Life Is What We Think

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Pablo Edronkin

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We think that life is, but it really is only what we think it is, even according to palaeontological interpretations.

Take for example the case of ammonoids and nautiloids: The first are considered to be gone for good during the K-T event, while the second continue to swarms the seas. They are not as abundant as their alleged cousins were in ancient seas, but they are still out there. But this view of the world of these creatures depends largely on what we think of them in terms of what they are according to - among other things - how we catalogue species.

Nautiloids are not ammonoids but quite like them, right? There are a few differences between their buoyancy organs and that sets them apart. But really how reliable are our ways to classify such things and establish the qualitative value of each species' characteristics? If you think about it, the differences between - say - a Nipponites and most ammonoid species of similar location in time are really bigger than what we can find between any chambered nautiloid happily swimming today and his very distant cousins from the Jurassic. The real difference between nautiloids and ammonoids is that we see them as different. We interpret their existence in a way that separates them.

Another example of interpretative differences is represented by Kozlowski and Dilly's views on Cephalodiscus graptolitoides: they are different from the commonly accepted theories about graptolites indeed, but their truthfulness depends largely and ultimately on whether they get one day accepted or not, and not on any objective truth. If we accept the preponderant views on graptolite evolution, theses little creatures have been gone for hundreds of millions of years, but if we just change our mind about them, they suddenly pop into our existence as another case of 'living fossils' that have been surviving for ages. So life and death, extant and extinct depends on what we think about being dead or alive, no matter if it kicks and runs right before our eyes, or not.


What this fossil really is depends on us.
What this fossil really is depends on us.



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