The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
They say it took the dinosaurs thirty-three thousand years to die. irty-three millennia from the moment the asteroid slammed into the Yucatán Peninsula to the day that the last dinosaur keeled over, starving, freezing, poisoned by toxic gases.
Now, from a universal perspective, thirty-three thousand years is not much. Barely a blink of an eye. But it’s still thirty-three thousand years. Almost two million Mondays. It’s not nothing.
The thing I keep coming back to is: Did they know? Did some poor T-rex feel the impact of the asteroid shake the earth, look up, and go, Oh, shit, that’s curtains for me? Did the camarasaurus living thousands of miles from the impact zone notice the sun darkening from all that ash and understand its days were numbered? Did the triceratops wonder why the air suddenly smelled so different without knowing it was the poison gases released by a blast that was equivalent to ten billion atomic bombs (not that atomic bombs had been invented yet)? How far into that thirty-three-thousand- year stretch did they go before they understood that their extinction was not looming—it had already happened?
The book I’m reading, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, which I discovered mis-shelved with atlases a few months back, has a lot to say on what life was like for dinosaurs. But it doesn’t really delve into what they were thinking toward the end. ere’s only so much, I guess, you can conjecture about creatures that lived sixty million years ago. eir thoughts on their own extinction, like so many other mysteries, they took with them.