Will We End Up Like The Dinosaurs?

We should be so lucky

15 min readSep 19


Baby Yinliang, the dinosaur. “We were surprised to see this embryo beautifully preserved inside a dinosaur egg, lying in a bird-like posture.” — Dr. Waisum Ma

Will we end up like the dinosaurs? We should be so lucky. The dinosaurs actually survived much worse than us. They were dealing with climate change and got hit by an asteroid and somehow made it through. In paleontological fact, dinosaurs never went extinct at all. Birds are dinosaurs, and they’re pretty badass too.

Mammals have been evolving with dinosaurs for millions of years and it’s only in the past few centuries that ‘we’ could claim any sort of dominance. If you could call killing our own damn selves dominance. Behold what we have done to our class (Mammalia):

“Biomass of wild mammals on land; data from OWID. For mammal mass, I used two sources. One came from an aggregation of data incorporating Barnosky (2008), Smil (2011) and Bar-On et al. (2018), as presented here. These data show dry carbon mass of land mammals declining from 15 Mt 10,000 years ago to 10 Mt by 1900, and 3 Mt today. From this, I construct a smooth exponential fit that looks like 15.0 − 10.37×exp[(year — 2000)/137.07]” by Tom Murphy

Geologically speaking we look like total dumbasses. We have no place looking down on dinosaurs. They survived much longer than us, and also didn’t crash into themselves. For all we know, they’ll be picking our bones. Our vaunted civilization is just another mass extinction event the dinosaurs are living through. We’d be wise to learn from them how we ourselves can expect to straggle through.

The Mistaken Extinction

When the book The Mistaken Extinction was published in 1997 the idea that dinosaurs never went extinct was controversial. This idea is broadly accepted now, though popular language still lags behind. As paleontologist Julia Clarke says, “birds are living dinosaurs, just as we are mammals.”

The common idea that dinosaurs died and mammals took over after the K/T event (☄) isn’t true. Both lines survived, and it’s only recently that chickens have become a joke. Dinosaur species outnumbered and still outnumber mammals now. In popular language what we mean is that the cool dinosaurs died out, but that isn’t even true. For much of homo-history, birds looked like ‘mini’ T-Rex’s with beaks. Absolutely terrifying.

Florida Museum curator Bruce MacFadden examines a hammered-steel skeleton of the carnivorous, seven-foot-tall terror bird, Titanis walleri.”

The giant ‘Terror Birds’ of just a few hundred thousand years ago are not a categorical departure from Tyrannosaurus and they were bigger than the…




Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.