Posted by: David Weimer | December 2, 2014

Chapter 30 — Dinosaur Religion (upcoming book excerpt)

church

Were their congregations outdoors, under the solemn Banyan trees?

Did their pastors make impassioned pleas to each individual listener’s more charitable instincts (to drop donations in the collection basket)?

What, exactly, did the dinosaurs believe?

 

Were the dinosaur popes and Martin Luthers bucking the system of thought and control?

Did dinosaur fortune tellers sense deeply and did their prophets foresee the future? Like the family on the beach before a tsunami, did they notice with a small part of themselves smaller, flying dinosaurs leaving in the moments before an asteroid came roiling down? Will we notice the harbingers of our own ceasing? Culturally? Nationally? Personally?

In the tens of millions of years that dinosaurs spread out to cover their planet with their lives, did they evolve more practically? Pragmatically? Cynically? —than we have so far managed to become?

Were dinosaurs Taoists? Did they develop nature religions? Did they practice Yoga and insight meditation? Did they chant sutras and pay for a personal mantra? In what form were their collection baskets woven? A ceremonial half-egg? We believe they were illiterate because none of their books or bibles survived the sweeping cataclysm that ushered in their destruction. Their obliging ending was the harbinger of our own salvation from marginalized extinction.

What did the dinosaurs tell their children about God? What did their god look like? Isn’t that obvious? Did their Jesus walk on water or fly with wings?

It is safe to assume that they had many more Gods, isn’t it? We ourselves, members of just one speckled species, have thousands of Gods. And there were thousands of species of dinosaur, tens of thousands. So that’s a lot of prayers to go around to a lot of deity forms.

Did the dinosaurs’ nighttime prayers drown out the sound of the insects momentarily? Did dinosaur children close their eyes, bow their heads and hold their forelimbs together in supplication? One fateful afternoon, did dinosaur children and adults alike face skyward, forelimbs stretched wide in praise as the asteroid roiled across the sky on its trajectory to the Yucatán?

Were dinosaurs spiritual seekers? Unsatisfied by conventional emotional religious dogma imposed upon them by their hierarchical societies? Did they stare at their own reflections in the water while drinking? If I were a dinosaur, I would have. Were these dinosaurs atheists? Were some? Secular dinosaurists? Did one out of countless millions of dinosaurs, of multiple thousands of species, understand what they were in the grand scheme of things? Did one of them experience a realization of the Truth of existence? Were the various dinosaur cults pacifist or activist in nature? Were dinosaurs who committed suicide permitted a dinosaur afterlife or decent burial? Did dinosaur terrorists dream of an after-death reward for their actions, including mating with virgins?

Were dinosaurs’ souls bigger than ours? Did their angels have wings of feathers, scales or skin? Is it possible that we are recycled, repurposed and reused dinosaur souls? We’re certainly the embodiment, literally, of recycled dinosaurs’ bodies. We breathe the same air as they did, after all.

As the dinosaurs all died, the “open” sign on the buffet turned on for all our warm-blooded ancestors.

What, exactly, did the dinosaur saints look like in their frescos? Were these holy ones depicted with halos? What kinds of religious jewelry did the laity wear hanging from their necks? Were their rosaries shaped like ours? Did they have stations of the cross in their cathedrals like ours? Did they light votive candles for departed loved ones, too? Did they mention the valley of the shadow of death at their graveside funerals? Did they bury their dead, or eat them?

 

Many discoveries of dinosaur remnants are located where hundreds upon hundreds of dinosaurs of the same and of different species are found jumbled and tangled together, apparently having died in the same time period.

Scientists assure us that these individuals were covered with sediment and thus fossilized. Were they grazing, running errands, or going about their daily business when a terrain-clearing wall of water from a thousand-meter-high tsunami washed them from the surface of their homes? Undoubtedly something happened on one day, or in a stretch of days, sixty-five and a half million years ago.

Were these dinosaurs members of a cross-species congregation, appealing to their deities during their End-of-Days rapture? Maybe multi-cultural, multi-species mega churches were gathering places for members where prophets and soothsayers interpreted the signs of the heavens.

Were dinosaurs really as dumb as we believe they were? We think they were dumb, the same as crocodiles and turtles. Are we sure? We observe contemporary ravens using tools and dolphins having no tools. What is the sign of intelligence?

Did dinosaur headstones stand tall and proud for centuries before crumbling?

Did dinosaur chanting echo through the valleys with the sound of voices raised in unison? Were all dinosaurs multi-lingual?

 

Brain reconstruction hints at dinosaur communication

 

SAN DIEGO — Dinosaur brains may have possessed the capacity for complex vocal communication, a new study hints.

Dinosaurs left behind few clues about their brainpower. Neuroscientist Erich Jarvis of Duke University and colleagues worked around this problem by studying dinosaurs’ living relatives: birds. The team compared the brains of crocodiles, which evolved before dinosaurs, with the brains of birds, which descended from dinosaurs.

Crocodiles and birds have complex brain regions that help sense other animals’ vocalizations, the team reported at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting. Since birds and crocs both have these regions, dinosaurs probably did too, the scientists suggest.

That finding suggests that dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex were capable of processing complex stimuli, such as sounds made by other dinosaurs. As for whether dinosaurs communicated with sound, Jarvis said their study can’t say for sure. “But all the structures are there.”

 

In the tens of millions of years that each dinosaur species existed, did they evolve something more sophisticated than grunts? Have the crocodiles evolved something more than that? Birds, the descendants of dinosaurs, do more than grunt, don’t they? Members of our own species find bird noises one of the most beautiful “natural” sounds in our world.

Of course, birds are stupid. They make their great-sounding music that I, too, love to listen to while I walk in the forest. Mockingbirds are sublime vocalists. Are these birds just passing down, repeating, and singing the old time religious songs of their forbearers? Singing ancestral music? Or, mindlessly voicing the songs of their former masters? Birds make a lot of noise; but they couldn’t possibly be saying anything, could they?

Jus’ like dem igit wails, dolfins, elfants ‘n’ dogs—all dem animals ‘cept us is dumb as shee-it. Yous rite, dos dinosaurs didn’t know nuttin eeder. Hey, day aint never no such t’ing as dinosaurs eeder. Dey’s a big lie. I nos wat I no….

Were dinosaurs different from us? Did dinosaurs pray for prosperity and caution their young against excess? Did dinosaurs believe or know anything? Did they thank God?

Within our own species, we wiser Homo Sapiens have elbowed and whispered to each other that other members of our kind, hailing from other lands with other skin tones and appearances, are unintelligent animals.

Have you ever watched a baby looking at the moon?

When an individual conscious entity notices that glowing orb in the night sky—or ponders the sun and stars and rainbows and lightning and shooting stars—there is possibly curiosity.

Wondering what these things might be, and, by extension, what one’s relation to it might be. Or just staring in wordless awe? Religion was our first explanation to ourselves—our first answers to the questions we all felt about the things we saw and noticed in the world.

Well, Human God?

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