Sunday, January 02, 2011

This Family Tree Is Long

The jellyfish has been around for 600 million years, which I just learned from the Discovery Channel a few minutes ago. That’s a long time, which you know.

My brother is the family genealogist and for anyone else who fills in the missing gaps in their ancestral line, you’d have a hard time going back more than, say, 15 generations. We can make it to 12, mostly due to a book which happens to list my mother’s side back to 1639. She missed being in it by about eight or ten years, but her parents made it.

I don’t expect there are jellyfish around today who have a record going back that far. In terms of the universe, 600 million years is little more than a tick of the clock; God’s great creation out there seems to be something like 13.5 billion years old, best we can figure, and six hundred million is merely a rounding error.

Us’n? We’re the new kids on the block, jellyfish-wise. Creation-wise, we haven’t even moved into the house yet. We’re still out on the front lawn with the moving truck bringing in the furniture. If ten million years is a tick of the clock in the universe timepiece, all of human history probably will never last even that long.

Just think: with all our gadgets, all of our life-extending abilities, we are such newcomers in the vastness of creation, while these transparent things floating in the water have been swimming around since dragons roamed the earth looking for fair maidens to devour. Maidens who would not exist for another 600 million years.