So far in this essay, mammals have received scant attention, but the mammals’ development before the Cenozoic is important for understanding their rise to dominance. The , called , first , about 260 mya, and they had key mammalian characteristics. Their jaws and teeth were markedly different from those of other reptiles; their teeth were specialized for more thorough chewing, which extracts more energy from food, and that was likely a key aspect of success more than 100 million years later. Cynodonts also developed a secondary palate so that they could chew and breathe at the same time, which was more energy efficient. Cynodonts eventually ceased the reptilian practice of continually growing and shedding teeth, and their specialized and precisely fitted teeth rarely changed. Mammals replace their teeth a . Along with tooth changes, jawbones changed roles. Fewer and stronger bones anchored the jaw, which allowed for stronger jaw musculature and led to the mammalian (clench your teeth and you can feel your masseter muscle). Bones previously anchoring the jaw were no longer needed and . The jaw’s rearrangement led to the most auspicious proto-mammalian development: . Mammals had relatively large brains from the very beginning and it was probably initially . Mammals are the only animals with a , which eventually led to human intelligence. As dinosaurian dominance drove mammals to the margins, where they lived underground and emerged to feed at night, mammals needed improved senses to survive, and auditory and olfactory senses heightened, as did the mammalian sense of touch. Increased processing of stimuli required a larger brain, and . In humans, only livers use more energy than brains. Cynodonts also had , which suggest that they were warm-blooded. Soon after the Permian extinction, a cynodont appeared that may have ; it was another respiratory innovation that served it well in those low-oxygen times, functioning like pump gills in aquatic environments.
The Triassic began hot and ended hot, and the Jurassic and Cretaceous were also hot, so staying warm was not a significant issue for dinosaurs. stayed cool by becoming aquatic, and for land-based dinosaurs, features such as plates apparently replaced the sails of for both heating and cooling, and like the synapsid sail, those plates may have also been used for display. Also, like the cliché, many large herbivorous dinosaurs lived near cooling swamps, although the issue has been controversial. Cooling swamps and protective water holes that we see in the tropics today were a major aspect of Mesozoic landscapes. But the thermoregulatory aspect that most work is directed toward today is how dinosaurs kept warm. There is compelling evidence that dinosaurs regulated their body temperature in myriad ways, including internal chemistry. All bipedal animals today are endotherms and they all have four-chambered hearts, as dinosaurs did. , dinosaurs living near the poles (, ), and of dinosaur bones all support the idea that , but one of the more intriguing areas is that of . Like tree rings, bones have seasonal growth rings and they have been read for many dinosaur fossils. They have been used to determine dinosaurian life expectancies. could live to be about 30, giant could live to be 50, and smaller dinosaurs, as with smaller mammals, lived shorter lives. The tiny ones only lived three-to-four years and the mid-sized ones lived seven-to-fifteen years. Growth rates also provide thermoregulation evidence. Tyrannosaurs had juvenile growth spurts and largely stopped growing as adults, and sauropods had growth rates equivalent to today’s whales, which are Earth’s fastest growing animals. But there is also evidence of ectothermic dynamics. The great size of dinosaurs would have led to relatively easy ways to stay warm, as large animals have a greater mass-to-surface area ratio, like the way in which . Also, in the generally hot Mesozoic times, staying warm would have been fairly easy, particularly for huge dinosaurs.
Those energy concepts are real ones that all economies face, and financial measures only reflect them. In the USA, just , Peak Oil was . In 1973, the first oil crisis hit, and have declined since then. Wages were only a reflection of energy consumption, which also peaked in the 1970s for the USA and by that real wages per hour have. The USA’s declining standard of living since the 1970s was minor compared to the devastation inflicted on developing nations. The was initiated by the oil price shocks of the 1970s. Many nations have yet to recover. When the oil price shocks hit, and other measures were inflicted by Western institutions on developing nations. As people such as , those policies were intentionally used to enslave those nations. On the world stage, the self-image promoted by the West is that of blundering do-gooders. As people such as , it is a false narrative designed to hide corrupt motivation from the outset. It is simply more of that . I have written a great deal elsewhere on , how the resembles fairy tales, how professions and industries have , how the , just like genocidal invasions, were always economically motivated, usually to secure energy resources. This essay does not need to belabor those trends, but anybody not can clearly see that the game being played on the global stage is the same one that has been played: economically exploiting others. Because industrialized civilization is beginning to run out of the energy sources that the West used to industrialize, a universal decline in humanity’s standard of living has begun. The USA has transitioned from the land of opportunity to a deindustrializing economy in which bankers and other capitalists are designed to rob one class in favor of another. The aspect of those machinations is painfully obvious. The mind-control techniques that Orwell and Huxley wrote about have been turned into sciences, and there are even “competitions” between their dystopian visions to see .
Later in this essay, I will return to that theme. One lesson that I learned during my adventures is that with global events, far more happens than meets the public eye. Accepting events at face value is rarely appropriate. That stated, documented history and archeological and other physical evidence can provide important insights, and this essay will continue along a scientist's/historian’s path for now.
One major problem with making a positive impact on a global level, ultra-elite machinations aside, is that almost nobody focuses on what is important, which I hope to help remedy with this essay. Almost everybody hacks at branches if they hack at all. Conspiracists tend to obsess on elite machinations, which is an exercise of dubious benefit to begin with, but they often become paranoid and also confuse retail elites or other interests with the GCs. Bill Gates and David Rockefeller are probably not members of the GCs’ organization. Also, I learned that ultra-elites can only play their games with the responsibility that almost all people have abdicated as they play the victim. The GCs are only a symptom of our malaise, not a cause. They cannot be beaten at their game, and it is counterproductive and can even be suicidal to try. Making them obsolete is probably the best that we can do. While conspiracists often fixate on ultra-elite machinations, intellectuals, academics, and scientists tend to deny that such activities even exist or are meaningful. It took me many years to understand their resistance to even acknowledging ultra-elite existence, and I think it partly relates to the mainstream scientific worldview that . They have an ideological aversion to the notion that anybody manipulates events on a global scale, and believe that what seems conspiratorial is only anarchic elites competing with each other, which is like Darwin’s view of evolution. They believe that conspiracists see a pattern where none exists, or that the situation can be explained without invoking conscious intent, like materialistic hypotheses of how the universe operates. Radical leftists have to the of such elites; such an idea scares them. Neither obsession nor denial helps people attain productive understandings of the issue. Conspiracists and structuralists are united in thinking like victims, and that, as I see it, . Until they relinquish thinking like a victim, they will not constructively engage the critical issues that humanity faces, and energy ranks above all else. Victims are reactive instead of proactive, and only and resulting action has a prayer of working, in my opinion.
The first tree forests formed in the late Devonian, and bark is the great innovation that led to forming the Carboniferous’s vast coal deposits. Compared to modern trees, Carboniferous trees seemed to go overboard on bark, at least partly to discourage arthropods. Today’s trees generally contain at least four times as much wood as bark. Those early trees had about . trees dominated the Carboniferous rainforest and could grow 30 meters tall. Because it took more than a hundred million years for life to learn to break down lignin, that early lignin did not degrade via biological processes. The early Carboniferous was warm, even with a small ice cap at the South Pole, and Earth’s first rainforests appeared in the late Devonian and again proliferated in the Carboniferous. The Carboniferous lasted from about 360 mya to 300 mya and was the Golden Age of Amphibians, as the rainforest was largely global in extent and swamps abounded. Amphibians were the Carboniferous’s apex predators on land, and some reached crocodile size and acted like them.
Before the era of mass extinction investigation that began in the 1980s, a hundred hypotheses were presented in the scientific literature for the dinosaur extinction, but it was a kind of scientific parlor game. Scientists from all manner of specialties concocted their hypotheses. But even during the current era of scientific study of mass extinctions, much is unknown or controversial and even the data is in dispute, let alone its interpretation. Dynamics may have conflated to produce catastrophic effects, such as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration warming the land and oceans to the extent that otherwise stable on the ocean floor and in permafrost would be liberated and escape into the atmosphere. That situation is to the , , and extinctions, as well as helping end the . Today, there is genuine fear among climate scientists that , as global warming continues and hydrocarbons are burned with abandon, which could contribute to catastrophic runaway conditions. Wise scientists admit that humanity is currently conducting a huge chemistry experiment with Earth, and while the outcomes are far from certain, the .
are created by undisturbed organism remains that become saturated with various chemicals, which gradually replace the organic material with rock by . Few life forms ever become fossils but are instead consumed by other life. Rare dynamics lead to fossil formation, usually by anoxic conditions leading to undisturbed sediments that protect the evidence and fossilize it. Scientists estimate that only about 1%-2% of all species that ever existed have left behind fossils that have been recovered. Geological processes are continually creating new land, both on the continents and under the ocean. Seafloor strata do not provide much insight into life’s ancient past, particularly fossils, because the process in “mere” . The basic process is that, in the Atlantic and Pacific sea floors in particular, oceanic volcanic ridges spew out basalt and the plates flow toward the surrounding continents. When oceanic plates reach continental plates, the heavier (basaltic) oceanic plates are subducted below the lighter (granitic) continental plates. Parts of an oceanic plate were more than 100 mya and left behind plate fragments. On the continents, however, as they have floated on the heavier rocks, tectonic and erosional processes have not obliterated all ancient rocks and fossils. The oldest “indigenous” rocks yet found on Earth are . have been dated to 3.5 bya, and fossils of individual cyanobacteria have been dated to 1.5 bya. There are recent claims of finding . The oldest eukaryote fossils found so far are of . The first amoeba-like vase-shaped fossils date from about 750 mya, and there are recent claims of finding the first animal fossils in Namibia, of sponge-like creatures which are . Fossils from might be the first animal fossils, and some scientists think that animals may have first appeared about one bya. The first animals, or , probably descended from . The is a tail-like appendage that protists primarily used to move and it could also be used to create a current to capture food. Flagella were used to draw food into the first animals, which would have been sponge-like. When the first colonies developed in which unicellular organisms began to specialize and act in concert, animals were born, and it is currently thought that the evolution of animals probably only happened . In interpreting the fossil record, there are four general levels of confidence: inevitable conclusions (such as ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles), likely interpretations (ichthyosaurs appeared to give live birth instead of laying eggs), speculations (were ichthyosaurs warm-blooded?), and guesses (what color was an ichthyosaur?).
The Cambrian’s global ocean contained far less oxygen than today’s. Being newly and probably inconsistently oxygenated by oceanic currents was only part of the problem. The Cambrian oceans were warmer than today’s oceans, perhaps far warmer, such as 40o C and higher for the . Water’s ability to absorb oxygen declines as it gets warmer. Water heated from 10o C to 40o C will lose 40% of its ability to absorb oxygen. The phenomenon of warmer water absorbing less oxygen contributed to many instances of anoxic waters during the eon of complex life, and particularly in the warmer, earlier periods.