— History is full of pivotal moments.
What if Socrates had decided against drinking that hemlock?
What if Washington’s army failed to survive the winter at Valley Forge?
Events of all sorts, big and small, shape the future. What we are today is a product of all that has happened in the past, good and bad, momentous and mundane.
Than again, there are occurrences that absolutely send history in a completely different direction.
That’s a little too close for comfort.
An asteroid this size isn’t enough to destroy the planet, but depending on where it hit, the damage could be substantial.
One result of this impact was that it killed off the dinosaurs — at least the big ones. Many scientists will argue that today’s reptiles and birds are dinosaurs of sorts.
With large life forms wiped out, smaller creatures had more opportunities to survive. And lower temperatures gave an advantage to those that were warm blooded.
“I think it is fair to say, that without the dinosaurs having gone extinct, we would not be here,” said Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center, in an interview last week with The Associated Press. Renne led the latest research that further confirms the theory that dinosaurs were killed off by an impact from a comet or asteroid.
And it was undoubtedly aided by the fact mammals tend to have larger brains than their reptilian counterparts. Creatures that are more intelligent are more able to adapt.
It’s interesting sometimes to look at the galaxy like a massive billiards table, with planets, stars and other objects at times threatening to bounce off each other. The seemingly clockwork nature of the universe is something quite different at times.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Mitchel Olszak is a columnist forthe NewCastle (Pa.) News.