| 03.18.2018

Crash course in human extinction


“Quiet down class, that”s enough, okay, settle “¦ Hey! That behavior is not appropriate – That is enough!” A loud roar rang out, silencing the juveniles. “I once taught hatchlings, and they were centuries more polite than this class is!”

Their teacher huffed, flaring his large, scaly nostrils. Some students shuffled their feet with guilty eyes aimed at the floor while others clamped their mouths shut.

A small, early cretaceous lizard spoke out, her voice gentle and quiet, “Sorry Mr. Zephyro.”

Mr. Zephyrosaurus cleared his throat, taken aback by the sudden shift in his students.

“It”s quite alright,” he grumbled. “Just keep in mind that this is an AP Human class. You”re supposed to be my most advanced students and next time I expect better. Now, let”s start over …”

Mr. Zephyrosaurus looked down at his notes, made a strange guttural noise and then proceeded, “Since it”s the first day of class, you”ll be taking an ungraded quiz to gauge your knowledge of humans.”

David Black | Rawr

A long-faced Baryonyx snorted, “That will be easy!”

Mr. Zephyrosaurus did not look convinced. “You seem confident about your Human knowledge Mr. Bary,” their teacher said. “Why don”t you go ahead and tell the class about their extinction?”

Before the Baryonyx had a chance to answer, Dacentrurus, the large stegosaurus with spikes along his back, exclaimed, “Now that”s a simple question.”

The Baryonyx puffed up and cried, “That”s my question, you egg-head!”

The Dacentrurus waved his sandy tail back and forth and snorted, “I bet you don”t even know the answer!”

The class watched the two with slight apprehension.

“They were wiped out a thousand years ago when the debris of an old shattered planet crashed into Earth,” the Baryonyx said, proud at first, and then confused by the giggles of his classmates.

“What? What”s so funny?” He whipped his head around, looking from one dinosaur to the next.

“That”s a book, pure fiction,” a little Elmisaurus said with a smug look in her beady black eyes.

Mr. Zephyrosaurus sat back, amused, and let his class debate.

“If you”re so smart then who was the book by?” the Baryonyx, who was twice her size, shot back.

The Elmisaurus stuck her tongue out at him then turned to her friend, deeply embarrassed by her lack of an answer.

“Scholars believe that the humans destroyed themselves,” an Acanthopholis in the back sighed. “That after being on this planet for thousands of years, they eventually drove their own species into extinction through war and economic conflict.”

Their teacher exclaimed, “Yes! Thank you Miss Acanthopholis, very well said – but who can answer this: What specific event caused the Humans” downfall? Which other species died out because of Humans and which remained?”

The Dacentrurus answered right away. “The final World War in 2070, it was the only war in history that was fought between every single Human herd.”

Mr. Zephyrosaurus nodded.

“Almost all species remained except for a few hybrids and domestic creatures,” he continued, his teacher nodding with approval.

“Very good class, I”m impressed,” Mr. Zephyro said. “Are there any questions before we start the quiz? Ah, yes Mr. Callovo?”

The young Callovosaurus in the front opened his broad, green snout.

“For generations there have been “sightings” and “evidence” that Humans may still exist … do you believe that?”

Their teacher shook his head.

“I do not,” Mr. Zephyro began. “Our species is very similar to that of the Humans, mentally, I mean. Clearly we are far more superior, but like them, we tend to exaggerate. Most of the time the “evidence” that others claim to find are ancient relics that the Humans left behind long ago.”

The Callovosaurus shrugged, disappointed by the answer he”d been given.

“Uh, Mr. Zephyro? Is it true that we were once on the brink of extinction?” a quiet voice asked.

“Yes, Miss Acanthopholis, I fear that you are correct,” Mr. Zephyrosaurus said. His voice was grave and distant and his eyes were glossed over with wisdom.

“Thousands of years before evolution took its course and Humans came to be, Dinosaurs were the dominant species on Earth,” Mr. Zephyro began. “Our planet was still relatively new and constantly changing. During that time of change our numbers dwindled, and then the … the comet struck. It”s a dark time in history for us, and the next few thousand years or so would remain dark times. Scientists know very little about our own history during said time, for that is when the Humans reigned over this world. But don”t be worried class, for we, the Dinosaurs, are survivors and the planet is ours once again – and it will remain that way forever.”

Corrin Bond can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @corrbond

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