We stopped by a lunch-time seminar the other day at the Center for Communications Programs for Hopkins' School of Hygiene and Public Health and were offered a chocolate dinosaur cookie, a new version of ever-popular animal crackers. The sweetness of the cookie didn't take away the gloom of the topic at hand -- the relentless pressure on the Earth's resources caused by burgeoning numbers of human beings. (We learned, for instance, that at current levels of food production, 64 of 117 developing countries will be unable to feed themselves by the end of the decade.)
But the treat did illustrate an important point. Too often we think of dinosaurs as those gigantic, clumsy-looking creatures who were so unadaptable they simply died out. Sometimes we even use the term in derision to describe something old-fashioned, outdated or no longer useful. But we humans are poor judges of dinosaurs. After all, they survived on Earth for 250 million years. We've been here only about 2 million -- and, at the rate things are going, our prospects for another million aren't too bright.