NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Wednesday December 11th 2019

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The Great Extinction

by Peter Molenaar

July 17, 2010, a storm is brewing…

In the past 540 million years there have been five major events during which over 50% of animal species died. The most recent occurred 65 million years ago with the extinction of nearly all dinosaurs. What an incredible bonanza this was for the tiny ancestral shrew-like mamaliform whose gene pool was to explode and then radiate in every direction.

As for the birds, they descend from that line of dinosaurs which included T. Rex. Surprisingly, the more archaic of present day birds have existed unchanged in form for merely one million years. The cormorants residing at Powderhorn Lake appear more ancient than that.

From their island perch, our cormorants display horizontally spread wings bent vertically at the joint to declare: here I am. Their oil-drenched cousin, that iconic pelican, posed similarly before the camera.

Moreover, elements of the old hadrosaur culture have been revived by our Powderhorn geese. Some stand watch via graceful movements of head and neck, while others feed upon fresh grass or submit to tranquility. Why would a howling 20-something all-night raver ride his dirt bike directly through their midst?

And so…

Shrew ascended the trees and assumed a myriad of forms. Later, the trees parted and shrew came down to walk upright. This new form would become the creature referred to as Astralopithecus.

As it happened, one of these ancestors became frustrated while attempting to crack an elephant bone with a stone. Curiously, when smashed, this particular stone produced several splinters . When examined, these splinters cut the finger and drew blood.

Note: the value of a commodity is determined by the socially necessary labor time embodied in it.

As for homo sapien sapiens, the big U.S.A. banks paid out $145 billion in total 2009 executive compensation and spent millions lobbying against meaningful financial reform. A former Secretary of Labor put it this way: “Congress has labored mightily to produce a mountain of legislation that can be called financial reform, but it has produced a molehill relative to the wreckage Wall Street wreaked upon the nation”.

Which is to say, relative to the geologic and evolutionary time-scale, the world capitalist order should be extinct in about a minute.

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