Photo illustration by Amanda Schultz

Studying dinosaurs is dino-mite


Humans can learn from dinosaurs’ experiences with climate change

Humans can learn from dinosaurs’ experience with global warming. Elliot Dabill, president of the board of directors for Friends of the Arcata Marsh, gave a lecture on Friday Feb. 15 on the topic, “What Could Dinosaurs Teach Us About Global Warming?”

“Of course the answer is a lot,” Dabill said.

Elliot said that during this time, the continents were crashing into one another to create Pangea. Volcanoes then began erupting. The lava produced was enough to cover Europe.

Elliot said the heat from the lava cooked limestone and coal which then threw carbon dioxide and sulfur into the atmosphere. The large amount of gases, carbon dioxide and methane specifically, absorbed heat from the sun. Permafrost would then melt, which threw more methane into the atmosphere. During this time, oxygen was being sucked out of the air.

Dabill referenced statistics that there was only 12 percent to 16 percent oxygen in the air, compared to 21 percent today. This lack of air would make it very difficult to breath at higher elevations.

“You couldn’t go to Willow Creek,” Dabill said.

According to Dabill, this is when dinosaurs began to evolve. This is also when Pangea began to break apart. Oxygen levels had just started to recover only to crash again. Volcanoes and poison gas again began to spew into the air.

“Huge volumes of lava coming out,” Dabill said.

The Earth started to heat up and oxygen levels were crashing quickly.

“Volcanoes had to be a factor,” Dabill said.

Many of the animals during these eras went extinct due to the low oxygen. Thankfully, dinosaurs have special lungs with air sacs. This type of lung system allowed the dinosaurs to absorb more oxygen than the other animals. The air sacs also helped absorb and exhale heat from the air. This allowed dinosaurs to survive while other animals suffered and went extinct.

“The more you hear about global warming, the more you understand it. The human influence is irrefutable.”

Bill Prescott

Katy Allen, secretary for Friends of the Arcata Marsh board of directors, attended the lecture on Friday.

“I never knew the reason dinosaurs survived,” Allen said.

That is when it shifted into the Jurassic era. The dinosaurs began to take over.

“Dinosaurs end up running the world,” Dabill said.

Today, the Earth is heating up faster than ever. This is due to the mass of carbon dioxide being emitted across the planet by humans.

The melting of glaciers and sea level rise are two issues of concern. People across the planet are counting on glaciers to provide water for their rivers. Sea level rise will affect people all across the planet. This will destroy homes and infrastructure for millions of people.

Bill Prescott is a retired businessman who attended the lecture on Friday.

“The more you hear about global warming, the more you understand it,” Prescott said. “The human influence is irrefutable.”

Humans also have a trick to combat these issues. Humans can put their brains together to solve climate change once and for all.

“This is only the beginning,” Dabill said.

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