prehistoric animals of the day

A lot of people’s reactions to the idea of animals having a significant amount of power - from crows being intelligent to there being significantly larger versions of modern day animals in the prehistoric past - is terror, and I think that paints a pretty dismal portrait of us as rulers of the planet.  We see other creatures being closer to balancing the playing field as a source of horror. Not fully, mind you - crows can’t build bombs after all, not could megalodons study astrophysics - but closer.  And while I get the basic instinctual reason for that kind of thinking, I still feel it’s pretty repulsive mindset.

Which may be why I delight in the fantasy of there being giant, unkillable animals capable of making our guns and bombs look like tinker toys.

anonymous asked:

Have you seen the book "All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals"? Apparently it includes a bunch of art of modern-day animals, drawn with common pitfalls of bad paleoart (e.g. shrinkwrapping).

I have it! It’s a good read, and has lots of cool pictures; on top of that, it raises a lot of good questions about the way we reconstruct and view ancient life.


Let’s talk lore! Here are my thoughts, though I could possibly have drawn some incorrect conclusions that were answered in the lore Q&A. I didn’t get to watch that so I don’t know.

In the Hall of History, you see three globe holograms, across from which each has a hologram displaying a type of lifeform. The first globe shows a supercontinent-dominated planet, and its accompanying holo shows prehistoric animals. The next shows modern-day Earth, its holo shows humans. The last shows a waterless planet, with the outlines of Earth’s continents marked on it. Across from this globe is a holo of an indistinct humanoid form. Of note here is that where the other two consoles display two sets of double helix DNA strands, this console shows one double helix for the smaller one, but the larger is a four-strand helix.

Normally you don’t get a chance to take in the view from the observation deck, as the Overseer materializes and attacks as soon as you walk in and then you get teleported out once it’s dead. But I don’t play normally. From the window you can look out on other ARKs, one of which is damaged. You can also see that they’re in orbit around a waterless planet (or at least a dead one). To the left of the window is a small moon or large asteroid that has been partially destroyed, its debris and dust floating nearby (I didn’t screenshot this, it isn’t as interesting to look at as the ARKs)

Those are the facts, now here’s what I’m thinking. The ARKs were made by someone with the ability to create and maintain advanced artificial ecosystems, create and manipulate genetically modified organisms, and most bizarrely of all, time travel. The humans that inhabit the ARKs appear to all be taken from various points in Earth’s history, though it’s implied that there are children in some settlements. My point though is that as far as we know there aren’t any modified humans, at least on the ARKs we’ve visited so far. Humans seem to be the focus of the ARK’s purpose, and they are supposed to struggle to survive (Nosti was destroyed because they had it too easy, essentially.)

Why would the Overseer, an AI, be doing this? Who put it there, and what is its purpose? My theory is that this is a far off point in the future, wherein the Earth is dead. The remainder of humanity decided to work towards perfecting the race, to be able to survive on and rebuild their dead world. Perhaps with the aim of not repeating the mistakes that cost them the planet in the first place, as well. But if the Overseer is capable of time travel (which it is in a way, the writers of the explorer notes make it clear what point in time they each came from, but they’re contemporaries on the ARKs) why not just go back in time to stop the calamity? Maybe it doesn’t work that way. Or maybe it was determined that it would happen anyway. Regardless, the ARKs allow only the strongest and smartest to survive. At the same time, humans make good use of the creatures modified to be tamed with relative ease. Imagine what would happen generations down the line. The result would be hearty people, well used to surviving extremely hostile environments, and commanding many beasts that are also capable of surviving. Such a group would make excellent terraforming pioneers, or at least genetic stock for creating such.

There’s still a lot of questions, but I think it’s supposed to be that way. I think part of ARK is asking the questions and not necessarily knowing the answers.

One last note: The ARKs you can see from the window appear to be two copies of the Island (or one of them could be the Center, the obelisks are in different places), two Scorched Earths, and the damaged one which looks like Aberration. What I find interesting is that each seems to have an “arm” sticking out over it, which I think is an observation deck. That would explain why when you walk through the supply drop room, you can look down and see the Island under you: the deck is literally above the ARK, and in future patches which add Tek caves to the other maps you’ll be able to see those maps there instead. That also implies that each ARK has its own Overseer.