What Survives?

In his book “Rise & Fall of Dinosaurs, Steve Brusatta tried to visualize the day that led to the extinction of the “Dinosaurs”.

“WHAT HAPPENED ON that day—was a catastrophe of unimaginable scale that, thankfully, humankind has never experienced.

A comet or an asteroid—collided with the Earth, hitting what is now the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico.

It was about six miles (ten kilometers) wide, or about the size of Mount Everest moving at a speed of around 67,000 miles per hour (108,000 kilometers per hour), more than a hundred times faster than a jet airliner.

When it slammed into our planet, it hit with the force of over 100 trillion tons of TNT, somewhere in the vicinity of a billion nuclear bombs’ worth of energy.

It plowed some twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) through the crust and into the mantle, leaving a crater that was over 100 miles (160 kilometers) wide.”

What survived?

‘Plants were less affected than animals because their seeds and pollen can survive harsh periods for longer.

After the dinosaurs’ extinction, flowering plants dominated Earth, continuing a process that had started in the Cretaceous, and continue to do so today.

But all land animals weighing over 25 kilogrammes died out.

‘What we’re left with are basically the seeds of what we have today. Many of the major animal groups that are alive today were in place before the asteroid impact and they all suffered some level of extinction – but the lines that led to modern animals got through’.

Why didn’t the Dinosaurs survive?

The most significant thing about dinosaurs was their very large size and very few species, unlike mammals, with several different species with different size and structures.

Dinosaurs laid eggs. Now eggs have a constraint on size given larger eggs require a thicker shells and embryo needs to be supplied oxygen through the shell thereby constraining how thick it can be.

This led to young ones being smaller than their parent. Parent being 2500 times heavier than the baby.

This means that they were competing not only with their own types but also with larger mammals and also they were larger than any other species in every growth stage.

As all the large species went extinct, dinosaurs with no medium or small variety were destroyed completely.

Now diversity could have helped them survive, the way it worked with mammals who were smaller size at the time of dinosaurs extinction and developed into larger species as evolution happened.

Diversity has an advantage

Genetic diversity helps a specie adapt, evolve and survive.

For example-Populations of wild cheetahs have very low genetic variation. Because wild cheetahs are threatened, their species has a very low genetic diversity. This low genetic diversity means they are often susceptible to disease and often pass on lethal recessive mutations; only about 5% of cheetahs survive to adulthood.

Survival needs adaptability & Evolution

If you need to survive, life or even investing, that is my key area of interest, you need to learn adaptability and evolution.

Investors jump headlong into markets when things are rosy and then panic exit when things turn awry.’

These same investors who have lost money in markets either get so scared that they abandon the idea of investing till the next tidal wave of market high appears or start thinking of markets like a casino, going away never to return.

The challenge in both entering, panic exiting and then coming back still doesn’t show adaptability and evolution.

How do species adapt?

The long necks of giraffes for feeding in the tops of trees, the streamlined bodies of aquatic fish and mammals, the light bones of flying birds and mammals, and the long daggerlike canine teeth of carnivores.

The adaption doesn’t happen by being part of the herd but by developing abilities to channelise the learnings of each experience into how you will face the future and how will you make a decision to deal with a situation next time.

Evolution can’t happen if reasons for failure are outside and attributes for success are your own.

Evolution happens by being humble, reflecting on your experiences and learning from them and not by running away.

Hopefully next time the readers shall keep this in mind before taking a decision on how to approach the markets.

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