“Did you know that dinasaurs are extinct?” asked Art Linkletter many years ago, to a young kid, on his popular “Kids Say The Darndest Things”  tv show.  Art asked him this question after having first learned that it was the childs favorite animal.  “Yes”, said the kid. “How do you know?” continued the questioning   Mr. Linkletter. “Because I got up close to one and could smell it?” the kid responded.

It was funny then, and still is now. But curiosly, for some  strange reason,  I  always remembered that episode  for which I had watched as a young kid myself.  That memory  surfaced again when I had this related quandary about the instincts of man and animals, and was wondering  from where they might have originally been derived from.  Of course, sometimes even my mnd gets thoughts that evaporate into nothingness and so too become extinct.  Thus my reasons to write things down when I want to be sure and remember them somewhere in the future. Had the dinosaurs been able to do the same, perhaps they might not have become extinct?

All the same, to me, instincts that occur in nature are a most astounding natural phenomenon.  For example,  did you know that a steelhead, which is anadroumous (from fresh water to salt, and back to fresh water life history), will come back to spawn within ten feet of where it was born, after traveling thouands of miles in both types of water?  How do they do it?  According to biologists, it is partly by smell, electromagnetic effects,  light intensity, and whatever other mechanisms that serve  the instincts to guide their behavior.What about those “other things?”

Or how about any of the other migration patterns of birds or mammals?  How do they know what to do, or where to go?  Where do their insincts come from? It is a big question, and will probably never be adequately answered any time soon.  Biologists, philosophers, and theologists all have some answers, but not all the answers.

Instincts are a little like an animal track.  The track is real, but you can’t see the animal that made it, unless its foot is still making the track. The animal is real, and the track is real. Yet, the  track is not the animal, as a map is not the geography.  It is only evidence for the animal, like a migration is evidence for an instinct.

Tracking wildife is a great joy for me because it is like reading a story from natures play book.  Following tracks is also another example of how instincts can pan out. Both my own, when applied to ground where tracks mostly disappear for a distance, and I am trying to figure out where they went, and also as it is used by  animals when  they make their way across varied terrain.

So, did dinosaurs have instincts?  Yes. All living, or once living things, do or did. Good ones led to survival, bad ones led to extinction.  But what they are exactly and how they work? Well, that’s another heavy-duty question.

Such live on the  awesome mysteries  brought to us humans by the beauty of Mother Nature.

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