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Bride of Why Dinosaurs Count
I recognize that many people on the list need no higher justification for
studying dinosaurs; and some actually insist there IS no higher
justification, and we just do it like bottle cap collectors.
There is a philosophic significance to this study and it interests this
one humanist, at least.
When we talk about dinosaurs we inevitably reflect upon mammals, and
ultimately upon ourselves.
Mammals never went "head to head" against the dinosaurs to "rule the
earth" or any such pop concept. But about 65 million years ago-- I'll try
to use a metaphor intelligible throughout the anglophone world-- both
mammals and (non-avian) dinosaurs faced the same pitching. It was some
new kind of pitching.
If we could figure out why the fast, intelligent non-avian dinosaurs,
after 155 million years of success, couldn't hit that pitch, but the
lowly mammals could, we'd know something so important about survival and
even about how Life works, that it would eventually, inevitably influence
how we think about almost everything.
George J. Leonard, Ph.D.
Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities
San Francisco State University
530 Humanities Hall
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, California, 94132
Ph: (415) 338-7428
FAX: (650) 366-5045