Most would argue the legal driving age of sixteen seems appropriate for someone to begin taking the wheel, while others say that twenty-one is a more sufficient age.
The New Zealand Herald quoted “Police figures released to the Herald show a dramatic drop in the number of under-17s caught drink-driving, from 630 in 2007 to 305 last year.” If the driving age were to be raised to 18, young people would have to face these two challenges learning to drive and access to alcohol all at the same time.
Even though raising or maintaining the driving age at sixteen contain both pros and cons, major facts need to come to consideration if the driving age ever increases.
Peter Ward led an effort to catalog the fossil record before and after Romer’s Gap, which found a dramatic that did not resume until about 340-330 mya. Romer’s Gap seems to have coincided with low-oxygen levels of the late Devonian and early Carboniferous. If coincided with a halt in colonization, just as the adaptation to breathing air was beginning, the obvious implication is that low oxygen levels hampered early land animals. Not just the lung had to evolve for the up-and-coming amphibians, but the entire chest cavity had to evolve to expand and contract while also allowing for a new mode of locomotion. When amphibians and splay-footed reptiles run, they cannot breathe, as their mechanics of locomotion prevent running and breathing at the same time. Even walking and breathing is generally difficult. This means that they cannot perform any endurance locomotion but have to move in short spurts. This is why today’s predatory amphibians and reptiles are ambush predators. They can only move in short bursts, and then have to stop, breathe, and recover their oxygen deficit. In short, they have no stamina. This limitation is called . The below image shows the evolutionary adaptations that led to overcoming Carrier's Constraint. Dinosaurs overcame it first, and it probably was related to their dominance and the extinction or marginalization of their competitors. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Except raising the driving age won't save lives....
What was most relevant to humans, however, was the almost-complete extinction during the Kellwasser event of the tetrapods that had come ashore. Tetrapods did not reappear in the fossil record until several million years after the Kellwasser event, and has even been referred to as the Fammenian Gap (the is the Devonian’s last age). The Kellwasser event also appeared to be a period of low atmospheric oxygen content, and some evidence is the lack of charcoal in fossil deposits. Recent research has demonstrated that getting wood to burn at oxygen levels of less than 13-15% may be impossible. Because all periods of complex land life show evidence of forest fires, it is today thought that oxygen levels have not dropped below 13-15% since the Devonian, but during the “charcoal gap” of the late Devonian, when the first landlubbing tetrapods went extinct, oxygen levels reached their lowest levels since the , which must have impacted the first animals trying to breathe air instead of water. During the , there is no charcoal evidence at all, which leads to the notion that oxygen levels may have even dropped below 13%. This drop may be related to severe climatic stresses on the new forests, which are probably related to the ice age that the forests helped bring about due to their carbon sequestering. That is an attractively explanatory scenario, but the continues. The first seed plants probably appeared before the Kellwasser event, but it was not until after the Fammenian Gap that seed plants began to proliferate.
I think that there are crazies in every age when it comes to driving.
As with the , the molecular evidence shows that virtually all major orders of mammals existed before the end-Cretaceous extinction. The Paleocene‘s Mammalian Explosion appears to have not been a genetic event, but an ecological one; mammals quickly adapted to empty niches that non-avian dinosaurs left behind. The kinds of mammals that appeared in the Paleocene and afterward illustrate the idea that body features and size are conditioned by their environment, which includes other organisms. With the sauropods' demise, high grazers of conifers never reappeared, but many mammals developed ornithischian eating habits and many attained similar size. That phenomenon illustrates the , in which assemblages of vastly different animals can inhabit similar ecological niches. The guild concept is obvious with the many kinds of animals that formed reefs in the past; the , , , , , , , and reefs all had similarities, particularly in their shape and location, but the organisms comprising them, from reef-forming organisms to reef denizens and the apex predators patrolling them, had radical changes during the . If you squinted and blurred your vision, most of those reefs from different periods would appear strikingly similar, but when you focused, the variation in organisms could be astounding. The woodpecker guild is comprised of animals that eat insects living under tree bark. But in Madagascar, where no woodpeckers live, a , with a middle finger that acts as the woodpecker’s bill. In New Guinea, . In the Galapagos Islands, a to acquire those insects. In Australia, , but unlike the others, they have not developed a probing body part, nor do they use tools, but just rip off the bark with the brute force of their beaks.
Driving at age 16 gives teens more experience before adulthood.
As smoke cleared and dust settled, literally, from the , the few surviving mammals and birds crept from their refuges, seeds and spores grew into plants, and the began, which is also called the Age of Mammals, as they have dominated this era. The Cenozoic’s first period is the , which ran from about 66 mya to 23 mya. As this essay enters the era of most interest to most humans, I will slice the timeline a little finer and use the concept of epochs. The Paleogene’s first epoch is called the (c. 66 to 56 mya).