 AM on June 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.

I confess, this is why I have a hard time worrying overmuch about climate change.
posted by chavenet at 11:12 AM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, more time separated the days of the Caesars from the building if the Pyramids than separates us from the Caesars.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:14 AM on June 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


I confess, this is why I have a hard time worrying overmuch about climate change.

I have the exact opposite reaction. Because, uh, dinosaurs didn't really cause climate change the way humans have.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:15 AM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


ARE YOU TELLING ME MY BAG OF PLASTIC DINOSAURS LIED?!?!?!?

*sob*

No... wait...

This means that it will be easier to bring back a Tyrannosaurus than a Stegosaurus! And who likes the dumb old Stegosaurus, anyway? Yes, my pretties, this gives me an idea.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm flagging your offensive comments about Stegosauruses.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:22 AM on June 22, 2013 [19 favorites]


More time separates us from the day the last man walked on the moon than separates the first visit to the moon from World War II, or the end of the Great Depression.

I know I'm reaching, but that's the comparison that makes me sad -- how long it's been since the moon landing, compared to how quickly we got it together after the war and made it to the moon.

Sorry, I'll go be depressed somewhere else now...
posted by kikaider01 at 11:23 AM on June 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Time flies when you're having fur.
posted by jamjam at 11:24 AM on June 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Time flies when you're having fur.

Feathers, surely?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:27 AM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's less time between Star Trek TOS and Star Trek TNG than there is between TNG and the current films.

Also the Karate Kid is now older than Mr Myagi was in the original film.
posted by zoo at 11:28 AM on June 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


I confess, this is why I have a hard time worrying overmuch about climate change.

Perhaps it will be of some vague philosophical comfort to our grandchildren that in ten million years the world will be full of megafauna again, but just because climate change won't destroy all biodiversity forever doesn't preclude the possibility of it crashing human civilization hard.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 11:28 AM on June 22, 2013 [6 favorites]



Time flies when you're having fur.

Feathers, surely?


You fly, time crawls.
posted by jamjam at 11:32 AM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the whole "the world will keep on spinning" response to climate change seems to miss the point by 60 million miles. That is unless you measure your life and your family's life in terms of geological time, in which case Cthulhu fhtagn.
posted by brundlefly at 11:33 AM on June 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


Also, more time separated the days of the Caesars from the building if the Pyramids than separates us from the Caesars.

My daughter called me all the way from Florida the other day to relate the following pun, which is apropos of practically nothing:

"How do you cut the Roman Empire in half?"

(..... drumroll, please......)





"With a pair of Caesars!"

*spadish!*
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:46 AM on June 22, 2013 [30 favorites]


In other timelines...
There's less time between Cleopatra and men walking on the moon, than there is between the building of the Great Pyramid and Cleopatra.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:47 AM on June 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


There's less time between X and Y than there is between...

Is there a page or site devoted specifically to observations like this? If not, there probably should be.
posted by Avelwood at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


I would vote for that Project.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:04 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always thought Spielberg should have called his movie "Upper Cretaceous Park."
posted by KokuRyu at 12:06 PM on June 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


I confess, this is why I have a hard time worrying overmuch about climate change.

You realize that people worry about climate change not because it'll destroy the planet but because it'll destroy our habitat, right? If it gets too hot, other life will evolve, but it won't be humans.
posted by DU at 12:21 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm just amazed they can find fossils of stegosaurs (And much older life!) in the ground at all. Each fossilization is like a little shout from the depths of eternity, that somehow reaches us all the way up here in the present day.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:21 PM on June 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Now what am I going to do with this script for an otherwise historically accurate rom-com about the relationship between a Stegosaurus and T-Rex?
posted by drezdn at 12:35 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now what am I going to do with this script...
A Sound of Thunder 2: The Time Travelers Wintonotitan
posted by blueberry at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Movies have led me to believe that dinosaurs are fierce flesh and/or veggie eaters. The pretty little guys that fly into the side yard seem to be happy with seeds,
posted by Cranberry at 12:53 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, this is a good thread, and we will thrive. We shall make puns in this thread, and we shall call it... This Thread.
posted by cthuljew at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


"With a pair of Caesars!"

Ahem. It actually took a pair of Caesars and a pair of Augusti.

Oh, look, there's a dinosaur! *runs*
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


DU: "You realize that people worry about climate change not because it'll destroy the planet but because it'll destroy our habitat, right? If it gets too hot, other life will evolve, but it won't be humans."

Yup. I also get that we're all stressing out about trends over 2,000 or so years (or 20, in some cases), and that this is an anomalous blip in geologic time. And yes obviously I get that we have to think of these things on our scale, and that it is very, very hard to think in terms of geologic time (which is why we have creationists), but even still.

The life of man is but a span,
And cut down in its flower,
We are here to-day, and to-morrow gone,
The creatures of an hour.

posted by chavenet at 1:23 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: ""With a pair of Caesars!"

Ahem. It actually took a pair of Caesars and a pair of Augusti.

Oh, look, there's a dinosaur! *runs*
"

Don't run with Caesars!
posted by chavenet at 1:35 PM on June 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


"How do you cut the Roman Empire in half?"
"With a pair of Caesars!"


Et Two, Brute?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


My takeaway from this is that I'M A TYRANNOSAURUS!

RAAR!
posted by kyrademon at 1:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


So you're saying this didn't really happen? Now I am sad.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


chavenet: Yup. I also get that we're all stressing out about trends over 2,000 or so years (or 20, in some cases), and that this is an anomalous blip in geologic time ....

Oh yeah, well you're an anomalous blip in geologic time!
No, seriously, you are. So am I. All of us H. sapiens are.

And it can be nice to take a long m dispassionate view of things, but you can't ignore that this view includes all the people dying off. I do love the whole Earth, but I gotta admit that people are one of my most favorite species, and it would be a god-damned shame for them to disappear so soon after showing up.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:03 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


So you're saying this didn't really happen? Now I am sad.

Those are tricerotops. That could have totally happened.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:10 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


And who likes the dumb old Stegosaurus, anyway?

You want to step outside and say that?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:11 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


In other timelines...

"There's more time between Gobekli Tepe and the Sumerian clay tablets [etched in 3300 B.C.] than from Sumer to today"
posted by homunculus at 2:20 PM on June 22, 2013


Fascinating article.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:23 PM on June 22, 2013


You fly, time crawls

and fruit flies like a banana ...

Yeah and knock it off with the stegos already.
posted by carter at 2:26 PM on June 22, 2013


I actually thought that this more-time-between-Stegasaurus-and-T-rex-than-between-T-rex-and-us thing was pretty well known by now... That factoid really made the rounds a couple of years back...

Not to rain on your dino-nerd parade...nor to suggest that it's not worth repeating...since it's still amazing...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:45 PM on June 22, 2013


wondermark.com: "The premiere of the first film featuring Donald Duck happened closer to the present day than to the succession of King Johann to the throne of Saxony."
posted by rifflesby at 2:55 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


"There's more time between Gobekli Tepe and the Sumerian clay tablets [etched in 3300 B.C.] than from Sumer to today"

I don't think that works nearly as well since the vast majority of people won't have even heard of Gobekli Tepe, and probably not Sumeria either. Caesar and the pyramids works the best.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on June 22, 2013


Pick two dates, find the midpoint, then find something that happened just before the midpoint. You can make anything sound profound:posted by Rhomboid at 3:15 PM on June 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


You can make anything sound profound:

The Synod Horrenda was closer to Hannibal's invasion of Italy than today!
Tom Selleck was born closer to the arrival of Cleopatra's Needle in London than today!

I... am disturbed by how fun this is....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:38 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pick two dates, find the midpoint, then find something that happened just before the midpoint. You can make anything sound profound:
The first atomic bomb was nearer to the reign of Queen Victoria than today.
The Wright Brothers' first flight was nearer to the presidency of George Washington than today.
posted by Jehan at 3:45 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Terminator 2: Judgment Day came out closer in time to the moon landing than to today.
posted by martinrebas at 4:05 PM on June 22, 2013


Ralph Macchio is the age today that Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) was in The Karate Kid.
posted by blueberry at 4:17 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not to rain on your dino-nerd parade

My 6 year old is Dino Crazy. He fervently wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up, and is working hard on training himself in what he thinks he needs to know (biology, geology, planetary science, etc.) because to him there is very little time until he turns 18 and then, I guess, *bing* he's a paleontologist.

So we have this book that has about a thousand dinos listed at the back, in alphabetical order. Over the course of the past six months or so he's been carefully copying them out and sorting them into notebooks by the era in which they lived, and then by the area of the Earth where their remains have been found. This is teaching him all sorts of interesting things, but what really strikes me about this project is that we can't find a book about dinos (for kids OR adults) that already does this. It's been fascinating to see what dinosaurs existed in a predator/prey relationship vs. sorting them by "biggest" "fiercest" etc. You can still clearly see the evolutionary timelines that connect early small dinosaurs with the last ones, but setting them in their proper geographic and time context makes the whole series of ecosystems much clearer. I wish we could find a book that does this, but until then I guess we're making our own. (Do they give publishing contracts to six year old paleontologists?)
posted by anastasiav at 4:28 PM on June 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


anastasiav, please let us know if you guys decide to Kickstart this book :)
posted by blueberry at 5:43 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


The real question is why the Dinosaur Train doesn't run this far forwards.
posted by Artw at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, more time separated the days of the Caesars from the building if the Pyramids than separates us from the Caesars.

Cf the recent thread about Roman concrete and the discussion about Roman public works.
posted by immlass at 6:31 PM on June 22, 2013


Tom Cruise is the same age that Wilford Brimley was when Brimley starred as a grandfather in "Cocoon."
posted by brundlefly at 6:56 PM on June 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


Pick two dates, find the midpoint, then find something that happened just before the midpoint. You can make anything sound profound:

Well, the key is to pick things that subvert a common and/or mistaken understanding. We've all seen stegosaurs and tyrannosaurs together in the same children's book illustrations. When someone says Cleopatra, we naturally think Egypt and Egypt = pyramids.

If you're in your 40s, it feels like Michael Jackson's Thriller album wasn't released that long ago, when in reality it's almost 30 years old, making it as old today as Perry Como's heyday was to us as teenagers.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, I think there's basically an element of recentism -- we sort of compress things that happened a long time ago into a seemingly smaller linear space (on a timeline) because a) less is known about those times, b) there are fewer events of importance to us today (epochs, not reigns of kings, or lives of individually notable figures), c) things within our own lives feel recent compared to things we learn about abstractly as 'history'.

I think there are also elements of cultural shifts that take place, e.g. the 1960s and hippie/youth culture, or WWII, or 9/11, into which people block events.

Finally, I wonder whether the anno domini/common era year numbering system also creates a blind spot.
posted by dhartung at 9:00 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "If you're in your 40s, it feels like Michael Jackson's Thriller album wasn't released that long ago, when in reality it's almost 30 years old, making it as old today as Perry Como's heyday was to us as teenagers."

That's disturbing in an almost terrifying way.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:02 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Thriller isn't almost 30 years old. It's 30 years + about seven months. The video for the song Thriller came out a year after the album was released.

Which shows you how goddamn popular the album was that the giant marketing vehicle for the title song started long after the album was released. They weren't promoting it. They were milking it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:28 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"On Dinosaur Time"

I read this as "On Dinosaur Train" and I thought we were finally going to have a mefi post about the logical inconsistencies on the PBS children's show, like what the dinosaurs use for money since they "buy" tickets, and why a society with no industry whatsoever has built a time-traveling train, and what happens if they time-travel to the future and see the asteroid that wipes them all out, and why Buddy never eats his family ...

Your link is good too, though.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:53 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


and why Buddy never eats his family ...

Or that one episode where they go meet a T-Rex family who are obviously Buddy's biological family, and it's just so sad.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:58 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who set up this trans-time transportation network the dinosaurs are using? Why do we see no relics of this technology today?
posted by Artw at 7:46 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


More time separates us from the debut of The Simpsons than separated the debut of The Simpsons from The Flintstones. #cancelitalready
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dinosaur Train theories: The time travel train technology was developed by an advanced race of Brontosaurs on the planet Pluto.

Alternatively, Dino Dan built it for them.
posted by drezdn at 10:58 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


That kid has problems. I wonder if his hallucinatory fugue states and compulsion to turn every conversation around to the subject of his obsessions will persist into adult life, where they will no longer be cute.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who set up this trans-time transportation network the dinosaurs are using?

Altrusians, obviously.
posted by The Tensor at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2013


Just one: he removes the lit one from the fixture, places it back in its original packaging, then takes the burnt-out one from the garbage and screws it in.
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


How many people traveling backward through time does it take to change a light bulb?
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey, you guys wanna hear a joke?
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Cool Papa Bell, I think there's basically an element of recentism"

At first glance I read that as "basically an element of resentism"! (Ouch.)
posted by strangeguitars at 8:49 PM on June 23, 2013


Very cool. And no duh humans will be a blip in geologic time. That's inevitable. Accept and enjoy how brief our crazy period is!
posted by agregoli at 8:46 AM on June 25, 2013


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