Home > 999. Lost Landscapes, A. Habilis: habit, hand, and how we learned to speak > The K-T Event and Your Morning Cup of Coffee

The K-T Event and Your Morning Cup of Coffee

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small, furry, and anonymous can have its advantages. Especially if you happened to be living 66 million years ago and somehow managed to survive the dinosaur K-T event, the impact of an asteroid at least 2½ miles in diameter (and perhaps as large as 12 miles) that killed 75% of all life on the planet–including, most famously, the dinosaurs.

The impact left behind a crater 110 miles across and generated a dust cloud that reduced sunlight by 10-20% for a year. Global firestorms caused by the collision’s heat pulse and a brief but intense burst of infrared radiation may have attended the event. As if all that were not enough, oxygen levels in the atmosphere plummeted, the O² consumed by the conflagrations.

You had to be tough to survive K-T.

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But why, finally, is this important? In fact, scientists distinguish five global extinctions that involved major loss of life. And when we think of the devastation wrought by the recent tsunamis that came ashore on Japan, Indonesia, and elsewhere, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that the status quo can be rather fragile.

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People are only too aware of the possibility of another asteroid hitting our planet, and what with global warming, seaside property has lost some of its allure. But what is seldom noted is that we are living in the midst of slow-motion boundary event, the development of speech, the rational mind, and modern people. RT believes that the nub of the problem lies in feeling and speech, integrating our emotions with our ego in a way that encourages respect for each other–and even love.

There is still the morning cup of coffee; RT never fails to be amazed by the way it stimulates conversation in people. We are discovering a new, interior landscape, one that may prove impervious to asteroids and global warming. If we are to get there, it helps to remember the importance of the seemingly unimportant–the crisis of speech that surrounds us and the coffee beans and other discoveries that may help us survive it.    RT

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PhotoTyrannosaurus rex skeleton (the specimen AMNH 5027) at American Museum of Natural History. Author: J.M. Luijt. WikiCmns. CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Netherlands license.

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