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=====Era: Pre-History=====

>>@@===[[CategoryEras Eras of TTU]]===@@

@@[[EraPreChanges Next Era]] "">>""@@
~{{color bg="#A0B0C0" text=" pre "}}   ''""Pre-History""''
~{{color bg="#A0B0C0" text=" pre "}}   [[EraPreChanges Pre-Changes]]
~{{color bg="#FC345C" text="  1  "}}   EraDragonInTheStreets (12/96)
~{{color bg="#FA8072" text="  2  "}}   EraTheShockSettlesIn (12/96)
~{{color bg="#EFCAA9" text="  3  "}}   EraNationOnTheBrink (1/97)
~{{color bg="#EEE87A" text="  4  "}}   EraSchismAndStalemate (1/97)
~{{color bg="#00FF00" text="  5  "}}   EraFromCausesToCrusades (2-8/97)
~{{color bg="#00FFFF" text="  6  "}}   EraWinterOfDiscontent (8-12/97)
~{{color bg="#87CEEB" text="  7  "}}   EraANewWorldOrder (1998+)
~{{color bg="#9A8AFD" text="  8  "}}   EraOverTheHorizon (2007+)
>> //65+ Million Years In The Past//

**Starts at:** Late Cretaceous period (74.25 ± 8.75 Ma?)
**Ends at:** No later than the [[WikiPedia:Cretaceous–Tertiary_extinction_event K-Pg Extinction Event]], 65.5 Ma

==Era Summary==

Even after magic changed the world in 1996, very little changed about archaeology. The vast stretches of time in between fossil formation and discovery [[WhatMagicCantDo wiped out]] any possibility of recovering useful data via spellcasting. A small number of [[TheriType dinosaur theris]] did increase interest in the field, but Earth's distant past remained the province of slow, frustrating science.

Then, in 2010, TTU's view of the Age of Dinosaurs was turned on its head.

Aaron Whitley -- founder of magitech company GroupRavensHeadTechnologies -- was scouring the world on an obsessive quest for evidence that the Changes were not unique in Earth's history. Even with some of the world's most talented mages and the bleeding edge in divination spells, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. And, in the remote [[WikiPedia:Atacama_Desert Atacama Desert]] of Chile, he found it: A city of dinosaurs (a new species coined "ctizosaurs": builder-lizards), buried by a volcano over 65 million years ago. It was preserved in a state that showed unmistakeable signs of civilization ... and, most excitingly for Whitley, a number of winged marble statues vaguely resembling modern dragons.

The distant past still remains out of reach of magic, but now science has some data to work with. And with signs of extraterrestrial intelligence still elusive, the find was the first solid proof that humanity is not the universe's only species to achieve civilization -- offering hope for someday finding another living intelligent race.

Speculation over the statues' meaning remains rampant -- but in a world where The Changes are settled fact, it's an intriguing suggestion that TTU's current age of wonder may not be unique either. Whitley (and many mages) steadfastly maintain that the statues are signs of ancient Changes; many scientists argue that it's easy to carve statues of imaginary things.

The discovery of intelligent dinosaurs also brought up the ominous possibility that the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous may have been caused by the dinosaurs themselves. The potential of repeating this catastrophe in modern life, with its nuclear bombs and international tension and dragons and mages, has not gone unnoticed.

But what was ctizosaur life like?

The dinosaurs that died at Atacama were tool-users -- they built structures of wood and occasionally stone, stored food in pottery, and carved statues. They practiced agriculture -- as carnivores near the middle of the food chain, they domesticated smaller dinosaurs that they used as food sources, and used planting and irrigation techniques to cultivate plants for their food to eat. They almost certainly had a language, although no written artifacts have survived to the present. A few traces suggesting metal weapons were found in the Atacama dig, but no metal art or jewelry. There was no sign of the tools used to carve the statue. As such, a common theory is that they used magic to substitute for complex tool use like statue carving. They may have also been a poor outlying settlement of a richer civilization, trading agricultural resources for goods such as the statues.

==Major Events==

==Writing Tips==

In TTU's later years, dinosaur history is a topic that fascinates the world. But although a few subsequent digs would expand knowledge of the Atacama ctizosaurs (such as the 2012 discovery of the site where they quarried the marble of the statues), most of what is known comes from slow, patient reconstruction of the tiny amounts of data available. Fanciful speculation runs far afield of what little scientific data exists.

It might be interesting to set a story in the ctizosaur civilization in the prehistoric era, but largely, this part of the setting should be used as discussion fodder for characters post-2010.

It's also notable that the discovery of ctizosaurs did spawn a small wave of ctizosaur theris.


As with any life-altering discovery, the Atacama dig has had its share of skeptics crying hoax. However, once the site was identified via magic, all excavation was done by professional archaeologists (under the supervision of New Atlantis' Agustín Garcia-Russo and his former colleagues from the University of Chile) in an open fashion, with a great deal of supporting documentation verified by media and fellow scientists.

The most serious of the skeptics' accusations is that Whitley and his team created the site with magic rather than discovering it. But experts in both thaumatology and archaeology universally agree that a hoax on the scope of the Atacama Dig would have been impossible. The Atacama site quickly became one of the most studied finds in history; planting fake fossils or artifacts would have left resonance impossible to disguise from the hundreds of mages who worked on artifact reconstruction and preservation, and archaeologists worldwide have pored over the excavation data in such detail that a hoaxer would virtually have had to be omniscient to fool them all.

That hasn't stopped the dinohoax crowd, just as it didn't stop those [[WikiPedia:Moon_landing_conspiracy_theories crying fake]] at the 1969 moon landing. And since the idea of intelligent dinosaurs is a threat to religious mythology that affirms human uniqueness, there's a substantial minority of the public that refuses to accept the find as legitimate.

===Stories Set In This Era===
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===Other Associated Pages===
{{category header="" exclude="Category,Era,Story,Culturalia"}}

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