Encounter At Isla Uvita: Part One

Let me acquaint you with a real mystery. 2020 was a particularly terrible year in human history, and no one needs to be reminded of that. But not all of the difficult aspects of that year were recorded in time. Given that I am expected to be a veritable Johannes factotum of the information of the past and a lot of other things, it is important to have good sources of information about the past to work with in order to provide information. Yet in some areas this has been difficult, and 2020 provides me with a difficult challenge in understanding the past. A large part of this has to do with the corrupt practices that happened with regards to companies in charge of storing and sharing data, in that a great deal of worthwhile and useful information simply vanished down the memory hole and has been impossible to recover. Whatever information these companies did not want to have seen simply was not seen, and it has been impossible to recover this information even centuries later, since our knowledge of the past has depended on what has survived from the past.

What I will do, therefore, is simply to recount what is known and try to make the best of it and recapture a little of what was lost, to the extent that this can be done. What can safely be said is that in 2020, while economies were crashing and political disorder related to a public health disaster filled the world, scientists were quietly recreating dinosaurs from oblivion. It was widely thought that this was a horrible idea. When the idea had been broached to the public, the response was, as one might expect, far from favorable. It was a case of life imitating art imitating life. Dr. Jack Horner not only sought to create dinosaurs for himself but also consulted with the Jurassic Park film series which fictionalized the creation of dinosaurs from DNA that had been preserved in amber. Yet it should be noted that he was not the only scientist who was involved in the project, and he was not even the most successful one of the lot, even if he was the one who drew the most attention.

It was a Greek doctor, Dr. Costas Stamatoyannopoulos, who found the missing breakthrough that allowed for dinosaurs to be brought back to life. And unlike Dr. Horner or purveyors of fake news, he was not interested so much in bringing back large dinosaurs like the T-Rex, but rather smaller dinosaurs who would not be so overwhelming. And at some point in 2020, we do not know exactly when, he was able to bring back a selection of small dinosaurs that he called korinthidons, after his native area of Corinth. This was naturally something that would be expected to be huge news, but surprisingly enough it was not big news at all. It is left for those of us later on to understand why it is that this is not so. Of course, the creation of dinosaurs from long extinction is an immensely remarkable matter, but it ought not to be too surprising. In the Holy Land, for example, grain that was thousands of years old blossomed into life and bore fruit, showing that life can remain dormant for a long time. And that is certainly true when one is able to find preserved DNA. It appears that the difference between Dr. Stamatoyannopoulos and Dr. Horner was that the first was able to find complete DNA for a relatively obscure creature that was human-sized and thus flew below the radar for a long while, since he was not the sort of person who wanted a great deal of publicity for himself, being more interested in science than in the Hollywood life.

Still, it is entirely predictable that there were a lot of people who would not have been happy that dinosaurs were now in the world. Some people thought it was simply one atrocity or horror in 2020 that went too far, while others could only see dinosaurs as violent and hostile reptiles. The truth is, as is generally the case, far more complicated. For the most part, reptiles operate at a simpler level intellectually than other creatures. The three-level brain has been well explored, and the reptile brain, thinking of food and how to get it, or other things that one wants and how to get them, is the lowest and most basic level of intelligence. No one doubts that reptiles have been very good at fulfilling their longings. It was thought, though, that dinosaurs and other reptiles lacked a limbic system and therefore did not have the sort of higher intelligence that birds and mammals do, simply because those were not present in surviving reptiles. Since birds have a well-developed limbic system, even if it is very different from human beings, it is worthwhile to engage in a bit of speculation about what it was that made these dinosaurs so remarkable.

The speculation is this, that Dr. Stamatoyannopoulos found out that the dinosaurs he had created were far more like birds in terms of their well-developed brains than like the lizards and other reptiles that one saw nowadays. While we do not know the notes that he took, because they sadly do not survive, we can gather what it is that he found because one thing above all survived, and that was the dinosaurs themselves. Because we know something about them, we know something about what he found. It could not have taken very long before he noticed the way that the dinosaurs themselves behaved, being very intuitive about the character of others, and being very fond of pressing their foreheads together with those beings, human or otherwise, they felt a great deal of fondness for. It is entirely possible that he did not understand some of these implications, being a man interested in genetics and paleontology and probably of rather limited interest in the psychology of animals. In fact, it is probably very likely that he did not understand all of the implications of his work. Nevertheless, he did manage to bring dinosaurs back to life after a long time, and this had important consequences. What was to be done now?

And again we must engage in a bit of speculation here about what happened. Wherever the act of creating the dinosaurs occurred, once they had been brought to life it was necessary to find a safe place for them where their behavior could be observed. It may have been thought that after enough information and observation took place that it would have been safe to bring these dinosaurs before the general public. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and it can be guessed that the behavior of the dinosaurs and one of their quirks prevented this from being the case. For one, the dinosaurs were mostly friendly, but their sensitivity to how others thought of them no doubt made them considered to be too anxious and jittery to be safe in close proximity to human beings, especially human beings who wished them harm. This is to be regretted, but it is not surprising at all. For another, it was found, no doubt, that the dinosaurs had the ability to wreck electronics if they felt threatened or anxious, and this likely meant that the people who created the dinosaurs realized that they would never be fit for the zoo life but would have to be in a place where they felt free. And so a home was found for them on Isla Uvita, a small island off the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

We know about this because of a blogger, and it is to this story which we now turn. The only account that has survived about the existence of the dinosaurs was written by someone who managed to write about them without using the word dinosaurs, and so for some reason this post managed to escape the general purge of information, and so let us now look at what was written and how it was that a somewhat obscure but prolific blogger managed to find himself being the only surviving source of the existence of dinosaurs, and thus the frame of factual information, filtered through his own personal observations and perspectives, that allows us to understand what it is that happened with the dinosaurs. It is not a lot of information to work with, but it is vitally important for reasons which will be better understood later. The first post we have is what allows us to understand the logistics and preparations that were involved in introducing the young dinosaurs to suitably friendly people, which must have been a somewhat difficult matter. The discussion survived in the post: “A Blast From The Past,” written on August 18, 2021:

“As is sometimes the case, I feel it necessary to talk about something very strange that happened to me today. Sometimes I do not write because it is something that other people would care about knowing, after all, but rather because I feel it necessary to better understand for myself the strange connections that life has. Today I received a communication for the first time in a long time from an old boss of mine. When I was nearing the end of my time as an undergraduate in college, I worked for a professor and his research lab. It was not as profitable as an experience as I would have liked. I didn’t understand the data very well and had a hard time modeling it visually, taking what was a three dimensional wave test and then showing the wave run-up for various bathymetries as a two dimensional drawing. It was immensely productive as a place for me to write, though, and it was pleasant to deal with the requests that people had for information about the lab’s research. The last time I had communicated with him until today was when I wished the group well in its research of the massive Southeast Asia tsunami almost two decades ago.

For some reason, though, I received a message from my long ago boss, and the message came with an invitation to meet someone who was doing research in the Caribbean. I’m not sure why I got this particular message, and the message was not very clear about what research was being done, but I was able to check out that it wouldn’t cost too much to get to Costa Rica, and was able to send a travel itinerary, and make it a pre-feast excursion to appreciate on my way to Brazil. I also let my mom know as we had been doing our usual planning of logistics for travel, and now I can look forward to a bit of a mystery. Why was I invited out of all the many people that the professor knew and remembered? What sort of research is being done here? What use could I have in whatever research is going on? These are by no means simple questions, not least because I am not familiar of why it is that someone would want to do research on remote Costa Rican islands that I would have any sort of knowledge or insight about. It’s all very mysterious to me, but I suppose my curiosity will be gratified in time.

In the meantime, there is much to prepare for, including packing some supplies and making sure that there are not any burdensome travel restrictions for going in and out of Costa Rica, as well as doing a bit of research on the country and the area where I will be traveling to. These will be an enjoyable way to pass the time and will hopefully prepare me for what the trip has in store. Of course, there will be books to read and review and a travelogue to write that hardly anyone will read, but these things come with the territory for an obscure person who lives a far more interesting life than I have any merit of, not being the most exciting of people aside for my love of learning and of travel. At any rate, this is something more exciting to add to the list, and another country I had been wanting to visit, at any rate, so here’s to former employers and their odd memories.”

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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