Sunday, August 11, 2013

When Miss G and I Split up in Evolution

Evolution is amazing! Since about two months I am deeply obsessed with Miss G's and my prehistoric ancestors. Before that I had always assumed, dinosaurs were my ancestors as well, but this is clearly not  the case. They are Miss G's ancestors indeed, but mammal-like reptiles had already evolved long before dinosaurs. Once there were reptiles, which weren't dinosaurs yet, before evolution split them: On one side the dinosaurs and birds, on the other mammal-like reptiles and mammals. So when did Miss G's and my ancestors actually split up?
Petrolacosaurus, earliest reptile known, so one of those ancestors Miss G and I sisterly share
Reptiles developed from amphibians about 320-310 million years ago. Around 300 million years ago there were already reptiles which clearly were ancestors of mammals, but not of dinosaurs. Ergo, Miss G's and my both roots must be about 300 million years old. Since 300 million years ago Miss G's ancestors, the dinosaurs, evolved their way, whereas we mammals our way. Each of us went 300 million years and if you add that together, Miss G and I are separated by 600 years evolutional developing. So how comes we're still so amazingly similar?

We both have two feet, two eyes, a pair of ears and voices. Miss G and I can talk to each other and
Velociraptor, of the raptor-family, birds evolved from
we do understand each other. Her wings are not much different from my arms, they only have another function. Well, 65 million years ago her dinosaur ancestors, the raptors, really had arms to grab their prey. So actually, Miss G's wings are arms, used for flight. The most fascinating resemblance between Miss G and me are our voices. I've never been surprised at the fact that cats sound so very human. You can really confuse a meowing cat with a crying baby. And this is not too astonishing, because cats evolved just about 25 million years ago. Early humans probably listened to the meowing of saber-toothed cat cubs at night and felt like they sounded like their own babies. But to hear sounds like that from Miss G really astonishes me. This bird sounds amazingly human.

In the Cambrian period (541.0 - 485.4 million years ago) eyes were new evolvement. Critters suddenly were able to see, to find their prey or avoid predators. So, as Miss G and I split 300 million years didn't we divide more gravely? I might have developed three eyes and Miss G even four. But this doesn't seem to be the concept of evolution—or in case you like that better, of creation. It very much looks like we're all one big family and Miss G and I are part of it. We are relatives and there's really big love between the two of us.

One last point: I heard some scientist assume, aliens from another planet couldn't look like people. Why, maybe they do! Doesn't it look like evolution follows a certain concept? After all this might be the evolutional concept of the whole universe. Well, maybe the people from another planet would look a little more like Miss G, but I think they would look like people. Smart little guys with feathers.

By Clarissa
Prehistoric paintings by the ingenious Nobu Tamura