Tuesday, January 31, 2012

25. A Small Saurian Uprising

In the aftermath
Scurrying among the feet of Tyrannosaurus and Brachiosaurus
As they’ve done for millions of years
Were the new kings of the Earth.
They walked the windswept deserts
They flew the dusty, volcanic black skies
Feeding, as scavengers, on the carcasses of their overlords.
The only living remnants of their mighty empire were the small lizards and birds
Scurrying and hopping among the dead bodies.
Over the millennia
The grasses and plants came back.
The skies became blue and clear.
Once again the trees grew to towering heights.
The dust from the old empire cleared
Revealing a new world.
The sun shone through a new canopy to a new forest floor.
Mammals took their place as the rightful heirs of the world.
They filled in old niches.
Lived with the birds and lizards.
For a long time things were peaceful.
The mammals and birds were equals
But the birds had a problem with this.
As the ancient heirs to the dinosaur throne they wanted to rule.
Evolution became the solution to their problem.
The birds grew gigantic
They developed powerful legs and huge jaws.
With these weapons, they took many parts of the world.
They terrorized the small horses.
The rebellion started.
Titanis in the north, Argentavis in the south.
The leaders of the rebellious terror birds.
They ruled their lands with iron wings.
Chomping down on the little animals and making life miserable.
They slowly moved up north
Crossing the land bridge.
Then they met resistance.
Finally, death came for them as well.
No one knew what it was that stopped them.
Now the giant birds live peacefully as docile Cassowaries, Emus, and Ostriches.

Monday, January 30, 2012

24. The Catastrophe

The gardener of the sky looked down at his creations.
He decided that he was finished with these lizards.
He was tired of them lording over the smaller animals.
He needed to prune the overgrowth back.
So he pointed down at North America.
A star fell from the sky.
Slamming into the earth.
Destruction rained down on the once mighty reptiles.
Shock waves ripped through the crust.
Burning dust and rock flew up into the atmosphere,
Rained back down,
As tsunamis stirred the oceans.
Volcanic and cosmic ash filled the skies
Blocking the sun.
The saurian empire fell.
With the last rays of light.
The cold grip of death
In the darkened world.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

23. The Cretaceous: The Great Decline

Go forth!
The wise one said.
The continents split
So did the many body types.
The world continued to be a great garden.
A hot paradise
Filled with lush, green forests.
Ferns grew wild and trees towered high.
New changes came to the Edenic world.
Plants flaunted their youth
For bees and buzzing insects
To polinize and reproduce
Forests and bare earth
Gave way to fields of grass
Where Ankylosaurs and Triceratops
Grazed peacefully.
As the Ceolophysis prophecy foretold.
His tyrant descendant,
King Rex,
Lorded over the land.
Threatening the weakest of animals
With saw-like teeth.
The dinosaurs thought their reign would never end.
They became greedy with their size.
They felt invincible.
They continued to grow
Until their necks reached over the forest canopy.
Rodents and smaller lizards scurried around under their feet.
Even their cousins, the birds had to live in the shadows of the great ones.
Eventually, hubris caught up with them.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

22. The Jurassic: The Empire's Peak

Pangea slowly began to split
Becoming Gondwana and Laurasia.
What once was hot and dry
Became warm and wet.
The climate turned more tropical.
Triassic deserts turned green
As trees and plants rolled out into the full Jurassic Eden.
Leaves were traded for needles
Coelophysis dreams slowly become reality
As this “Other Lizard” claimed his dominance.
He sharpened his claws
He lengthened his serrated teeth
Growing to an enormous size.
“Other lizard’s” victims changed as well
To cope with his tyrannical reign.
Plates of armor and bony spikes were forged
In their evolutionary arsenal.
Others changed from claw to foot
Standing on tree trunk feet.
“Other Lizard” ruled this coniferous Eden with tooth and claw.
Threatening the titanic sauropods
Munching on Iguanadon.
“Whatever I want I will take” was “Other Lizard’s” law.
Tiny therapods and rodents
Feed on left over carcasses.
Pterosaurs grew wings
Took to the air
As Plesiosaurs and Ichthyosaurs grew fins.
They journeyed back to the sea to start a new life
Away from “Other Lizard”
And his terrible reign.
Dinosaurs came into their own
As the rulers of this Jurassic garden.

Friday, January 27, 2012

21. The Triassic: The Rise of a New Empire

On strong back legs of Plateosaurs and Ceolurosaurs
The dinosaurs built their powerful empire.
They were the noble ancestors of great kings.
Claiming the land as their own.
Walking through mighty forests of
The Post Permian aftermath.
Surveying their kingdom with strong eyes,
Sharp teeth
And swift foot.
They knew
One day
They will be great.
The small Ceolophysis
Who ran among the ferns
Dreamt of that day
When others would tremble at his descendants’ mighty roar
And fear the name of the tyrant king.
He knew the prosauropods
Towering over him
Eating the tops of trees
Would meet their match
In the new Eden that is to come.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

20. The Dawn of an Empire

New leaps forward came.
They modified their scales.
Skin was invented.
They hunted their ancient rivals.
They looked back at their ancestors
Still confined to the oceans, lakes and rivers.
They found that they could never go back.
They had to push on as reptiles now
They needed to build a new empire of their own.
These new empire builders found a changed world.
There was one landmass
There was one ocean.
Reptiles now had the run of the land.
They played with their designs.
Some created great sails.
Others grew big,
Competed for dominance.
Then things changed.
A new schism happened.
Reptile split with mammal.
Then the die-off.
The sail-backed Pelycosaurs,
Along with the trilobites before
Live in mammalian museums now
Locked in stone
As mementos of the past.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

19. The Invasion

Rise up my fellow lobe-fins!
Grab your helmets!
Grab your weapons!
March to the shallows!
The land dwellers will fear the mighty Crossopterygian army!
Invade the beaches!
Fight your way through!
Every step inland is a victory!
From now on we will write history!
Wait a minute!
I can’t breathe!
Many died in those years.
They learned a lesson about the surface world.
Gills don’t work without water.
Some managed to get back to the safety of the shallows.
“This battle may have been won,” they said shaking their fins,
“But we will be back.”
“The war’s not over.”
Fish engineers decided to continue their search for the perfect weapon.
A few years back there was another invasion.
The invertebrates,
Sworn enemy of the fish,
Successfully colonized the land.
The fish were angry at hearing of this victory.
They swore never to let another humiliation like that happen again.
They made their fins shorter and their bodies bonier.
With every invasion,
With every push onto land,
With every loss of life,
The fish perfected their bodies.
Adapting to life on land.
Onward fishy soldiers!
Until the land is yours!
A new fish engineer had an idea.
He closed his gills and brought sacks of air out.
He called them lungs.
When he showed them to his brothers
They liked what they saw.
They adapted it.
With these new lungs the fish left their oceanic empire
Continuing to colonize.

18. Fish

A new, bigger revolution was brewing.
Under the tempestuous ocean
The little squirts were evolving too.
They evolved fins and tails
Eventually eyes.
They became fish.
But they needed something new.
Something more.
They looked to their designers for something.
They set to work.
They looked at themselves
Found that something was missing.
They took their gills and modified them.
Then they filled them with teeth
The jaw was invented.
With their jaws
They moved up the natural ladder.
They were no longer the slow bottom feeders
Sucking things up from the mud.
They could go out and take charge of their destiny.
They were hydro-dynamically sound
Sports cars of the marine world.
Instead of shells and exoskeletons,
Which would only hold them back,
They had bones and armor.
Fish dominated in the Devonian and Silurian.
Fighting their way like soldiers
Moving up the ranks to become top predators.
The terror of the deep.
The first Jaws
The Tyrannosaurus of the fish world.
Terrorized the sharks.
He became too powerful for his own good.
He would never lead the new invasion,
But he helped the real invaders,
Chased by the likes of Dunkleosteus
The lobe-fins needed a new place to live.
They were tired of being terrorized by the bigger fish.
So they planned to take the land

Monday, January 23, 2012

17. The First Conquerors

Plant your roots in the soft soil.
Spread your branches to the sky.
You are the first to reach land.
New territory!
Let the others figure it out.
You will be the foundation of the new world.
The symbol of a new order.
Stretching to the sky like green flags in the sand.
Spread your seeds and build an empire.
They grew tall as trees,
Taking in Carbon Dioxide,
Expelling Oxygen.
Seedless plants grew strong in the soil.
They pushed inland as the mosses stayed near the shore.
The planet became a lush green wonderland.
An Eden.
The first colonizers were quiet.
They whispered their dominance
As the wind blew through their leaves.
They didn’t need to be loud.
The first conquerors found that there was a price for this success.
The elements.
Storms uprooted them.
Fires burned them.
Droughts dried them out.
Hold fast my friends.
You’ll go far.
You’ll do great things.
Because whatever comes your way
Whether it be insects
Or storms
You will survive
Bringing new life to the world.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

16. A New Hope

As for the rest of you invertebrates
Continue on your way!
Move up!
Keep changing!
Swarm the oceans!
Remember your trilobite forebears!
They brought you into this new world!
So they did.
The extinction gave new opportunities
To the animals.
New niches were opened.
Bryozoans formed forests as corals created reefs.
Brachiopods littered the seafloor.
They diversified.
Habitats opened up.
New creatures moved in.
Adaptive radiation brought new styles
To shelly animals.
A nice little bit of insurance from predators,
While Brachiopods articulated Conodonts made teeth out of bone.
Graptolites floated lazily by
Guiding fossil hunters to the Ordivician and Silurian.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

15. The Extinction

As continents moved and eroded
They slowly reached for the South Pole.
Ocean currents became disrupted,
Ice sheets slowly crossed the barren land.
Gondwana glaciation brought its icy cold grip to the populous of the Ordovician.
Oxygen was depleted.
Animals suffocated.
Falling to the bottom,
They were buried.
They were held for years until someone dug them up.
We must remember them as they once were.
Great pioneers of the oceans.
The poor creatures of the explosion
Most of them dead like the trilobites
Paving the way for us as we pave that way with them.
Limestone graves for archeocyathids, trilobites, and coral grew.
Here lies so-and-so.
There lies what’s-his-name and so on.
Remember them my friends.
We have a lot to thank them for.
Your time will come as well.
May you rest peacefully in your rocky tombs.
No longer will you have to worry about predators.
Archeocyathids and trilobites are no more.
They will be missed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

14. The Explosion

An explosion of life
Came rushing from simple designs.
The bomb had gone off.
New creatures.
Strange creatures.
Continents joined and divided
Sculpting the landscape above and below the waves
As little archeocyathids grew into ocean forests.
Ancestors of fish and us,
The little squirts,
Swarmed the seas
Breeding in the Cambrian.
New life exploded on the scene
The trigger remained a mystery.
Shelled and soft creatures lurked in the water.
This was the hunting ground of Anamalocaris
The terror of the deep.
Claws that grasp
Beak that bites.
Even the kindly armored trilobite was no match for him.
The others nibbled and grazed on the bottom as Ottoia burrowed in the soft sand.
It dug around snatching poor creatures up when they wandered too close.
That was life in the Cambrian.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

13. Multicellular Life

The problem of the predator continued.
Some decided to join into groups.
Herds of animals came about.
Roaming the seafloor.
Grazing on the growing algal blooms.
Others swarmed the seas.
Schools of them floating in the currents.
Soon they became closer
Colonies were formed.
Colonialism was a new innovation.
They built themselves into new life forms.
Opening doors to new possibilities.
The ticking of the bomb became louder, stronger, faster.
It was only a matter of time.
New forms came.
They created even newer forms.
Some grew bigger.
They assigned positions.
Tentacle replaced flagellum.
Seafloor locomotion and stationary life.
Seaweed grew like hair
While sea pens bloomed
Worms squiggled.
Jellies jiggled.
The sea had visible life.
No longer were they single cells.
They became tissues, organs, organisms.
The blue ocean waves were populated now.
The ticking of the bomb picked up.
Always moving
Always evolving

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

12. Revolutionary Reproduction

For millions of years
There was only one way to reproduce in the world.
Cloning through division.
Making copies meant no variation.
No variation meant no new experiments.
No new experiments meant quick extinction.
A new idea came along.
Male and female divorced each other.
Joining only to exchange information.
New inventions that made things progress further.
A small ticking sound could be heard.
A bomb was being armed.
Evolution allowed the animals to start experimenting.
The clock sped up.
Better predators
New prey.
The game started.

11. Eukaryotes

One day a little prokaryote had an idea.
It went up to a bigger one and made a deal.
“I give you energy.”
“I give you protection.”
“I help you with your life.”
“You give me food.”
“You protect me.”
“You help me with my life.”
The bigger one agreed.
The small one and the big one joined forces.
Soon others came.
No longer will the bigger one have to be alone.
No longer will the smaller ones be vulnerable.
The bigger one tucked in its information,
The others protected it,
Gave it energy,
Helped it live.
A home was built.
This idea caught on.
New deals were struck.
Why stand alone against our enemies?
This was where the split began.
A schism happened.
All became more distinct.

Monday, January 16, 2012

10. Oxygen!

For eons there was war.
New chemicals to kill competition
New weapons in ever expanding microbial arsenals
Then a crazy idea came around.
They took in the  chains of Carbon Dioxide.
Broke the bonds of ions.
Turned green.
Oxygen was released.
The plant-animal was born.
Some moved,
Some flagellated,
Others stayed put,
Building structures on the ocean floor.
A new atmosphere was formed.
Stromatolite lumps grew in the shallows.
An ozone layer.
It wasn’t all good though.
The gas was poisonous.
It caused extinctions.
The survivors used the die off to their advantage.
They consumed the gas
Expelling Carbon Dioxide.
From the crucible of the Big Bang came the womb of nebula.
From the womb of nebula came the forge of planets.
From the forge of planets came the brew of life.
Now Atom and Eve have a choice.
Move on or perish.