Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cavemen vs. Dinosaurs

It didn't happen. There is something in the popular imagination that feels it did, though. Or perhaps we just want it to have happened. It would have been cool if cavemen fought dinosaurs. But trust us: it didn't happen.

A couple of times a term, in a loose or somewhat offhand moment, someone will write an essay about, say, nutrition, and in this essay there will be a sentence that runs something like: "People have been eating meat since the cavemen hunted dinosaurs, so you might think that..." Or someone else will be writing an essay about, say, hunting, and they will write, "Mankind has hunted animals from our earliest days: from cavemen throwing spears at dinosaurs to hunter-gatherers stalking the wildest berries, we have always..."

It's probably a combination of "The Flintstones," some cartoons in The New Yorker, and maybe some kid stuff like Dinotopia and so forth that gets this idea in our head early. It's a good idea, too: it's both fun and funny. But it's made up. And in a paper for a college class, you can't use anecdotes from an invented human/saurian culture as offhand evidence for anything.

It just didn't happen.


Riley said...

"Me and my friends are getting long in the tooth
After three or four decades of seeking the truth
Trying to recover from misspent youth
And gradually giving in to knowledge."
-Jerry Jeff Walker, "Singin' the Dinosaur Blues"

As a full blooded dinosaur who has spent a great deal of his past dodging the poorly constructed but nevertheless dangerous rocks, spears and clubs of your caveman ancestors, I am appalled at the ignorance demonstrated by this blog entry. As a child dinosaur, I was afraid to leave my family's hovel, venturing into the forest only when hunger demanded that I gather salad plants for myself and my peaceful brethren. I would lie awake at night in my mother's talons, wondering, "will tonight be the night the cavemen come for me?" Things have improved, and only recently have we dinosaurs begun to receive the acknowledgement that we deserve. But the academies still teach that we simply "mysteriously disappeared," ignoring the ample evidence that tells the real story: we were systematically hunted and slaughtered by cavemen, not for food, but for sport. The split between humans and dinosaurs is currently tearing both of our cultures apart, and we have to look the truth in the face so that we may begin to heal the wounds that Agamemnon J. Meteor and other such bloodthirsty cavemen hunters caused all those millenia ago.

Vanth said...

How many Geico commercials do you have to see before you stop stereotyping cavepeople? Talk about ignorance--cavepeople have long led incredibly cultured lives.

Take for example the caves themselves. Let me tell you, a pile of furs is infinitely more comfortable than anything a neo-yuppie can buy at Ikea.

And dinosaurs peaceful? Give me a break. Sure, I use dinosaur bones for dishes and stuff, but that's only because dinosaurs are vicious hooligans. Even you so-called "peaceful" types are always trampling one of my people with your big clumsy feet. It's a dog-eat-dog* world out there, and we're just trying to survive like everyone else.

*No dogs were harmed in the writing of this comment. Especially not Rusty. He's great, man.

Riley said...

Vanth-I've seen your cave, and it's nothing to scream about. Yeah, I went there. While you were worrying about the pool guy, I was sneaking in the back door. You know what they say about dinosaur's "big clumsy feet."