Life on Planet Earth
“Oh good grief”, said Harriett.
“I thought your friends were up to the task. After all, it’s not that hard to become a certified osprey observer”.
The Doctor was embarrassed. He tried to blame it on his poor writing skills, but Harriett would have none of it.
“Now get yourself inspired! Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps (another idiom, like a grain of salt) and prepare the world for The Show. I’ve got a lot to say”.
The Doctor smarted from Harriett’s reprimand, but he knew she was right. He could not let his gift of telepathy be wasted. It is a precious gift; he knows it. The providence of nature, the destiny of the biological class Aves and all of humanity depends on his due diligence. The Doctor suddenly realized that he was a key player in the events that would direct the future course of life on earth.
Where to begin?
Birds evolved from dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era. The Mesozoic Era is an interval of geological time from 252 to 66 million years ago. It is also called the Age of Reptiles. The era is subdivided into three major periods: the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous.
Among the features linking dinosaurs to birds are a furcula (wishbone), air-filled bones, brooding of the eggs, and feathers. The ground-breaking discovery of fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex soft tissue allowed a molecular comparison of cellular anatomy and protein sequencing of collagen tissue, both of which demonstrated that T. rex and birds are more closely related to each other than either is to the alligator.
Back to the Beginning
It is important to keep a proper perspective. Remember when we discussed the orgin of telemety? The same is true here.
The Big Bang
The universe begins with a cataclysm that generates space and time, as well as all the matter and energy the universe will ever hold.
One millionth of a second after the Big Bang, the most basic forces in nature become distinct: gravity, the strong force, the weak force and electromagnetic forces.
3 seconds after The Big Bang
Protons and neutrons come together to form the nuclei of simple elements: hydrogen, helium and lithium. It will take another 300,000 years for electrons to be captured into orbits around these nuclei to form stable atoms.
The Radiation Era
10,000 years after The Big Bang
All energy is in the form of radiation — wavelengths of light, X rays, radio waves and ultraviolet rays.
The Era of Matter Domination
300,000 years after The Big Bang
The energy in matter and the energy in radiation have become equal. The microwave background radiation starts at this moment, and thus gives us a direct picture of how matter was distributed at that time.
Birth of Stars and Galaxies
300 million years after The Big Bang. (15 billion years before the present)
Gravity amplifies irregularities in the density of the primordial gas. Pockets of gas become more dense. Stars ignite within these pockets, and groups of stars become the earliest galaxies.
Birth of the Sun
5 Billion Years Before the Present
The sun forms within a cloud of gas in a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. A vast disk of gas and debris that swirls around this new star gives birth to planets, moons, and asteroids . Earth is the third planet out.
3.8 Billion Years Before the Present
The Earth has cooled and an atmosphere develops. Microscopic living cells, neither plants nor animals, begin to evolve and flourish in earth’s many volcanic environments.
Primitive Animals Appear
700 Million Years Before the Present
These are mostly flatworms, jelly fish and algae. By 570 million years before the present, large numbers of creatures with hard shells suddenly appear.
Dinosaurs Become Extinct
65 Million Years Before the Present
An asteroid or comet slams into the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This world-wide cataclysm brings to an end the long age of the dinosaurs, and allows mammals to diversify and expand their ranges.
Homo Sapiens Evolve
600,000 Years Before the Present
Our earliest ancestors evolve in Africa from a line of creatures that descended from apes.
All living organisms are divided into 5 Kingdoms: Plants, Fungi, Animals, Protoctista and Bacteria. The living members of the Animal Kingdom are further divided into Classes. Classes are divided into groups called Orders. After categorizing the Orders, we have Families and sometimes Subfamilies. Within each Family/Subfamily, there are a number of Genera and within each Genus are a number of Species.
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate.
There are over 2 million different types of life forms on Earth each with its own remarkable evolutionary history.
“I guess we are responsible for them all”, sighed the Doctor.
Harriett picked up the sigh load and clear.
“Just get the camera ready!” she telegraphed.
But the Doctor went to bed that night contemplating the meaning of life and how it relates to existence and consciousness. He wondered if the immortal essence of a living being was transcendent or just an esoteric, mystical concept. To him the monistic substrate that all existing things go back to a source which is distinct from them selves is hard to understand. The presence of a unifying substance or essence must exist.