Of ants and dinosaurs, and an ecological warning

08 June 2020 - 11:59
'Of Ants and Dinosaurs' is a satirical fable by the author of 'The Three-Body Problem'.
'Of Ants and Dinosaurs' is a satirical fable by the author of 'The Three-Body Problem'.
Image: Supplied

In a sunlit clearing in central Gondwana, on an otherwise ordinary day in the late Cretaceous, the seeds of Earth's first and greatest civilisation were sown in the grisly aftermath of a Tyrannosaurus' lunch.

Throughout the universe, intelligence is a rare and fragile commodity – a fleeting glimmer in the long night of cosmic history. That Earth should harbour not just one but two intelligent species at the same time, defies the odds. That these species, so unalike – and yet so complementary – should forge an alliance that kindled a civilisation defies logic. But time is endless and everything comes to pass eventually.

The alliance between ants and dinosaurs was, of course, based on dentistry. Yet from such humble beginnings came writing, mathematics, computers, fusion, antimatter and even space travel – a veritable Age of Wonder. But such magnificent industry comes at a price – a price paid first by Earth's biosphere, and then by all those dependent on it.

Yet the dinosaurs refused to heed the ants' warning of impending ecological collapse, leaving the Ant Federation facing a dilemma: destroy the dinosaurs, destroy a civilisation, or perish alongside them?