Sunday, March 7, 2010

Looks Like a Big Rock Killed the Dinosaurs

"Rock Solid Link: Asteroid Doomed the Dinosaurs"
Space.com (March 4, 2010)

"Scientists have debated for two decades whether a giant space rock wiped out the dinosaurs or if some other catastrophe did the deed.

"Now, a blue-ribbon panel of scientists has banded together to support the link between the Chicxulub asteroid impact crater in Mexico's Yucat√°n Peninsula with the mass extinction of dinosaurs and the majority of life on our planet 65 million years ago.

" 'It is an international consensus. They are saying that there's a rock solid link between the Chicxulub impact event and the K-T boundary mass extinction,' said David Kring, a Senior Staff Scientist and geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in nearby Houston...."

I'm not terribly surprised at the conclusion: Something that blew a hole a mile deep and 110 miles wide (Space.com (14 April 2008)) might reasonably be expected to throw a monkey wrench in the works. Sounds like 85% of the species around at the time died out. ("The End-Cretaceous (K-T) Extinction," Hooper Virtual Paleontological Musuem, Canada)

Not that the K-T event was the worst time for Earth's 'delicate' ecosystems. Now that mass extinction in the Permian: That was a big one.

Anyway: that Space.com article doesn't go into much detail, but it does give a sort of overview on what's happened, and what sort of thinking goes into decisions like the one that 'blue ribbon panel' made.

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