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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Big Bird

Inside a Crimean cave on the north coast of the Black Sea a gigantic ancient mystery was recently discovered: the fossil of a bird so large that it weighed nearly as much as an adult polar bear. Paleontologists judge the bird, named Pachystruthio dmanisensis, to have stood twelve feet tall. Our early European cousins some two million years ago either jumped for joy (food for many mouths) or hot-footed away in fear when coming across these behemoths.

One can hardly imagine life in the Pleistocene era compared to what we moderns experience. To be sure, hardships and challenges face people in our world today. But viewing them in perspective might diminish, at least a bit, their effect on our lives.

Imagine: No grocery stores. To eat you’ve got to gather vegies (knowing which ones won’t kill you) or kill some beast with nothing more than sticks and stones. All this while looking over your shoulder for mastodons and saber-toothed tigers.

Imagine: To get anywhere – anywhere – you had to walk. In the Pleistocene era the wheel was around a 1.6 million years away. There were also no Famous Footwear outlets around the corner.

Imagine: No doctors or medical clinics or hospitals. You either treated yourself or you let the local shaman work his/her “magic” or you died.

Imagine: No orchestras. No World Cup soccer matches. No movie theatres. No high school musicals. And, of all the possible deprivations, no cell phones . . . people just shouted at each other.

So when problems start to feel somewhat overwhelming, try picture yourself running after or away from a Pachystruthio dmanisensis. It might make a broken dishwasher seem like a bit smaller problem.

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