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Pageant of Earth's Evolution (in 24hr) part two


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  • #312714

    Over at my blog I’ve got this thing lit up like a Christmas Tree with hotlinks that go to various sources of relevant information.  Truth be told, I bit off too much and couldn’t fit it into 1000 words – well actually I did and submitted it, then stuck it away for over a week, before going back to reread.  It wasn’t pretty and when the issue arrived it wasn’t in there.  Only second time in over ten years* that my submission was rejected.  Can’t blame her, in fact, after my reread it saved me some embarrassment.  I have fixed it up to where I like it now, but it took 146 words to get there.  I’ve got a week to decide if I can reduce this to 1000, but not sure I’ve got it in me.  Too much stuff crowding me these days.

    All in all I’m looking at these past months that it took to arrive at these two essays as a good, if humbling, effort, but a job unfinished.  Time to put it away, do some mud wrestling then come back for another shot at telling this story next time.

    (*My bio over at FCFP misses my first three years of columns)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    In the first part of this look at Earth’s 4.6 billion year old pageant of Evolution, scaled down to 24 hours, Earth’s first enduring Life took 4 hours to claw together an existence within very tiny, very simple, very protective sacks, against an extremely hostile environment.

    It took another 17 hours worth of Earth’s geology and biology combining forces to process and tame Earth’s raw materials to the point that descendants of those simple cells, which had been evolving new skills all along, had an environment with the proper conditions (ocean, atmosphere, chemistry, nutrients, climatic conditions, tectonics), to enable spectacular expansion and innovations.

    Before continuing please reflect on a truth first recognized when studying the most primitive of life forms on Earth.  Spelled out by Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell in 1957 it reads, “(We) cannot consider the organism without its environment – from a formal point of view the two may be regarded as equivalent phases between which dynamic contact is maintained by the membranes that separate and link them.”

    That’s because the cell’s barrier skin is tailored to protect its innards from its particular environment, while allowing specific nutrients to flow in and waste to flow out. Life got more complex but these basic challenges remained.

    Life learned to repurpose its genetic heritage, body parts were re-proportioned, modifications made, animals radiated, survivors learned to thrive in their brave new worlds. The increasing interaction of plants, animals, predators, pray, sensing, grasping, protecting, hiding, thinking – the stuff of competition. All of it worked together giving birth to ecology and the outlines of today’s world.

    Some say since the Cambrian, Earth’s story has simply been variations on those themes as Life danced to climate and plate tectonics.

    Now at around 9:30PM, or 443 million years ago, the third period of Earth’s Paleozoic (old life) Era begins, the Ordovician takes over. Continents dance around the southern hemisphere joisting each other and causing erratic sea level rise and increased continental erosion that’s dumped into the seas. All worked together driving diversification as creatures needed to adapt or die.

    Then continents settled in on the Gondwana supercontinent around the South Pole and another killer ice age, before they drifted north and back into warmer climates and the Silurian Period bringing another resurgence of Life and changing species. The Silurian ends in another minor extinction event as continents move nearer the equator.

    Those who survived into the Devonian when continents alined with the equator where they faced tougher environments and unforgiving weather fluctuations, but also more opportunities to exploit with new inventions, such as seeds.

    Now at about 10PM that is about 340 million years ago, another uptick in tectonics, volcanoes, degassing as continents start welding themselves onto the growing supercontinent Pangea with a single ocean covering ~3/4th of the Earth.

    This forced another round of smaller extinctions and adaptations. It also encouraged some creatures to take their chances on land, or to swim up stream into rivers and adapt to fresh water.

    Next the world woke to the warm Carboniferous Period. This period is a big deal because the air contained 35% oxygen. Life on land soaked it in, insects became giants, plants became lush forests and eggs were invented. The lush Carboniferous came in with glaciers and goes out with deserts and droughts and another collapse. Conditions improved and a slimmed down Permian Period biota rebounded. Then, a volcanic event like none other.

    Under Siberia a hot lava plume encountered a subducting oceanic plate with all of its carbon rich rock, organics, and sea water. The hot plume melted into sills, creating immense vapor pressure, before continuing to the surface and an unimaginably powerful and dirty explosion. After which the Siberian Traps eruptions continued in normal fashion for the next million years. Over 90% of ocean Life and two-thirds of land animals disappeared. So ended the Paleozoic Era at about 10:41PM or 252 Million Years ago.

    The Mesozoic (middle life) Era begins with the Triassic Period. Again the few survivors didn’t miss a beat. Life pulled out its genetic tool kit and started tinkering. Among the most noteworthy inventions were tetrapods (*) who differentiated into distinct reptiles, dinosaurs, mammal-like reptiles and bird lineages. Plants also reached new heights and complexity, insects scaled down and prospered, as did ocean Life.

    Then with Pangea supercontinent breaking up, more volcanic activity and perhaps some meteors, and the Triassic biota was decimated. But, not dinosaurs who quickly radiated and dominated the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. Mammal-like critters kept it small, though diversifying just the same. Flowers and fruit appeared, reptiles and amphibians also prospered.

    With renewed tectonic upheaval another minor extinction event marked the beginning of the Cretaceous Period during which dinosaurs evolved to their zenith. Then a well aimed mountain sized space rock crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, releasing a 100 million megaton meteor and catastrophic cascading consequences.

    Thus ended the hour long Mesozoic Era with three-quarters of animals and all non-avian dinosaurs dead, along with forests and jungles burned to a crisp, then we cross over into the 20 minutes of our modern Cenozoic (new life) Era.

    Let’s reflect, it took Earth nearly 21 hours of effort to make complex creatures. Less than two hours to fill every nook and cranny Earth had to offer with ever more complex and competent animals creating ever richer biomes.   Folds within folds of harmonic cumulative complexity flowing down the cascade of time.

    Only to have most all of it wiped out.  Then another recovery and Earth saw the one hour long age of reptiles and dinosaurs before that was wiped out a mere 20 minutes ago.

    This allowed new groups of survivors, who with that genetic toolkit and evolutionary lessons learned, diversified into the modern forests and the first grasslands that extended Life’s reach into previously uninhabitable harsh barren lands.  Once mammals figured out how to exploit these new environment they took the dominate position once held by dinosaurs.

    Among them primates, with one branch leading to the first hominids 2 minutes ago.  Through them modern humans  appeared all of 6 seconds ago.

    In the past millisecond we humans have learned to reflect upon this universe and ourselves.  We have become masters of science and manipulating the physical world.  We know much, but understand next to nothing, as demonstrated by our wanton impacts upon the biosphere we depend on for everything.

    Humanity’s gluttonous instincts are inflicting reckless damages upon our planet and her biosphere, like never before.  We have been injecting ever more insulating CO2 into our atmosphere and carbonic-acid into our oceans unlike anything since the triggers to the Permian/Triassic super extinction event.

    What else is left to say?  Not much, except perhaps to point out there will be consequences for our society’s flippant disregard of our Mother Earth, her life history, and her needs.

    #312718

    Oh if anyone has any thoughts regarding where I might cut 150 words, meaning probably a complete paragraph or thereabouts please do share.

    #312724
    TimB
    Participant

    I took out 30 words on a first pass. Crossed thru.  116 to go.:

    In the first part of this look at Earth’s 4.6 billion year old pageant of Evolution, scaled down to 24 hours, Earth’s first enduring Life took 4 hours to claw together an existence within very tiny, very simple, very protective sacks, against an extremely hostile environment.
    It took another 17 hours worth of Earth’s geology and biology combining forces to process and tame Earth’s raw materials to the point that descendants of those simple cells, which had been evolving new skills all along, had an environment with the proper conditions (ocean, atmosphere, chemistry, nutrients, climatic conditions, tectonics), to enable spectacular expansion and innovations.
    Before continuing please reflect on a truth first recognized when studying the most primitive of life forms on Earth. Spelled out by Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell in 1957 it reads, “(We) cannot consider the organism without its environment – from a formal point of view the two may be regarded as equivalent phases between which dynamic contact is maintained by the membranes that separate and link them.”
    That’s because the cell’s barrier skin is tailored to protect its innards from its particular environment, while allowing specific nutrients to flow in and waste to flow out. Life got more complex but these basic challenges remained.
    Life learned to repurposed its genetic heritage, body parts were re-proportioned, modifications made, animals radiated, survivors learned to thrived in their brave new worlds. The increasing interaction of plants, animals, predators, preay, sensing, grasping, protecting, hiding, thinking – the stuff of competition, all of it worked together giving birth to ecology and the outlines of today’s world.
    Some say since the Cambrian, Earth’s story has simply been variations on those themes as Life danced to climate and plate tectonics.
    Now at around 9:30PM, or 443 million years ago, the third period of Earth’s Paleozoic (old life) Era begins, the Ordovician takes over. Continents dance around the southern hemisphere joisting each other and causing erratic sea level rise and increased continental erosion that’s dumped into the seas. All worked together driving diversification as creatures needed to adapted or died.
    Then continents settled in on the Gondwana supercontinent around the South Pole and another killer ice age, before they drifted north and back into warmer climates and the Silurian Period bringing another resurgence of Life and changing species. The Silurian ends in another minor extinction event as continents move nearer the equator.
    Those who survived into the Devonian when continents aligned with the equator where they faced tougher environments and unforgiving weather fluctuations, but also more opportunities to exploit with new inventions, such as seeds.
    Now at about 10PM that is about 340 million years ago, another uptick in tectonics, volcanoes, degassing as continents start welding themselves onto the growing supercontinent Pangea with a single ocean covering ~3/4th of the Earth.
    This forced another round of smaller extinctions and adaptations. It also encouraged some creatures to take their chances on land, or to swim up stream into rivers and adapt to fresh water.
    Next the world woke to the warm Carboniferous Period. This period is a big deal because the air contained 35% oxygen. Life on land soaked it in, insects became giants, plants became lush forests and eggs were invented. The lush Carboniferous came in with glaciers and goes out with deserts and droughts and another collapse. Conditions improved and a slimmed down Permian Period biota rebounded. Then, a volcanic event like none other.
    Under Siberia a hot lava plume encountered a subducting oceanic plate with all of its carbon rich rock, organics, and sea water. The hot plume melted into sills, creating immense vapor pressure, before continuing to the surface and an unimaginably powerful and dirty explosion. After which the Siberian Traps eruptions continued in normal fashion for the next million years. Over 90% of ocean Life and two-thirds of land animals disappeared. So ended the Paleozoic Era at about 10:41PM or 252 Million Years ago.
    The Mesozoic (middle life) Era begins with the Triassic Period. Again the few survivors didn’t miss a beat. Life pulled out its genetic tool kit and started tinkering. Among the most noteworthy inventions were tetrapods (*) who differentiated into distinct reptiles, dinosaurs, mammal-like reptiles and bird lineages. Plants also reached new heights and complexity, insects scaled down and prospered, as did ocean Life.
    Then with Pangea supercontinent breaking up, more volcanic activity and perhaps some meteors, and the Triassic biota was decimated. But, not dinosaurs who quickly radiated and dominated the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. Mammal-like critters kept it small, though diversifying just the same. Flowers and fruit appeared, reptiles and amphibians also prospered.
    With renewed tectonic upheaval another minor extinction event marked the beginning of the Cretaceous Period during which dinosaurs evolved to their zenith. Then a well aimed mountain sized space rock crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, releasing a 100 million megaton meteor and catastrophic cascading consequences.
    Thus ended the hour long Mesozoic Era with three-quarters of animals and all non-avian dinosaurs dead, along with forests and jungles burned to a crisp, then came we cross over into the 20 minutes of our modern Cenozoic (new life) Era.
    Let’s reflect, it took Earth nearly 21 hours of effort to make complex creatures. Less than two hours to fill every nook and cranny Earth had to offer with ever more complex and competent animals creating ever richer biomes. Folds within folds of harmonic cumulative complexity flowing down the cascade of time.
    Only to have most all of it wiped out. Then another recovery and Earth saw the one hour long age of reptiles and dinosaurs before that was wiped out a mere 20 minutes ago.
    This allowed new groups of survivors, who with that genetic toolkit and evolutionary lessons learned, diversified into the modern forests and the first grasslands. that Life’s reach extended into previously uninhabitable harsh barren lands. Once mammals figured out how to exploited these new environments they took the dominate position once held by dinosaurs.
    Among them were primates, with one branch leading to the first hominids 2 minutes ago. Through them modern humans appeared all of 6 seconds ago.
    In the past millisecond we humans have learned to reflect upon this universe and ourselves. We have become masters of science and manipulating the physical world. We know much, but understand next to nothing, as demonstrated by our wanton impacts upon the biosphere we depend on for everything.
    Humanity’s gluttonous instincts are inflicting reckless damages upon our planet and her biosphere, like never before. We have been injecting ever more insulating CO2 into our atmosphere and carbonic-acid into our oceans unlike anything since the triggers to the Permian/Triassic super extinction event.
    What else is left to say? Not much, except perhaps to point out there will be consequences for our society’s flippant disregard of our Mother Earth, her life history, and her needs.

    #312741

    Cool, game on.

     

    #313174

    @TimB

    Have you ever heard the writing advice: You gotta kill your babies.

    That’s what I’m look,

    but you gave me the inspiration, gonna copy and paste this and figure out which paragraph or two needs to go.

     

    Although Tim, you know, you never did said anything about whether it made any sense to you, or if it flowed?

    #313185
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    I put it in google docs, I’ll get access setup in a bit.

    Have you thought about more of a pattern, naming the eras and times, and putting a series of adjectives and verbs with each one. Not quite a poem, but along those lines. Full sentences as needed, but they aren’t what gives the piece it’s flow.

    #313191

    @Lausten

    I just saw that, great timing since I’d already psyched myself up for working on it today, now you turned it into a genuine project.

    Thank you.

    And talk about killing my babies, you zoomed right in on one didn’t you – I’ve two thirds left to read carefully but from skimming, I see there’s much to consider and work on.

    I genuinely appreciate it.  Does that make me a masochist, or just serious about writing?   😉

    (sp) ?

    jostle   (oops)  Too many joists in my memory.

    [though I have more Maddy is getting very inpatient with me so gotta run for a while]

     

    Have you thought about more of a pattern, naming the eras and times, and putting a series of adjectives and verbs with each one.

    Excellent! – we’ll see if I can pull it off.

    #313195
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    (sp) is a copy edit code for spelling error

    #313210

    Silly me, guess I should have remembered that.  Sometimes.  Although if you knew the three ring circus I’m subjected to, it might make more sense.  Now instead of the morning for this, suddenly I need to run off to deal with unexpected issues at the X’s house 50 miles away.  Like my aunt rosanna anna danna used to say, if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

     

    #313410

    Dang Lausten, reworked it.  Got more consistence with mentioning dates and times.  Cleaned up a number of sentences.  It sounds better for sure, has a bit of that elusive cadence – and then I get to the end and smack 1044 wrd.

    Frustrating since I had it down to 970, then hanging below 1000 – let down the guard for a moment, cadence and rhythm and thinking I nailed it,  then boom.  Instead of a dozen words to finesse out, it’s 4 dozen.  Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

    You know I’ll check in again later on.    Good Providence will’n      😉

    #313412

    Lausten, thank you.  That’s what I’ve been talking about, serious shit that makes me think and work it out.  Now this is finally feeling complete and clean.  Gonna let it sit while I get some work done and then reread a time or two and send it in.  I really appreciate you taking the time to do that.

    I’m posting it over here inviting some more critique.     🙂

     

    (992 wrd)

    In the first part of this look at Earth’s 4.6 billion year old pageant of Evolution, scaled down to 24 hours, Earth’s first enduring Life took 4 hours to claw together an existence within very tiny, very simple, very protective sacks, against an extremely hostile environment.

    After that, Evolution progressed very slowly.  Why?  Because Earth’s hostile environment provided limited means for development.  Which brings us to a key early scientific breakthrough in perspective, namely that an organism cannot be understood without also understanding the environment it lives within.

    That is why it took another 17 hours worth of Earth’s geology and biology combining forces to process and tame Earth’s raw materials to the point that descendants of those simple cells had the means to do more.  Developing environments with changing conditions (ocean, atmosphere, chemistry, nutrients, climatic conditions, tectonics) these are what enabled spectacular innovations and expansion.

    In a poetic sense Earth’s geology taught biology by providing building blocks and forcing it to adapt to changing conditions.  Life continually repurposed its genetic heritage, body parts were re-proportioned, modifications made, animals radiated, and survivors learned to thrive in their brave new environments.

    The increasing interaction of plants, animals, predators, prey, sensing, grasping, protecting, hiding, thinking – the stuff of competition, all of it working together giving birth to ecology and the outlines of today’s world during the Cambrian.

    Since about 9:00 PM, or 500 million years ago, Earth’s Evolution has simply been variations on those themes as Life danced to climate, plate tectonics and celestial influences.

    Around 9:30 PM, or 443 million years ago, the third period of Earth’s Paleozoic Era begins with 14 minutes of the Ordovician Period and growing continents around the southern hemisphere. Jostling each other caused erratic sea level rise and increased continental erosion that dumped into the seas.  When continents converged around the South Pole another killer ice age was initiated.

    The 9 minute Silurian Period brought in another resurgence of Life and diversifying species as those continents drifted north through temperate climate zones.

    The Devonian Period, at about 9:50 PM, lasted nearly 18 minutes with continents aligning along the equator, then slowly coalescing into another supercontinent we call Pangea. Tougher environments and climate served to force Life to evolve new solutions, such as seeds.

    Pangea related tectonics caused increased volcanoes, disappearing shallow seas, and poisoning of oceans.  This forced another round of smaller extinctions. It also drove desperate refugees to diversify into exploring fresh river water and land habitats.

    By 10:07 PM with dust settling the warming Carboniferous Period became a big deal because the air contained 35% oxygen. Life on land soaked it in, insects became giants, plants became lush forests and genetic tinkering landed upon the egg.

    The lush 18 minute long Carboniferous came in with glaciers, went out with droughts and deserts, causing another collapse at 10:27 PM. When conditions improved a slimmed down Permian Period biota rebounded for 15 minutes.

    Then at 10:26 PM, a volcanic event like none other occurred.  Under Siberia a hot lava plume encountered a subducting oceanic plate with all of its carbon rich rock, organics, and sea water. The hot plume melted into sills, creating immense vapor pressure, before continuing to the surface and an unimaginably powerful and dirty explosion.

    After which the Siberian Traps continued erupting in ‘normal’ fashion for the next million years. Over 90% of ocean Life and two-thirds of land animals disappeared. So ended the Paleozoic Era at 10:41PM or 252 Million Years ago.

    The Mesozoic Era begins with 16 minutes of the Triassic Period. Again the few survivors didn’t miss a beat. Among the most noteworthy adaptations were tetrapods who differentiated into distinct amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, mammal-like reptiles and bird lineages. Plants also reached new heights and complexity, while insects scaled down and prospered, as did ocean Life.

    Pangea was now breaking up and again causing intensified volcanic activity, decimating the Triassic Period biota.  Survivors include dinosaurs who quickly radiated and dominated the following 17 minutes of the Jurassic and 25 minutes of the Cretaceous Periods. Mammal-like critters kept it small, though diversifying just the same. Flowers and fruit appeared, reptiles and amphibians also prospered.

    Then a well aimed mountain sized space rock crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, releasing truly catastrophic cascading consequences 65 million years ago.  Thus ended the hour long Mesozoic Era with three-quarters of animals and all non-avian dinosaurs dead, along with forests and jungles burned to a crisp.  This was a mere 20 minutes ago.

    Those forests and jungles, the atmosphere and oceans, eventually recovered and created new environments and conditions that enabled new groups of survivors to inherit the bounty and figure out how to exploit every possible niche.

    Again Life’s evolving genetic toolkit enabled fantastical adaptations and diversification into the modern forests and grasslands that spread into previously uninhabitable harsh barren lands. Once mammals figured out how to exploit these new resources they filled every imaginable environmental niche on our Earth.

    Among mammals were primates, with one branch leading to the first hominids 2 minutes ago. Through them modern humans appeared all of 6 seconds ago.

    In the past milliseconds we humans have learned to reflect upon this universe and ourselves. We have become masters of science and manipulating the physical world.

    We know much, but understand next to nothing, as demonstrated by our wanton destruction of the biosphere we depend on for everything.

    Humanity’s gluttonous instincts are inflicting reckless damages upon our planet and her biosphere like never before. We have been injecting ever more insulating CO2 into our atmosphere and carbonic-acid into our oceans – unlike anything since the triggers to the Permian/Triassic super extinction event.

    What else is left to say? Not much, except perhaps to point out there will be consequences for our society’s flippant disregard of our Mother Earth, her life history, and her needs.

     

     

    #313432
    TimB
    Participant

    Tah Dah!!!

    #313435
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    Nice work. Even though I’ve heard the timeline analogy before, but when the humans finally arrive in this “pageant” you really get the sense of how were are just part of a long line.

    #313601

    Thanks.  I read through it another dozen times.  Kept picking off little things here and there, but it’s a wrap now and sent off.

    I removed most the “then” – I’ve gotten into the habit of using them to keep the sentences moving forward, guess I need to watch that.

    You’ll notice the two I left in were at the two worst catastrophes so figure that’s warranted – Then,…

    It’s good to have stuff like that pointed out, least gives one a chance to think it over, and helps on justify or kill the baby.

    When it finally works out, it feels satisfying.

    TimB, thank’s for the good cheer from the balcony section 😉

    #315295

    Thank for the feed back:

    https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2019/12/pageant-of-earth-evolution-1.html

    https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2019/12/pageant-of-earth-evolution-in-24hr-part.html

    Should this topic interest you I’ve embedded over 160 substantive links to supporting information into the text of part two.

    Thanks again for the feed back, it made the difference between a flop and something I can feel good about, while knowing I could do better in the future.

    (oh don’t let the picture fool you, in true column fashion its a couple decades old by now 😉

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