Try to think in terms of millions of years. I dare you. People simply aren’t made to think in such quantities. A million times around the Sun? What does that even mean?
Jellyfish are the ultimate Earthlings. After all, they’ve been on this planet longer than just about anything. We know that jellyfish were around 500 million years ago (!). Homo sapiens? Maybe 100,000 years. Even fish, which we sometimes imagine started the whole evolution thing when they developed stubby little legs and crawled out onto dry land, gasping for breath, have only been around for 370 million years.
But how have the jellies managed to do it? We think that big brains matter, that they are the secret to our planetary dominance. Jellies don’t think. They never developed the brains. If you’ve ever been to an aquarium, you probably noticed that they don’t seem to do much of anything. They simply exist, pulsating through the water, without any discernible purpose.
And yet in a doom and gloom future, when the oceans are otherwise lifeless and empty, jellies will exist. They can exist in the most polluted conditions, the most acidic of circumstances. Global warming? They’ll just be getting warmed up, so to speak.
Scientists theorize that the planet has gone through five mass extinction events in the last 440 million years. Some suggest we might be on the verge of a sixth. Odds are the jellies will survive; will we?
Are human beings superior to jelly fish, or does such a question even make sense?
“Those who admire the massive, rigid bone structures of dinosaurs should remember that jellyfish still enjoy their very secure ecological niche.” – Beau Shiel