As a final comment to last week's happy hour message, blog consort JJV posed an interesting question. As a father of six year olds who speak of little other than dinosaurs, he wonders why species like crocodiles and turtles somehow survived the Cretaceous Period, whereas dinosaurs could not. We at the happy hour are willing to take a shot at any issue that troubles a happy hour follower, especially if it requires a level of analysis that might satisfy a six year old. Therefore, I have ginned up an answer based on equal parts uninformed conjecture and fifteen minutes with Google.
I first present you with Exhibit A, which is a photo of exactly one-half of the species that we're talking about. What occurs to me initially is that this is precisely why I have trouble relaxing while golfing in Florida. I also note that it is impossible for an animal to survive like this for 65 million years without having a supremely efficient design. You can use the search engine of your choice to draw a similar conclusion about tortoises. By contrast, the dinosaurs were apparently caught up in the evolutionary brush. If they were alive today, I expect that they'd look like Michael Moore.
Now, this is the kind of inductive reasoning that might placate a slacker teen, but I sincerely doubt that it is enough for the probing questions of a six year old. Therefore, I'll move on to a level of deductive analysis, or as I like to call it, the factors that would make living at the end of the Cretaceous Period suck.
1. Being warm blooded. Some paleontologists believe that the dinosaurs were warm blooded, and let's face it, moderating body temperature requires a lot of energy. Creating a lot of energy, in turn, requires a lot of food. Acquiring a lot of food requires a lot less chaos than existed at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Crocodiles and turtles, on the other hand, are cold blooded. They can move to a pool of water that's deep enough to find a temperature that suits them, then come to the surface for a breath of air every thirty minutes for 65 million years. Problem solved.
2. Being massive. Once again, being large requires a lot of food. You could ask Mama Cass Elliot, but she's also extinct, reportedly in the act of acquiring food. In the post-asteroid/super-volcano world, the collapse of the food chain hit the largest species the hardest. In fact, at least two species of large crocodile became extinct. That photo above is just a wee one.
3. Being a carnivore. Honestly, you're going through the biggest die-off since the Jurassic Period, and you need a specialized diet? Having a little salad wouldn't kill you, you know. I grant that crocodiles are carnivores, but look at their lifestyle. They hang out at the edge of a pool until their meal comes to them. It's like Domino's for aquatic reptiles. Plus, being cold blooded, they don't need to eat very frequently.
4. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes stuff, like asteroids and what not, falls from the heavens. Try not to be under it like this guy was.
So that, JJV, is my very shallowly informed answer. Let me know how it plays for the boys.
For happy hour this Friday, March 19, we have a special treat, as we have at least the potential to explore a neighborhood. We'll start at Granville Moore's, located at 1238 H Street, NE (yes, that's Northeast DC), a short cab ride or a nice springtime stroll from the Union Station Metro stop. But who's kidding whom? We might never get very far from Granville Moore's, even though there are plenty of other great places nearby if we get tired of Belgian food and beer. We'll kick things off at 6:30.