Sometime last month, I have compiled a comprehensive list of all the prehistoric creatures featured in the bulk of the Jurassic Park franchise--in the five established films, in the upcoming Dominion film, the Evolution video game, the Camp Cretaceous TV show and, most importantly, the original novels:
Acrocanthosaurus, Allosaurus, Albertosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Giraffititan (the specimen used for the Brachiosaurus model), Carnotaurus, Ceratosaurus, Compsognathus, Procompsognathus (the specimen used for the "compy" model), Dilophosaurus, Diplodocus, Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus, Pteranodon, Quetzalcoatlus, Sinoceratops, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Deinonychus (the specimen used for the Velociraptor model), Baryonyx, Camarasaurus, Dryosaurus, Euoplocephale, Gallimimus, Giganotosaurus, Herrerasaurus, Homalocepahle, Maiasaura, Majungasaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Metriacanthosaurus, Nasutoceratops, Nigersaurus, Pachycephalosaurs, Stygimoloch, Styracosaurus, Suchomimus, Tsintaosaurus, Corythosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Chasmosaurus, Nodosaurus, Olorotitan, Ouranosaurus, Struthiomimus, Chungkingosaurus, Dreadnoughtus, Edmontosaurus, Huyangosaurus, Kentrosaurus, Pentaceratops, Proceratosaurus, Torosaurus, Crichtonsaurus, Dracorex, Gigantspinosaurus, Muttaburrasaurus, Archaeornithomimus, Polacanthus, Sauropelta, Lystrosaurus, Monolophosaurus, Nanosaurus, Ornitholestes, Hadrosaurus, Mussaurus, Oviraptor, Nasutoceratops, Moros, Cearadactylus, Mosasaurus
Now, in a future history scenario, these listed creatures, as well as every plant, other animal, fungus, microbe and even soil of every paleo-ecoregion that they inhabited, were selected to seed Earth. The chosen date was 247 million years ago, right on the heels of the Smithian-Spathian boundary extinction event, which saw a climate spike so high that the tropics were virtually lifeless. What was more, life on Earth was itself on the heels of the Great Dying, the worst of the mass extinctions, in which 70% of all terrestrial species and 96% of all marine species went extinct as a result of one wave of lava eruptions from Siberia, followed by the the global supply of frozen methane being released at once and ending with another wave of lava eruptions, again from Siberia. In the original timeline, life did not fully recover from the Great Dying for 30 million years.
Even so, why set the seeds 247 million years ago? Why Pangaea? Why not an earlier, more barren supercontinent, like Pannotia?
- 247 millon years ago, the recovery of life from the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event was set back by the Smithian-Spathian Boundary Extinction.
- As a result, there was still plenty of space left to recolonize the planet with all these oodles of anachronisms, thus speeding up the recovery process far more quickly than in the original timeline.
- The problem with Pannotia is that planting the seeds there would subject them to a world with too much carbon dioxide (4500 parts per million), not enough oxygen (up to only eight percent of the atmosphere) and no ozone layer at all.
But where are we going to find room for such an extensive list? Turns out that Pangaea was more diverse than just desert, as presented in this drawing by Gary Meaney.
The black lines represent major mountain ranges. The deserts that stereotyped the Triassic are marked in the sandy colors. Light green, something of a milder, more savanna climate. Dark green, a climate range more akin to today's jungles. Dark blue, continental temperate (think the American Northeast.) Light blue, oceanic temperate (a bit like Western Europe.) Orange, Mediterranean. Pink, humid seasonal subtropical (think American Southeast or southern China.) Finally, there is the taiga, marked in purple. (However, considering the Triassic's warmer climate, the taiga might not have such an extreme swing of seasons.)
Without doubt, such a massive seedlist would result in an excessive glut of competition for food and space in both the day and the night shifts. However, the question instead is this: Once the pioneers have settled in to their new timeline, how quickly and extensively until the plants and soils in the seedlist started altering the climate, thus resulting in a potential mass extinction?