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Thread: Past Ages of the Earth

  1. #1 Past Ages of the Earth 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    If you could visit any period in Earth's pre-history, when would it be and why?
    (I would prefer to hear about something earlier than the Pleistocene. :wink: )

    For me the Carboniferous would be it. All those great swamps and massive dragonflys!


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  3. #2  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    If I had to pick one? Either the Cambrian to witness the explosion of weird and wonderful forms or the early Precambrian to watch abiogenesis occur (or analise the Panspermia meteorites).


    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  4. #3  
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    Late Visean (Carboniferous) in Derbyshire.
    Having spent a fair bit of time trying to it figure out, I would love the oppertunity to actually see what happened to the Northern tip of the Derbyshire carbonate platform around then. I have ideas, but it'd be nice to be proved either right or wrong. Can I have gills for my trip? Otherwise it'd be pretty much a waste of time.
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  5. #4  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    can't i get a guided tour through the whole of the phanerozoic ? failing that, i'd like to see what the ediacarian fauna really was like
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  6. #5  
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    Provided a safe observation seat...

    Hadean: Mars-sized impact
    Permian: Siberian flood basalts
    Cretaceous: Chicxulub impact
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    I'd go for the recent past (part of the holocene?) to about 20,000 years BP - for me early attaempts at civilisation, the first great migrations, and perhaps the last of the Neanderthals and mammoths, hold great fascination. Besides, I'd be in a world, albeit colder, to which humans were already adapted, but with, perhaps, fewer if any epidemic diseases (given the presumed lack of major population centres)...
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  8. #7  
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    So many periods to select from!

    Ediacaran to see exactly what the fuck was going on

    Cambrian since I've actually worked a week at the burgess shale doesn't geo/paleo


    Carboniferous would be pretty rad, I think.

    Devonian, so I can pin down exactly the tetrapod/sarcop 'link' and silence naysayers of evolution

    Permian to scope out the REAL rise of turtles (totally is procolophonids but people won't listen) and the biggest extinction...ever. Also to see how sand dollars managed not to die out but came oh so close! Also the Deccan traps...

    uhhh triassic to see what gave early dinosaurs an 'edge'


    The K/t impact, that would be spectacular!

    I'd love to see alot of different fauna as well, but perhaps seeing how mysticetes came into the picture from early cetaceans would be cool.

    I can go on and on and on, being an active worker in the field of prehistory, so I'll stop there.
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  9. #8  
    Time Lord
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    I'm gradually acquiring plants for a miniature prehistoric garden, inspired by the carboniferous swamps. It'll have horsetails, ferns, etc. in a shaggy undergrowth of mosses... and somewhat inappropriate toy dinosaurs wading through a pond of mosquitoes. This is how one gets little boys interested in gardening. Action figures. A few newts would make the little world just perfect.

    My mosses keep dying though. I have an ultrasonic mister but I doubt it would last a month of continuous outdoor use.

    Suggestions for other period gardens are most welcome.


    If I was gonna bet my life on any age, it would have to be midway through the last ice age, on the Alaskan Pacific coast, which I think maintained stretches of ocean shoreline suitable to tide zone omnivores i.e. humans.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I am gonna be parochial, and ignore the stricture of the original post. As a New Zealander, I am very aware of the ecological destruction carried out by the first humans here, just 800 years ago. I would like to go back to New Zealand just 1000 years ago, to observe the life forms and the ecology before the hand of man descended. I would mount my time machine on a yacht, fully provisioned for a long stay, with full video equipment so I could record the wonderful life forms, and including underwater equipment so I could view that ecosystem also.

    I would expect to see 11 species of moa bird, including the largest bird ever to have lived, the 3 metre tall giant moa; the Haast Eagle - the largest raptor ever to have lived - along with native pelicans, adzebills, giant penguins, and amazing abundances of marine life.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    My mosses keep dying though. I have an ultrasonic mister but I doubt it would last a month of continuous outdoor use.

    Suggestions for other period gardens are most welcome.
    I have extensive experience building terreria for reptiles and amphibians. Try having standing water in one end with a circulator of some sort (waterfall works nicely). Try then having some equisetum. That stuff isn't too bad, but a main staple should be sphagnum moss. You would be hard pressed to kill it, it is still alive even when fully dessicated. It keeps your moisture levels high as well. That should be not bad to start, but remember that you have to do it stepwise. Get things stable with the most hardy species first, then toss in gradually more sensitive species; much like a fish tank.
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  12. #11  
    Time Lord
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    The moss meltdown is frustrating, because this is outdoors in Pacific rainforest (Vancouver), with moss transplanted locally. Maybe rich garden soil sickens it. I peel it off a wall, place it in a pot, it promptly dies.

    On the other hand I have a gorgeously lichen-crusted rock from South Alberta gathering dust on a shelf, hasn't changed in four years.
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  13. #12  
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    okay, firstly sphagnum doesn't actually need a substrate- it is an episubstrate moss that makes a loss tangled mat. Try it out, it's cheap at your local garden store. Lycopods wouldn't be bad either. If you want to know more, lets make a seperate thread and not hijack this one; or add me to msn or pm me, whatever.
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