If you are lucky
On a sunny day, the streets were bustling, the huge shadows fell, and people suddenly felt much cooler. Looking up, a group of fat-footed bird-footed dragons hovering over the city, they fanned more than 10 meters wide wings, covering a large area of sunlight. However, people are not alarmed, because when the weather is good, wild dinosaurs will always come to the city to stroll around. The flying bird’s foot dragon likes to overlook the beauty of the city. The greedy Tyrannosaurus will go to the market to buy good ingredients. The smart tooth dragons are more intelligent. They often give concerts and occasionally listen to the middle school teachers’ language. class. Of course, after 65 million years of evolution, a new group of “elites” have emerged in the dinosaur family. They have entered the crowd and become pets, poultry or models, adding a lot of brilliance to people’s lives. So, in social media, people appreciate the “dinosaur photos” that the beautiful women have exposed, and sigh: If there are no dinosaurs in the world, how lonely and boring life will be…
Welcome to the world where dinosaurs and humans coexist. Although the world is only imagined by people, it is almost realized. In the late Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, a 15km diameter asteroid crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The energy of tens of thousands of atomic bombs was released in an instant, causing radiation, earthquakes and tsunamis on Earth. The chain reaction of dust storms, the dinosaur era ended. However, scientists speculate that if an asteroid comes to Earth early or delayed for a few minutes, it will fall deep into the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean. In this case, the ocean will absorb most of the energy and limit the diffusion of sulfur particles, and the earth will not become a suffocating purgatory. Considering that before the asteroid impact, the dinosaurs have lived on the earth for nearly 160 million years, and there are also serious natural disasters. The dinosaurs can survive the storm every time and have not faced a crisis of survival. Therefore, scientists generally believe that without the “crazy stone”, dinosaurs may multiply and continue to this day.
Prosperous jungle era
If dinosaurs survive, how will they evolve? Scientists first turned their attention to the last era of dinosaurs, the Cretaceous, in an attempt to find out the clues to the evolutionary trend of dinosaurs.
Similar to the previous Jurassic, the Cretaceous climate was warm and humid. At this time, a very important evolution in the history of life took place, and angiosperms (also called flowering plants) began to rise, gradually replacing the ferns and gymnosperms of the Jurassic period, which had an important impact on the way of life of dinosaurs. .
Scientists believe that the dinosaurs of the early Jurassic and Early Cretaceous ages were largely due to the low nutrient levels of the gymnosperms at that time. Stegosaurus and larger sauropods needed to keep plants in their bodies. It takes a little longer to digest them more fully, so there is a huge intestinal space. However, angiosperms are more nutritious than gymnosperms. Later herbivorous dinosaurs basically use angiosperms as the main food source. They do not need to grow as large. Correspondingly, carnivorous dinosaurs do not need to grow as big. In the food chain, smaller dinosaurs occupy the food source of large dinosaurs, and the former breeds faster than the latter. So in the late Cretaceous period, Stegosaurus, bloated tyrannosaurus and larger sauropod dinosaurs have become extinct, replaced by horned dragons, tortoises and dwarf sauropods.
After the asteroids hit the Earth, if the dinosaurs were lucky enough to escape the robbery, they would usher in the “Paleocene-Eocene extreme heat event” 55 million years ago. At this time, the average temperature of the earth is 8 °C higher than it is now, and many places are covered with tropical rain forests. In such a greenhouse-like world, the angiosperms are more nutritious. The dinosaurs, like mammals and birds, have evolved fruit and nectar-based diets that help plants to sow seeds and pass pollen. Form a stable symbiotic relationship with other organisms.
At this time, the dinosaur is likely to become smaller and may evolve a new figure. For example, many sauropods may become like giraffes, grow a slender neck to get the fruit; for example, some weak dinosaurs are forced to develop holes in the jungle to avoid predators. Skills, they may evolve into a rodent-like posture.
In addition, the scientists also envisioned a very sugar-loving “arboreal dinosaur”. In order to facilitate climbing trees, “arboreal dinosaurs” have strong limbs and flexible tails, which look like monkeys. Just as arboreal primates have evolved into humans, scientists expect that “arboreal dinosaurs” will one day be able to walk to the ground, walk on two feet, liberate their hands, make tools, and develop civilization. This sounds very much like the evolutionary history of human beings, but according to the principle of converge evolution, it is indeed possible for “arboreal dinosaurs” to evolve into intelligent “dragon people.”
Occupy new territory
In the early Oligocene period 34 million years ago, important changes have taken place in the Earth’s environment. Due to geological movements, South America and Antarctica are separated, and the Antarctic ocean currents and Antarctic ice sheets have emerged on the Earth, which has caused the climate to become cooler and drier. The dense tropical rainforest is gradually degrading, and the animals have to be exposed to the vast grasslands. At this time, fast-moving herbivorous mammals are becoming more common, and carnivorous mammals hunting them have become more diverse.
However, compared with mammals, dinosaurs have a more innate advantage in the grasslands. The latest Triceratops in the Cretaceous has long proved that they are fast-moving running masters. With hard head shields and horns, they have the same viability on the grassland as the rhinoceros; the herbivorous duck-billed dragon has more than 2,000 Teeth, but only 40 horses, the former can more easily chew grass and get more nutrients; Tyrannosaurus is the most sturdy carnivorous, its bite force can reach up to 120,000 Newtons, and it is said that the brutal and fierce, the earth is afraid No one is its opponent. In addition, dinosaurs generally have better vision than mammals, and they have a stronger observation of color and a stronger ability to find danger. Of course, in order to better adapt to the grassland life, dinosaurs will continue to evolve. For example, the horse and the cow’s mouth are flat, which helps to eat harder vegetation close to the ground, so the duck-billed dragon and sauropod dinosaurs may also evolve flat mouth, and the neck of the duck-billed dragon may also become shorter. To help feed the grass at the feet. For example, in order to adapt to the long-distance migration between the rainy season and the dry season, dinosaurs will evolve their hooves like horses and cattle, and their lower limbs will be further strengthened.
In addition to the grasslands, the ocean and the sky are also new territories that dinosaurs will open up. Scientists have discovered that the spines at the end of the Cretaceous period will be involved in the estuary and river environment. At the same time, the fossils of the Ankylosaurus often appear in the sediments of the ocean, indicating that they once lived on the coastline. Will the spinosaurus or ankylosaurus evolve the ability to survive in the ocean along the route of mammalian whales? Or, like the close relatives of dinosaurs—the dragons, the dragons, and the plesiosaurs—they will lay the cubs in the ocean and then become the hegemons in the ocean? Considering that if they survive today, there are still 65 million years of evolutionary time, and it is difficult for scientists to completely reject this possibility.
As for the sky, at the end of the Cretaceous, there were many species of birds, and the diversity of the dinosaur’s close relative, the pterosaur, was declining, and the dinosaurs still could not fly. However, scientists have discovered many feathered thieves, dragons, wings, and their size is also close to birds, is a potential flight. For example, China’s Yang’s long feather thief has a hollow skeleton. Its tail feathers are long, its wings are wide, and its weight is relatively light. In fact, it is very conducive to flying and taking off. Therefore, scientists speculate that if the dinosaurs survive, the diversity of dinosaurs flying in the sky may not be less than that of modern birds.
Of course, no matter how many sites dinosaurs have seized around the world, they want to continue into modern times. They must also deal with many ice ages in the past millions of years, like mammals and birds. But scientists have found that dinosaurs lived in the Arctic Circle during the Cretaceous Period. Many tyrannosaurus, horned dragons, armored dragons, and duck-billed dragons are furry. If they are covered with thick fur from head to toe, adapt to the cold for dinosaurs. In fact, it is not difficult.
Conquered by humans
If the dinosaur survives, what we are most concerned about is how it affects mammals and humans. When an asteroid hits the Earth, mammals and dinosaurs have long coexisted for a long time, but the former has been a marginalized, small animal hiding around. Many scientists agree that when the “big man” of the horned dragon and the tyrannosaurus traverse the earth, the larger mammals on the land, such as elephants, mammoths, rhinos, sloths, even horses and giraffes, are expensive. The strength can survive, and some of them will even be eliminated by dinosaurs in natural selection.
However, humans do not seem to have to worry about it. Millions of years ago, human ancestors knew how to coexist with dangerous large animals, not to mention the relatively sparse distribution of large-scale hunting animals. As long as humans are far from dinosaurs, the situation will be relatively safe. When humans evolved intelligence, it was easier to deal with dinosaurs. People can kill dinosaurs by hunting, destroying habitats, etc., but they are unlucky. Today, considering that human beings have a great set of animals for extinction, if we want to see large dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, I am afraid I can only take a telescope to a national park or a wildlife sanctuary.
In addition to defense and confrontation, humans will also know how to domesticate dinosaurs to work for us. Among the animals domesticated by human beings, the social animals inhabited are the majority, so a small group of horned dragons and duck-billed dragons have the potential to become animal husbandry animals. They can replace cattle and horses and help farmers in farming. In addition, some small thieves, Chilong or Ankylosaurus may become human pets for people to enjoy. For example, the smallest dinosaur, the little thief, which is about 1 meter in length, has feathers of various colors, likes to fight and sell Meng. It is the “close relative” with the most intelligent wounded dragon, and wants to replace the cat. Chinese bird dragon is also very beautiful, with yellow and white stripes on the tail, like to snuggle each other, but also like to scratch, but its “character” is somewhat neurotic, easy to gain weight, need to “exercise” often; as a fan of the dragon branch The dragon is also good. It is fat, slow, and stupid. It is basically not aggressive. The elderly can use it as a turtle or a pet pig. Although it is about two meters long, it is considered to be in the dinosaur pile. Acceptable.
Of course, dinosaurs may be able to evolve intelligence like humans, but the most intelligent toothed dragons are almost as intelligent as ostriches. Scientists speculate that only the aforementioned “arboreal dinosaurs” may have the ancestors of the original human ancestors. But no matter what, if the dinosaurs are not extinct, they have a high probability of living in the world together with human beings. They are either rare animals, or domesticated, or wandering on the edge of human towns. We instinctively saw such a world, but unfortunately, the dinosaurs 65 million years ago were a little bit lucky.