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Please help. I've given this riddle much thought and can't get anywhere.

I last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds.
I embody the Jurassic period and the Renaissance.
I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.
I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

There was an image attached to this riddle, but it was a completely black rectangle with nothing apparent in it.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe add the image, just in case? $\endgroup$ – user58 Aug 15 '16 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to puzzling! It would help if you posted the image if you can - things aren't always as they seem with images $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Aug 15 '16 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ This is really puzzling. $\endgroup$ – EKons Aug 15 '16 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure it's 'waiting on you', or is it 'waiting for you' $\endgroup$ – Shuri2060 Aug 15 '16 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ What is the source of this riddle? $\endgroup$ – f'' Aug 15 '16 at 17:03
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First answer here, I hope I abide by the format.


Are you

a period?

For the hints:

I Last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds.

Three of them are an ellipsis, can mean any time in a narrative context. More simply, both examples are periods of time.

I embody the Jurassic period and the Renaissance.

These are historical/geological periods.

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.

Periodic table of elements. Which, as Marco13 points out, contains overall 24 letters of the alphabet when looking at the symbols of the elements.

I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

My life is a period. Not sure about the waiting part: all I could think of is the waiting period, i.e. "the period of time between when an action is requested or mandated and when it occurs."

There was an image attached to this riddle, but it was a completely black rectangle with nothing apparent in it.

Well... the typographic symbol for a period is a black square.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm waiting on you matches well if you interpret the solution as the "end "(of life). Like in point, blank and period to end a conversation. $\endgroup$ – user28935 Aug 16 '16 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I'm waiting on you is a reference to the period that waits on you at the end of (almost) every sentence. $\endgroup$ – Christoph Aug 16 '16 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the 24 also referred to the 2+4=6 letters in period? $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Aug 18 '16 at 6:17
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, this has to be the correct answer to this strange riddle o.O $\endgroup$ – ABcDexter Aug 18 '16 at 11:34
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My guess is

matter (or maybe "elements")

Reasoning:

I Last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds.

There is matter (elements) that is stable and lasts billions of years, whereas some of the radioactive elements only last a few milliseconds before they decay

I embody the Jurrasic period and the Renaissance.

Matter literally embodies everything that is associated with these periods. They would not have "existed" without matter.

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.

The periodic table contains (approximately) 116 elements. (This changes occasionally. Right now, it's 118). The short forms of these elements (e.g. "H" for Hydrogen or "Mo" for Molyb­denum) contain 24 letters of the english alphabet. Particularly, they contain all letters except for J and Q (I just checked this, just in case ;-))

I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

That's a bit philosophical, but a common definition of "life" relies on "matter". Not sure whether the "waiting on you" part should interpreted somehow.

The black image could be a pun,

related to "dark matter" or "black matter"....

(I'm not a native english speaker, so all this may be utterly wrong)

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    $\begingroup$ don't worry about your english - it perfect $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Aug 15 '16 at 17:03
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Greek

I Last billions of years

Alpha and Omega (A + Ω), beginning and the end

or a couple of milliseconds.

1000 μs (micro-seconds) = 1 ms (millisecond)

I embody the Jurassic period

Dinosaur comes from the Greek words deinos and sauros.

and the Renaissance.

Renaissance started partially from re-discovery of classical Greek texts

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet

Greek alphabet has 24 letters

and 116 chemical elements.

χ is the Electronegativity of elements (and several other Greek letters show up in chemistry)

I am your entire life

Beta Waves (and the other brain waves named after other Greek letters)

and I am waiting on you.

ε or λ could denote an empty string, waiting for user input to populate it. Perhaps still referring to the brain waves.

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    $\begingroup$ I also thought this, but the English part and the last line threw me off $\endgroup$ – Jason_ Aug 15 '16 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jason those were throwing me off as well. I do know that English came from Latin which came from Greek, though. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Aug 15 '16 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ Good thinking on some but not fit for others. $\endgroup$ – KeithN Aug 15 '16 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet The English alphabet came from the Greek alphabet, but is not the Greek alphabet. $\endgroup$ – EKons Aug 17 '16 at 11:06
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I've got an idea...

You're a span, as simple as that.

I Last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds.

A span of time can be long, or short.

I embody the Jurrasic period and the Renaissance.

Both are timespans of significance to history.

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.

The span of the English alphabet, and the span of the periodic table.

I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

Your lifespan, the end of which is always waiting on you.

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    $\begingroup$ The English alphabet has had 26 letters since the 16th century according to some, but might have always had 26 and there have been more than 116 elements for awhile also $\endgroup$ – Jason_ Aug 15 '16 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ the alphabet part does not work $\endgroup$ – njzk2 Aug 16 '16 at 2:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Jason_ It could still refer to that part of the alphabet, but you both make good points, I think this is probably a fairly weak answer. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Aug 16 '16 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ I think Ziz is on track. The idea that it is the part between the beginning and the end seems right. 24 letters of alphabet is everything between A and Z. The rectangular picture could be a dash, meaning the part between 2 things. There are 117 elements in the periodic table, not 116. There is a gap between 116 and 118, so that could be like the alphabet as well, the stuff between the first and last.Your entire life being the part between birth and death, and "I am waiting on you" being the part between now and the end of your life. So, I'm thinking it's the Middle. $\endgroup$ – Byron Aug 17 '16 at 13:48
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Answer

The big bang

I Last billions of years

The big bang created the universe which is 14 billions years old

or a couple of milliseconds

The big bang happen in an instant

I embody the Jurassic period and the Renaissance.

The big bang was the start point of everything

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.

The big bang created the elements in the periodic table

I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

We are born in the universe and will die on the universe which is created by the big bang

There was an image attached to this riddle, but it was a completely black rectangle with nothing apparent in it.

Maybe before the big bang there is nothing

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    $\begingroup$ "a couple of milliseconds" overestimates the duration by quite a few orders of magnitude. $\endgroup$ – chepner Aug 17 '16 at 15:19
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Answer:

A Big Bang

I last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds.

No one knows how many times the Big Bang exploded and imploded, before our universe were created.

I embody the Jurassic period and the Renaissance.

Well... clearly

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.

@Karmageddon mentioned Q and J is not used for the periodic table, and 116 elements which are not a 'maybe' seems about right.

I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

It was before you, and will most likely be after as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ I had thought about [your answer], too, for a second, but dismissed it because i couldn't make sense of the 24 letters with that. (Using the p. table here seems a stretch) I also tried to generalize from [your answer] to explosion, because an explosion could actually last that long or that short, but again, an explosion does not have 24 letters. $\endgroup$ – Daniel S Aug 17 '16 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielS - The 24 letters also made me stop for a bit, so I had to look what others were saying regarding this matter. Whether the reasons for the answer are the right ones, I still think it's a fair answer to the riddle. $\endgroup$ – Rasmus Bækgaard Aug 17 '16 at 21:48
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Are you?

The Middle - everything between the beginning and the end. Between the Start and the Finish. Between Birth and Death. Between Now and the end. Between A and Z. Between the first element of the p.table (1) and the last (118). There are 117 elements with a blank between #116 and #118, the blank representing an undiscovered element, I think. The picture is a dash, representing the stuff between.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a good answer, but doesn't account for the first and last clues. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Aug 17 '16 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ Which ones in particular? $\endgroup$ – Byron Aug 17 '16 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ "I last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds" and "I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you". $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Aug 17 '16 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ A billion years or a couple of milliseconds can be the middle part of any 2 points in time. Your entire life can be the middle of Birth and Death. And "I am waiting on you" can be the part between right now and the end. The blank in the period table I think is supposed to represent an undiscovered element so it is actually an unnamed element. It may be a stretch, but it could work. We will all probably smack our heads when we hear the answer. $\endgroup$ – Byron Aug 17 '16 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, I just felt that it should be added to your answer, since it's already pretty good. :) $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Aug 17 '16 at 14:29
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Is it

a fossil?

Hints:

I Last billions of years or a couple of milliseconds.

They are buried for billions of years...
On exposure they turn to dust in a couple of seconds.

I embody the Jurassic period and the Renaissance.

Dinosaurs, recent animals [Dodo which became extinct, maybe in the renaissance]

I am composed of 24 letters of the English alphabet, and 116 chemical elements.

Just consider the dinosaur bones, those long hard to pronounce names but there might be 2 letters that have never been used. [Just a hunch]
All the radiation it contains the essence of 116 chemical elements. Since it isn't just 'elements' but 'chemical elements' maybe not completely the scientific 'element' but a literary 'element' which means basic unit.

I am your entire life, and I am waiting on you.

Fossils contains the history of the Earth, about evolution and our ancestors.
They are waiting to be found by us.

There was an image attached to this riddle, but it was a completely black rectangle with nothing apparent in it.

An fossil buried deep underground, no light hence black.

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Answer:

"DNA, or maybe just the amino acids it encodes"

Because it represents life, persists over long periods, but sometimes short periods (when replicated?)

amino accids can be very unstable, as far as i know

Depending on how you count, 24 letters represent it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amino_acid#Table_of_standard_amino_acid_abbreviations_and_properties 20 standard amino acids, each having a letter assigned, and four more (X,B,Z,J) if uncertain/ambiguous.

I did not look for an offical count of chemical elements used, but it might match ;)

Edit: oh, and of course you can't see it on a picture,

at least not at original scale ...

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  • $\begingroup$ What about the elements though - I'm pretty sure there's neither As nor He (among many others) in [your answer] $\endgroup$ – Chris H Aug 17 '16 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisH, admittedly, that is a weakness, although there are numerous (synthesizable) variants that possibly could contain most elements. $\endgroup$ – Daniel S Aug 17 '16 at 15:28

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