Sun | Apr 30, 2017

What happened to the dinosaurs?

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 5:00 AM

Dinosaurs roamed the Earth up to 65 million years ago. Popular scientific thinking is that most of them were killed off by a large celestial body travelling 150 times faster than a jetliner. It struck the Earth with 100 million megatons (100,000 million kilotons) of force (the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 yielded 15 kilotons). It made a 150-kilometre-wide impact crater just off the Yucatan peninsula. It threw up massive, dense dust clouds that caused a catastrophic event by blocking out the rays of the sun for a very long time. It is estimated that 70 per cent of plants and animals died as a result.

Some researchers believe that not all of the dinosaurs were wiped out. Many became extinct, but an indeterminate number of the hardier, smaller species eventually evolved into what we know today as birds. Some birds descended from raptors - vicious predators that used their speed, strength, agility, intelligence and natural weaponry to catch and tear their prey apart.

 

Different time periods

 

Dinosaurs and humans never coexisted. Our kind appeared on the Earth only about 200,000 years ago; nowhere near the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Most dinosaurs became extinct for a very good reason. Can you imagine living with those large and powerful creatures with small brains that can only think of self-preservation and nothing else? And if dinosaurs had evolved intellectually, they would possibly outsmart us and we would find ourselves in deep trouble.

We know that most dinosaurs died out and it appears as if some of them evolved into modern-day birds, but the way some people think and behave makes me wonder if perhaps some dinosaurs evolved along mammalian lines. Although they would look and act human, they would retain dinosaur thinking and attitudes. They would exhibit enough intellect to put them in the top three per cent of society from an educational standpoint. However, the way that they think hampers many upcoming and progressive citizens and stymies the growth and development of our society.

Dinosaur minds lack the selfless, enlightened and creative thinking that countries such as ours need to grow. We must break free of the entangling and restrictive bureaucratic red tape; turn away from the archaic, failing entrenched 'system' that has proven to be more of a hindrance than anything else and allow young, bright, highly educated minds with innovative ideas to guide us out of the murky economic waters in which we find ourselves.

I lose more patients to migration than to anything else. My heart aches for our country whenever I see the young, energetic, eager, bright, progressive Jamaicans turn their backs on their country to seek their development, growth and fortune elsewhere. I know that they will end up enhancing some (already developed) North American country, to our detriment.

 

Basic needs

 

I never judge those who migrate. After all, when you get right down to it, sadly, in Jamaica, Maslow's hierarchy of needs are not easily met. Many people do not feel their most basic biological and physiological needs are guaranteed. Most people do not feel secure in any way. Many are fearful and some do not even feel protected from the elements.

Our often hostile society does not lend itself to a feeling of belonging. People have personal friendships and intimacy, but sometimes our crime rate makes forming relationships difficult. Politics and the economy render self-mastery/independence, status and self-respect difficult for many to attain. And, that is even more so for self-actualisation and achieving our full potential and personal growth.

Until and unless the 'dinosaurs' that occupy top management positions in the private and public sectors are either reformed or replaced; until we encourage, entice and facilitate our talented and bright young to contribute meaningfully to our country; and until we help them to grow to their deserved full potential, our country will always be mired in debt, fail to evolve and struggle to survive.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.