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Precursor to dominant land animals.
In 2003, when I began studying , the , and they articulated the difficulties that I had with mainstream economics since . A textbook published in 2011 by an economist and ecologist analyzed the disconnection between economists and the real world, and the way that economic schools have ignored energy was, in the opinion of the authors, their most grievous error. I do not take overarching conspiracy theories very seriously, as they do not adequately explain how most people act. People blindly and uncaringly performing their jobs are how most of the FE suppression that I survived was inflicted. Structural features, , explain most activity. However, that did not mean that those at the top did not know what they were doing, or even those further down the command chain, and my life’s turning point was when a public official . Organized suppression is , in my experience. Those doing most of the dirty work really do not know whose interests they serve or , and most do not even care much as long as it pays well, which was .
Today, people practicing the hunter-gatherer lifestyle are usually dependent on the production of nearby agricultural societies. Pure hunter-gathering, of the kind performed before the Domestication Revolution, has almost entirely vanished.
of complex life. Most appear. develop. dominate biomes.
In general, the large-sized fauna guilds that have dominated the past 40 million years were well represented on all continents. thrived in all inhabitable continents and biomes that they could migrate to. In North America, mammals whose size would astound (and terrify) modern observers included the (about the largest ever), a , the , , the , and the . They only large because of today’s stunted remnant populations. With the exception of the bison, they all lived for millions of years, through numerous ice age events, all to go extinct just after humans arrived, along with many other species, such as the . The other continents had similar giants. Australia had a and the . Southeast Asia had the , which dwarfed today’s gorillas. With only Africa and parts of Eurasia as partial exceptions, virtually large fauna went extinct, worldwide, soon after human arrival, and how humans came to be is the subject of a coming chapter.
Could this essay's first half be considered an indulgence of my childhood fascination with nature? That argument could have merit, but I have always been a "big picture" kind of thinker, even as a teenager. I am writing this essay primarily to help manifest FE technology in the public sphere and help remedy the deficiencies in all previous attempts that I was part of, witnessed, heard of, or read about. The biggest problem, by far, was that those trying to bring FE technology to the public had virtually no support from the very public that they sought to help. My journey's most important lesson was that , and an egocentric humanity living in scarcity and fear is almost effortlessly manipulated by the social managers. John Q. Public is only interested in FE technology to the extent that he can immediately profit from it. Otherwise, he goes back to watching his favorite TV show. It took many years of disillusionment for that to finally become clear to me. While this essay and all of my writings are provided for free to humanity and anybody can read them, I intend to only reach a very tiny fraction of humanity with my writings, but that tiny fraction will be sufficient for my plan to succeed. The readers that I seek have a formidable task ahead of them, but nothing less is required for my approach to have any hope of bearing fruit. This essay and my other writings are intended as a course in (also called "big picture") thinking. Studying the details deeply enough to avoid misleading superficial understandings is also a key goal. I am an accountant by profession, but one of the world's leading paleobiologists surprisingly read an early draft of this essay and informed me that it was one of the best efforts that he ever saw on the journey of life on Earth. There was nobody on Earth whose opinion I would have respected more than his, so I do not think that I am asking readers of this essay's first half to humor me. Every sentient being on Earth should know the rudiments of what this essay's first half covers.
Hot, shallow seas dominate biomes. Climate and sea level changes .
While oxygen level changes of the model show early fluctuations that the model does not, both models agree on a huge rise in oxygen levels in the late Devonian and Carboniferous, in tandem with collapsing carbon dioxide levels. There is also virtually universal agreement that that situation is due to rainforest development. Rainforests dominated the Carboniferous Period. If the Devonian could be considered terrestrial life’s , then the Carboniferous was its . In the Devonian, plants developed vascular systems, photosynthetic foliage, seeds, roots, and bark, and true forests first appeared. Those basics remain unchanged to this day, but in the Carboniferous there was great diversification within those body plans, and Carboniferous plants formed the foundation for the first complex land-based ecosystems. Ever since the episodes, there has , and the that have prominently shaped Earth’s eon of complex life probably always began with ice sheets at the South Pole, and the current ice age arguably is the only partial exception, but today’s cold period really began about 35 mya, .
Peter Ward led an effort to catalog the fossil record before and after Romer’s Gap, which found a dramatic that did not resume until about 340-330 mya. Romer’s Gap seems to have coincided with low-oxygen levels of the late Devonian and early Carboniferous. If coincided with a halt in colonization, just as the adaptation to breathing air was beginning, the obvious implication is that low oxygen levels hampered early land animals. Not just the lung had to evolve for the up-and-coming amphibians, but the entire chest cavity had to evolve to expand and contract while also allowing for a new mode of locomotion. When amphibians and splay-footed reptiles run, they cannot breathe, as their mechanics of locomotion prevent running and breathing at the same time. Even walking and breathing is generally difficult. This means that they cannot perform any endurance locomotion but have to move in short spurts. This is why today’s predatory amphibians and reptiles are ambush predators. They can only move in short bursts, and then have to stop, breathe, and recover their oxygen deficit. In short, they have no stamina. This limitation is called . The below image shows the evolutionary adaptations that led to overcoming Carrier's Constraint. Dinosaurs overcame it first, and it probably was related to their dominance and the extinction or marginalization of their competitors. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
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Marine event. domination temporarily halted.
The closer the timeline of life on Earth gets to the appearance of humanity, the less our ancestry is doubted among scientists, and there is virtual certainty that is humanity’s direct ancestor. Their brains were nearly the size of modern humans and they inherited from their ancestors and used them for hundreds of thousands of years. There is plenty of evidence that migrated to Western Eurasia about 800 kya. But there is evidence that somewhere around 500 kya that began to change; there is evidence of in today’s South Africa. in today’s Germany, along with butchered horses, dated to about 400 kya. Scientists today are confident that was also the direct ancestor of , and the split began around 500 kya. The range of was Africa, West Asia, and Europe, but the advancing and retreating ice sheets of Eurasia, Europe in particular, kept driving southward, and during one of the retreats, it seems that the ancestors of Neanderthals stayed. Neanderthals became a cold-adapted species that specialized in hunting big game. As the evidence demonstrates today, life was a brutal proposition in humanity’s early days, and was particularly harsh for Neanderthals. They probably could not throw very well and relied on ambush predation. Scientists have studied Neanderthal bones and , but a , partly in light of recent evidence that Neanderthals may have also developed wooden throwing spears. But whether Neanderthals had to stab their prey in close quarters or eventually learned to throw weapons at them, the studies of early human bones describe a grim existence. Breaking bones were regular events, particularly skull fractures, and that was for trauma survivors.
Rudists subsequently dominated, displacing coral reefs.
During that boring million years, changed from into hunter. They did not their biomes, but they were also respected by local predators and feared by what they hunted with their primitive weapons. At what stage big cats and other megafauna in Africa learned to avoid and its descendants is not clear, but it happened, and is thought by most scientists today to be why Africa retained its megafauna, and to a lesser extent Eurasia, when the other continents quickly lost them soon after humans appeared, which is a subject for the next chapter. But an early indicator of what probably happened, repeatedly in the coming rise and dominance of humanity, is when (or ) first made it to Flores Island about 900 kya (scientists have found tools but no human-like fossils), perhaps by rafting: a pygmy elephant, a giant tortoise, and a giant lizard all quickly went extinct. Today, it appears that once the migrants made it to Flores Island they stayed and forgot how to leave. They eventually became and lived on Flores for nearly the next million years, and went extinct soon after arrived.
Cold-adapted species dominate biomes.
To revisit the Neanderthal split from about 500 kya, stayed in West Asia and Africa. When evidence of came to light, some scientists placed the beginning of the at about 500 kya. Stone tools have recently been dated using , which works for stone tools heated by fires, and using . That method measures water absorption into the surface of obsidian tools. For dating artifacts before the appearance of behaviorally modern humans about 70-50 kya, will not work, but successful. Neanderthals dominated Europe and today’s Middle East while home was Africa, and they also ranged to Europe and West Asia. Whether existed for only a half-million years or a million is controversial today, but what is not very controversial is that it is probably the direct ancestor of both Neanderthals and , and the first members of our species appeared in Africa about 200 kya. There is evidence that other descendants of may have existed, and . It also could have been a Neanderthal descendant. As with the discovery of the “” of Flores Island, it will not be surprising if scientists find more species that branched off of those early human and protohuman lines and died out when behaviorally modern humans spread across Africa and Eurasia.
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