Friday, March 5, 2010

Dino Dystopia: The Scientific View

So it's settled: Climate change, brought about by an asteroid's impact with our planet 65 million years ago, caused the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

A "dream team" of 45 scientists, backed by funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, examined evidence and alternative theories -- including the possibilities that the dinosaurs were done in by volcanic activity or by multiple asteroid strikes -- and concluded that a massive, 7.5-mile-wide asteroid hitting in the Gulf of Mexico was the sole culprit, and the cause of massive worldwide damage.

Reports the Los Angeles Times:
The 7.5-mile-wide asteroid was traveling at a speed about 10 times that of a rifle bullet when it hit, releasing a billion times more energy than the Hiroshima atom bomb. The impact blew dirt and rock around the world, set massive wildfires, knocked down forests worldwide, triggered massive tsunamis and earthquakes of magnitude 11 or larger and even caused parts of the continent to slip into the ocean.
Those events wiped out more than half of all species on Earth in what has been called the greatest extinction event of all time. The species lost included not only the dinosaurs, but also the bird-like pterosaurs, large marine reptiles and many smaller land and sea creatures, clearing the way for the emergence of mammals as the dominant life form on the planet.
Wonder what televangelist Pat Robertson would have claimed was the cause, had he been a dinosaur. Oh wait, he is ...

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