SCIENCE FICTION - 1


WHY DINOSAURS BECAME EXTINCT?

-Dr. Anil Aggrawal

I know you won't believe me, but I first wrote this scientific report about 16 years back and sent it to the editor of a prominent science magazine for publication. I thought I had invented a new discipline of science, bioastronomy, an inter-relationship between biology and astronomy. Bioastronomy could be used to make predictions related to one science based on the data gathered from the other. For instance, I devised ways to predict and extrapolate the time of origin of life on earth (and on any other planet for that matter), by counting the number of stars in a sphere of 100 light years around that planet, and putting that number in a complicated formula. Similarly, by looking at the cellular structure of the animals on any planet, I could make useful predictions about the space around that planet. I know you would think I am beating about the bush, and I wouldn't blame you. If I didn't invent the science myself, and you told me the same thing, I would go to the extent of thinking you were crazy. That's what the editor of the Science magazine thought 16 years back. Actually what I had sent him was a report of an actual science experiment on bioastronomy that I had conducted. But he thought it was a Science Fiction story and refused to publish it, stating that the events mentioned in my report were too unlikely and unnatural even to be included in an SF story. That made me aghast with disbelief, but I couldn't help it. After all, we all writers are at the mercy of editors. If they don't like something, the writer's piece can't see the light of the day, whatever its merit.

Then why am I writing it again now, you might ask. Well, much light has flown through the galaxies meanwhile and certainly in the present circumstances my report would appear more trustworthy to you. The world has been gripped with the dinosaur mania during this period, and that is the single most important factor which makes my report look more realistic today. My report as you would shortly see deals with resurrecting the dinosaurs and certainly the events in the story would appear less unnatural to you now. They certainly appeared realistic to my present editor and that's why you are able to read this story.

Well, to begin with I must tell you that I am interested in finding the reasons for the extinction of dinosaurs. Years ago, I developed an interesting theory about the extinction of dinosaurs, but needed a live dinosaur to prove it. We all know that if we can somehow get a single intact nucleus of the ancient dinosaurs, we could clone a whole dinosaur from the DNA contained in that nucleus. Michael Crichton in his now famous SF novel, surmises that such an intact dinosaur nucleus could be found in the gastrointestinal tract of mosquitoes who fed on the blood of dinosaurs and then got entrapped in sticky amber flowing down the trees. But in actual life such a finding is extremely unlikely. I found intact dinosaur cells in another way - in Himalayan peat bogs. Peat bogs were marshy, muddy places where some dinosaurs might have strayed and got accidentally buried there. The peat bogs were very much like quicksand. They have a remarkable quality to preserve tissue specimens. Later on, with the coming of ice age the whole peat bogs, along with buried dinosaurs within them got covered with snow, which further helped preservation.

I cloned the dinosaur nucleus in the fertilized ova of the American alligator (Alligator mississipiensis). Of course I first destroyed its own nucleus and then transplanted the dinosaur nucleus in the fertilized ova. The American alligator is the closest living relative of the dinosaurs, and it was the best medium to transplant the dinosaur nucleus in. Sure enough when I cloned the dinosaur (Tyrannosaurus rex), and studied its cellular enzymes in great detail, I found a gross abnormality in the respiratory enzyme Cytochrome oxidase. This is an essential respiratory enzyme which is vital to the functioning of the cells. There are about 100 atoms in the molecule. Most of the atoms are of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but there are two peculiar atoms- iron and copper. Empirically, the altered molecule had the same number of atoms as the natural molecule, but structurally the relative positions of all the atoms including those of iron and copper atoms had been changed drastically. This caused the enzyme to become at least 6 times less effective. Sure enough, the dinosaurs died as a result of this fatal mutation.

But what caused the mutation? Well, I had just invented the science of bioastronomy. This helped me come up with a remarkable explanation. The earth had been visited about 65 million years ago by some super-intelligent extraterrestrials. They were masters of genetic engineering. They didn't come to earth on purpose. There was hardly any intelligent life on earth then. They stepped on it only in passing. However during the rest period the spent here, they played a little game, in which they sought to represent the position of their star in relation to the earth's star (The Sun). They did this by genetically altering the 3-dimensional structure of the most important respiratory enzyme of the most conspicuous creatures on earth-the dinosaurs. They did it in such a way, that various atoms in the cytochrome oxidase molecule came to represent the relative positions of all the stars in the vicinity of the Sun. In other words, if all the atoms of the changed cytochrome molecule were enlarged on a galactic scale, each atom of the changed molecule would faithfully represent a star in the vicinity of the sun. There are only two particularly peculiar atoms - iron and copper- in the cytochrome oxidase molecule. Now if the iron atom was taken as the position of the sun, the other unusual atom- copper- would represent their star. Such drastic genetic engineering served their purpose alright but it decreased the efficiency of the enzyme vastly, which over the years caused the dinosaurs to get asphyxiated.

I brought out a 3-dimensional star chart and extrapolated the position of copper atom. It represented the star Tau ceti. This clearly meant that the race had come from Tau ceti.

You might think I am crazy, but how on earth (excuse the pun) could you otherwise explain the uncanny similarity of the 3-dimensional structure of a macroscopic and a microscopic thing. This was unmistakably the handiwork of a super-intelligent race. Those beings evidently changed the genetic makeup of all dinosaurs in the same way. Doing this is not difficult if you can "programme" gamma rays to do just that and then irradiate the planet with them. Dinosaurs were so important in Jurassic ecology that with their extinction, several other species dependent on them for their survival perished too. This explains the disappearance of many other species simultaneously.

I am happy to tell you that some exobiologists in the USA believe my theory and only yesterday I learnt with satisfaction that a very strong electromagnetic wave carrying a friendly message has been sent to Tau ceti.

***

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED BY THE AUTHOR AND MAY NOT BE REPOSTED, REPRINTED OR OTHERWISE USED IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR

Sign My Guestbook Guestbook by GuestWorld View My Guestbook



E-Mail Me !