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ZetaTalk: Dinosaurs
Note: from the Feb 2, 2002 Live ZetaTalk IRC session.

Dinosaurs were related, and when a virus mutated, this affected them all. The dinosaur survived to become the current reptiles because, as with any infection, there are some who have resistance. All became sickly, and the smaller ones needed less to eat than the larger, and thus prevailed. There has been an intense discussion on tt-watch about this matter, based on our statements, where it has been determined that the dinosaurs died out gradually, not suddenly as a meteor winter would have caused. At the same time, the discussion questioned how many species of dinosaurs could be similarly afflicted by a single virus. Specialization in species is a concept understood by man, as he sees frog populations worldwide affected by the recent earth changes, such that they appear to be dying out. Coral reefs likewise appear fragile, subject to pollution damage. The issue is not so much how hale a creature is, as how vulnerable. The T-Rex was huge, had evolved to a large size, as had the herbivores of those days.

Today, large whales migrate around the world in the oceans, and elephants rumble through the jungles, so this size should not be that surprising. Yet the mammoth is extinct, in spite of living in great herds only millennia ago. Mankind likewise could be wiped out by the AIDS virus, as it is routinely fatal with few proving to be immune. A virus mutates, as the AIDS virus has such that a vaccine cannot be developed effectively against it. Ebola has likewise mutated and migrated, afflicting mankind now increasingly. One might look back and say, in a hypothetical future, that man numbered 6 billion, had technology, but they all died out! Those large dinosaurs that had immunity to the virus were nonetheless weakened, and struggled for food in this condition. Smaller creatures who reached a bit of food made this go further, and struggled forward to reproduce and pass on their immunity. Thus, just as the last of the mammoth died because they were weakened from having to migrate back to the grasslands, and the young among them failed this migration, just so the large dinosaurs passed.

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