Hey, Vsauce. Michael here.
What are monsters?
Scary, unnatural things?
Yes, but they’re more than that and we knew
that back when we named them. The word monster comes from the same root word as demonstrate and demonstrative, monere, meaning to teach, to instruct, to warn. Monsters, like dinosaurs,
and the stories we tell about them, have a lot to tell us about ourselves, about the past and about the future. This Vsauce1 video is not an ordinary video, it is a dinosaur-dnary video, built not just out of me talking, but also world-famous palaeontologist
and technical adviser to every Jurassic Park film, Jack Horner, and the hilarious Chris Pratt.
First things first, scientists have so far broken Earth’s
history down into 22 periods.
The Jurassic period has come and gone, but the one we live in today is called
the Quaternary. Jurassic World is the movie that you’re in.
The thing that we’re filming right now Quaternary World.
We are organisms from the Quaternary. Quaternary Park would be, well,
basically like Universal Studios or something. Exactly. Actually, literally any place on Earth right now. Dinosaurs, fossils.
Dinosaur, fossil. Fossil, fossil fuel.
Is it safe to say that our cars run on the ghosts of dinosaurs? That question sounds mind-blowing, but is it true?
Are we really fuelling our cars with dinosaur remains?
Well, I asked paleontologist Jack Horner and his answer is worth beginning from
the bottom or rather from things that come out of bottoms. You’ll see what I mean.
Okay, so this. Let me guess what this. Okay.
Yeah, it looks like coal almost. Well, they are, it’s actually a coprolite.
What’s a coprolite? Fossilised dung.
Dung? Oh, so this is plant material that was eaten Eaten. Turned into poop. Yes.
And then preserved so that I could hold it today.
Yes, exactly. That’s a dinosaur poop.
This is dinosaur poop. Yes. It smells like a rock.
Sometimes when we break open somebody’s things that are… that have a… have a very high concentration plant
material you actually can smell it. Really? Uhm.
What does it smell like? Mmmh, rotting wood.
After this long it still has an odour of rotting?
It can, yes. So, we can probably learn a lot.
We can learn more about the dinosaur from that right there
than we can from the bone from its body. That is amazing.
Because we can determine, we can determine exactly what it was eating and and and we can look at how it’s chopped up, so you can tell a lot about exactly how they process the food.
So, from the scientific perspective of learning
about dinosaurs, poop is not crappy at all. Yes. Thanks for laughing at that.
Now, at any point would that turn into oil?
No, oil does not come from dinosaur poop.
Does it come from dinosaurs at all? It doesn’t come from dinosaurs at all.
They come from microorganisms and oceans.
If you took all of the dinosaurs that ever lived and… and, you know, squished them up in order to get the oil out of them, we’d probably go through that oil in,
you know, couple of days. No kidding(!)
I mean the microorganisms from the ocean, from the oceans over these millions of years produced… I mean, the biomass is just incredible. Compared to the dinosaurs.
So there could be a tiny molecule of oil in every thousand gallons or more that’s from a dinosaur.
No, you really not even gonna… That’s not even going to happen as well.
Basically, all of the oil reserves we have are in in sedimentary rocks, produced in oceans. So we don’t put dinosaur ghosts into our cars, but don’t feel lonely.
There are actual living dinosaurs with us today. There are dinosaurs still around today.
Dinosaurs never went extinct. What? Elaborate, alright, fine I will.
So, dinosaurs… Yeah, that’s what I meant.
Dinosaurs are not a species, that was called a clade. They’re from the clade dinosauria.
And the clade is just some organism and all of its descendants.
Okay. Okay? Dinosaurs came in all different types, right? All of these things were called dinosauria and then a huge extinction event
happened, 65 million years ago. Yup.
Giant rock hit Earth and like almost all of them, all the ones, died except for a few. And you know what this one was,
this little branch? That’s what clade means, by the way – branch. Aardvark. Aardvark. No?
Uhh, I do. I know what it was.
What? Halibut. Just for the halibut I will say correct. That’s a dumb joke,
that’s a joke that’s been made a bunch. I’ve never heard it before. Really?
You just said “halibut” like “hell of it.” Yeah. Yeah. Classic.
Now figure this trout. Wow. Dude. The answer is birds. Technically birds aren’t just descended
from dinosaurs, they literally are dinosaur. Exactly. You know,
to determine how things are related to one another we look at the characteristics
that they share and when you think about birds and the
characteristics that we think of as being bird characteristics,
they are feathers, hollow bones, the wishbone, you know, you can go on and on,
but those are just a few of them and it turns out dinosaurs have
them as well, so dinosaurs had these characteristics before birds. The hypothesis is that birds are the dinosaurs.
The meteor impact that killed off the dinosaurs didn’t kill off all of them.
It killed off then what we call the non-avian dinosaurs and the avian dinosaurs we still have with us.
In Jurassic World, the park’s decision-makers create dinosaurs that have appearances that bring in tourists, not appearances that are
historically accurate. For example, they didn’t put feathers on
any of their dinosaurs, although it is believed that many dinosaurs had feathers. It’s believed that the
velociraptor probably actually looked more like this. And as far as the reality of creating a
park like Jurassic World, Horner had this to say. Everything about it is fictional, we can’t bring dinosaurs back by cloning them. If we make dinosaurs, which, I hope we are able to do one of these
days, it will be retro engineering from a bird, in other words going backwards from a bird.
They’re still going to be fictional creatures because they’re not going to be historical dinosaurs.
They’ll be things we made.
They’ll be things we make, yeah, that’s right. Why are we so thrilled by the idea of bringing back un-extincting non-avian dinosaurs? You know what?
That actually brings up an even bigger question. Why are dinosaurs so fascinating to kids?
Dinosaurs are terrifying and we love to be scared, but Dracula and ghosts and all this stuff,
it’s a little, it’s a little not real. But dinosaurs? We’ve got their fossils.
Right. You know? We’ve got the fact that, no, these really
were on Earth, they really were walking around right here. Why is it so awesome when they flip out
and start killing people? Watching something flip out and kill
people is thrilling. It’s morbid curiosity, but the more intense the flip out, the more exciting it is to see the flip undone, to see humans prevail in the end.
No matter how beastly and huge dinosaurs were,
the fact remains that they went extinct.
They are a reminder that sooner or later the universe will beat everything.
A meteor impact, like the one that killed off all the non-avian dinosaurs
will happen again in about the next 100 million years or
so, but we might stand a fighting chance. We have technology and we have the ability to predict, and possibly even avoid,
a similar fate involing us. Outer space may seem distant and sometimes irrelevant to pressing earthly concerns, but let’s not forget what Larry Niven said,
“The dinosaurs went extinct because they didn’t have
a space program.” And as always, thanks for watching.