Caution: Mothers and College Students
Mothers and college students be warned. According to the latest scientific theory, your days may be numbered. Rhiannon Edward wrote an article in The Scotsman titled, “Lack of Deep Sleep Led to Dinosaurs’ Demise” (2006). Forget asteroids, exploding stars, tidal waves, or climate changes, the latest theory on the departure of dinosaurs is that they were unable to get enough of the right kind of sleep. Kristina Pederson remarked: “Their sudden demise millions of years ago has been blamed on everything from huge volcanoes and apocalyptic tsunamis to giant meteor impacts, even alien invasions. But could it be dinosaurs became extinct simply because they didn’t get the right kind of sleep?” (2006, emp. added). This is the latest attempt—in a long list of theories—to explain why dinosaurs no longer roam the Earth. As Edward noted: “[T]he latest theory to explain their extinction claims they did not survive because their reptilian sleeping patterns meant their brains did not learn new skills properly” (2006).
This explanation has caused me—the father of three small children—anxiety and grave concern as I question my own fate. Okay, so maybe I’m not losing that much sleep over it. But scientists really are suggesting that sleep deprivation may be one of the causes for the dinosaurs’ departure. The author of the study, Dr. Niels Rattenborg, noted: “It could be that when Earth experienced huge climatic changes towards the end of the era they were unable to pick up sufficient new tricks to learn their way out of extinction” (Pederson, 2006). He continued: “Unlike mammals, reptiles do not have the cognitive abilities to experience slow-wave sleep, and slow-wave sleep is important as arguably it helps a creature perform new tasks and improve its memory” (Pederson, 2006).
The controversy stems from the fact that reptiles experience only REM sleep. As Rattenborg stated: “Mammals and birds are the only animals that exhibit rapid eye-movement (REM) sleep and slow-wave sleep (SWS)” (2006, 69:20). Rattenborg studied the connectivity in the brains of mammals, birds, and reptiles and believes that by not getting into a slow-wave sleep, reptiles would be limited in performing new tasks and complex behaviors. As Edward observed:
Slow-wave—or deep—sleep leads to enhancements in both learning and physical performance. It effectively shuts down the parts of the brain that have learned new skills and allows this learning to become consolidated without interruption. Without this crucial ability it could be that, when the Earth experienced huge climactic changes towards the end of the era of the dinosaurs, they were unable to pick up sufficient new tricks to learn their way out of extinction (2006).
If this theory smells a little fishy it might be because the premise is self-defeating. Why haven’t all the reptiles, amphibians, and fish died out if slow-wave sleep is one of the keys to survival? Many fish rarely sleep, and as such evolution should have never advanced out of the sea! This latest theory comes on the heels of another report that suggests the meteorite that impacted the Yucatan’s Chicxulub occurred “too early to have caused the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs” (Cairns, 2006). The Chicxulub impact has long been a favorite of evolutionists in explaining the dinosaur’s demise. Evolutionists refuse to look in other directions to explain the disappearance of these remarkable creatures. They would never even consider that the global Flood, followed by a dramatic climatic change, could have left these enormous cold-blooded creatures struggling for survival. And so, we get treated to reports in which sleep deprivation is the leading culprit. Let this be a warning to all intern physicians who are putting in 100-hour work weeks—your days may be numbered.
Cairns, Ann (2006), “More Evidence Chicxulub Was Too Early,” The Geological Society of America, [On-line], URL: http://www.geosociety.org/news/pr/06-14.htm.
Edward, Rhiannon (2006), “Lack of Deep Sleep Led to Dinosaurs’ Demise,” The Scotsman, [On-line], URL: http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=447482006.
Pederson, Kristina (2006), “T. Rex—Just Too Tired to Survive,” [On-line], URL: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18568094-2,00.html.
Rattenborg, Niels C. (2006), “Evolution of Slow-Wave Sleep and Palliopallial Connectivity in Mammals and Birds: A Hypothesis,” Brain Research Bulletin, 69:20-29, March 15.