Recently, a Twitter account I follow noted that once you’re no longer a small child, people stop asking you what your favorite dinosaur is. She thought this was wrong, so she asked all of her followers what their favorite dinosaur was. Some people came up with some amazingly diverse dinosaurs, some I had never heard of. Overwhelmingly, though, most people said that their favorite dinosaur was the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex!
It’s understandable why so many people picked it as their favorite. We’ve been taught how this giant monster was predator to all other dinosaurs. He was king. He was huge and had giant powerful teeth. Thinking of that compared to us humans, it makes you glad that we didn’t live at the same time as these giants.
Science, however, is inconclusive on whether this is the true story. A majority of scientists stick to the idea that the T. Rex was a monstrous carnivorous predator, but a decent number of paleontologists have legitimate contradictory theories as to why this might not be entirely true. The Tyrannosaurus Rex might have been a scavenger instead. The debate goes a little something like this.
Most of us know the arguments for it being a predator. They were giant and had really big teeth. They look like big scary predators. Some arguments for them being scavengers though:
- T. Rex had small weak eyes. Most predators had very sharp vision.
- T. Rex have very tiny arms, making it difficult to grapple with prey that fought back.
- T. Rex have large legs which used to be assumed made them fast, but more recent analysis estimates they could only travel about 10 miles per hour.
- T. Rex had large olfactory lobes in the brain. This meant they had very strong senses of smell, which would be ideal for smelling a rotting carcass from miles away.
These seem pretty convincing, but there is still some debate either way. One discovery in 2013 causes many scientists to lean towards predator. There was a T. Rex tooth found in the tail of another dinosaur. The other dinosaur’s body had healed around it over a long period of time. This points to the T. Rex attacking the dinosaur while it was still alive. The debate continues. Was the T. Rex a scary apex predator? Or was it a much less ferocious scavenger?
Thankfully I will never have to fear for my life because of a T. Rex attack, but there are still lots of things people see as very scary. One of the things many people are scared of are the difficult teachings of Christ. When we listen to the Gospels, many people hear his teachings and think they are too difficult. They are scared of what those changes would look like in their life.
- Christ speaking with the rich man: I have to give up all of my possessions?
- Christ calling the apostles: I have to leave my family?
- Christ speaking in Luke: My family will be divided against itself?
When we focus on these parts of the teachings, they do sound scary and hard, but if we look at the entirety of His teachings, we begin to see the less scary truth. We see that Christ is calling us to these difficult teachings so that we can love our neighbor more fully. If your possessions are holding you back from loving your neighbor, then yes you should get rid of them. If your family is stopping you from loving others, then you should choose to love others.
When we see that Christ is calling us to love, his teachings aren’t scary at all. This call MAY ask you to go outside of your comfort zone, which for a lot of people is scary, but it is also wonderfully rewarding.
There are a lot of people who need help this year, especially as COVID-19 cases are again rising and as we get closer to the holidays. How can you reach out to them and share love? Can you volunteer to buy gifts for a family? Can you cook meals for a family in quarantine due to illness? Can you help serve food at a soup kitchen? What can you do? How can you take on Jesus’ teachings head-on? That, to me, sounds a lot less scary than facing a T-Rex head-on!