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walk through time

Walk Through Time...from Stardust to Us
Six Winning Essays from the WTT at Singapore

Essay 3


The barren landscape stretched out far, far beyond sight. The sun shone redly, hotly, down upon the naked lands, and small rivulets of water wound around little clusters and clumps of trees struggling to survive. Every now and then, the ground would shake and tremble at the passing of a great beast, but always, the ground would resettle, only to be awakened again by some enormous reptile.

The great Tyrannosaurus Rex reared its majestic head and swept his eyes across the desolate area. He watched with pleasure as other smaller, less ferocious dinosaurs cringed and hurried away from his baleful stare. A low rumble of contentness sounded in the king-of-dinosaurs’ throat and he lowered his head again to his kill. Ah yes, his kill. The mighty Brachiosaurus. The slow and ponderous Brachiosaurus. Hungry and weakened by the lack of food, he was almost too easy to kill. The fight had long since left the enormous Brachiosaurus and he no longer even looked for food. Tyrannosaurus Rex flared his nostrils. Weakling, he thought. He would never worry about a lack of food, for after all, he did not live on plants and leaves. He craved meat.

65 million years. Time had certainly let dinosaurs do their job and well they did it. The herbivores had slowly but inexorably continued their advance into the hearts of the forest and jungles, leaving only soil and desert in their wake. Evolution was non-existent, stomped out easily by the deadly carnivores who wanted to stay on the top of the food chain. Yet, there were other non-physical evolutionary processes at work, for it is impossible for change not to take place, and it took place in some dinosaurs.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex stomped away from the remains of his meal, thoroughly satisfied. He was going back to his nest, going back to his beloved eggs. It was too easy, in this game of life-and-death, to forget and neglect your young. No, no. He would not let that happen. He would nurture his young before they were out of their shells, train them to be the best.

A furtive face peeked out from the tall grasses that were so rare to find now a days. The little mammal’s sensitvie feet could already feel the massive strides of the father Tyrannosaurus Rex coming back. It would have to be quick. Turning back, it beckoned into the bushes and the mammal with its hunt-mates crept steadily, stealthily towards the clutch of Tyrannosaurus Rex eggs.

It was such a difficult world, the little mammal thought. Hiding almost every time of the day, scattering before the great onslaught of gigantic feet, stealing eggs only when the parents were away .... But the rewards were great, nice big juicy eggs. The tiny beast’s thoughts were interrupted rudely by the telltale signs of the ground vibrating greatly. The beast!

The Tyrannosaurs Rex bowled into his nest like a hurricane into a house, the force of his approach totally lifting the tiny figures off the ground and depositing them again some place further off. Sensing the minute figures as a potential danger towards his precious eggs, he raised one mammoth foot and stamped again, and again and again on the small pathetic creatures on the ground, splattering and squashing his own eggs in his hurry to obey his primitive instinct to protect and shield his young from all harm. A roar came unbidden to his throat, rebounding throughout the hot summer air. When at last the echoes faded away did he stop, wearily putting his foot down. He looked down at his ruined eggs, and the instantaneous answer of fathering new eggs arose in his mind. However, he still felt a slight twinge of sadness, for he did treasure his eggs so. This would never do! He was the lord of dinosaurs, his teeth were the most feared of all, yet he could still feel these small twinges of compassion?

The small mammal cautiously poked its head ot of the long grass, which were waving with the passing of Tyrannosaurus Rex. It had just escaped in time, but its crushed comrades on the ground were not so lucky. It sighed disconsolately. Somehow in these days, it seemed to be able to expect when danger would come, it was almost as if it could calculate how long the Tyrannosaurus Rex took to come to the nest. However, the mammals was always unable to convey this feeling to other mammals, but the mammal was determined to make them understand.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex walked away, thoroughly disturbed. These thoughts were coming to him more and more frequently now. It would only take him the littlest exertion and it would seem as if he could actually think, to solve problems. But it was still hard to overcome his primitive being, as demonstrated by the earlier incident. Tyrannosaurus Rex resolved to break this barrier.

The fruits of evolution were ripe now, and ready to drop. With the continued existence of dinosaurs, many other mammals had been unable to evolve, or ‘advance’. This standstill had resulted in faster movements in other areas and thus, nature had done its work well.

It was midday and the sun was well up in the sky, casting short shadows on everything in the open. Tyrannosaurus Rex lifted its head and sniffed the air. He was hungry. He needed food, fast. He came upon a herd of Triceratops grazing on a little patch of grass, their young in the middle, surrounded by the adults. This time, however, there was a stray baby eating a bit away from the main herd. Tyrannosaurus Rex saw this and made the baby his target. He charged in, a roar emitting from his throat for the third time in the day. He would have to remedy that. Tyrannosaurus Rex brushed these distracting thoughts from his mind and concentrated on getting himself and the baby away from the herd without getting hurt.

All of a sudden, it was over. Tyrannosaurs Rex raced away, victorious, with the baby Triceratops hanging limp and lifeless in his mouth, leaving the malnourished Triceratops behind. A sudden troubling thought occurred to him. Again, it was as if he had known in advance that the Triceratops were too hungry and tired to chase him far and gore him with their long horns. Tyrannosaurus Rex shook these thoughts away angrily with a snort and a waggle of his head. He lowered his head and started to enjoy his meal.

The little mammal crouched down, hiding from the large beasts. When they were gone, it sprinted out, hugged an egg almost as large as it was, and darted to a safe place where it could enjoy its meal. It berated itself for not having thought of the plan - waiting and actually seeing the parents leave before getting the eggs, instead of just creeping in - earlier, but lately, these inspirational flashes came more easily

Night-time. Darkness. The sun slowly set over the deep blue sea, and all animals, whether dinosaurs or mammals, were at peace. Tyrannosaurus Rex and the little mammal lay down to rest. never would they know, that though they were in the middle of many animals, they were still as alone as when they were on a deserted island by themselves. For they were different.

Nature, with the essential need for change from the monotonous, unthinking lifestyle of the dinosaurs, had imbued within that dinosaur and that mammal something. Something special. Something ... something that would evolve into a more refined form in the future. Something that we humans call intelligence, something that we call the ability to think, something that we call humanity.

For if we were not here today, why should not other animals take on the role of being ‘the most intelligent’, being ‘human’?

Imagine a dinosaur, with all our intelligence but still with its instinct and ability to killl and hunt, armed with guns and nuclear bombs.

Imagine, and be afraid.

Imagine, and be glad.

Because you are here.

And they are not.

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