Monday, July 28, 2014

Really, Only Dr Who Can Solve This

Scientists have been wrestling with the meteor-killed-the-dinosaurs theory again. Its became established in popular culture that a meteor struck the earth and wiped out all the dinosaurs but for the birds (I guess the birds were all flying really high and managed to avoid the titanic fireball that burnt up all the oxygen and fried the surface). But its really not established in science.

According to live science "Despite some differences, the researchers agreed unequivocally that a meteor impact — from an asteroid, or, some say, a comet — most likely killed the dinosaurs, and that the die-off happened quickly, not gradually, as some researchers believe."

That quickly was perhaps 100s of thousands of years according to Dr. Brusatte, a paleontologist. "It was abrupt."

Quickly? Abrupt? I know we like to philosophize about time, geologic time being time outside the bottle, too long to grasp. But really its not. You can put it in perspective very easily too. Roman Emperors were ruling Europe 2000 years years. They are all dead now, their civilization a few stone buildings littered about western Europe and North Africa. That ruin happened in a few hundred years. A whole society born, evolved, matured, died in about 700 years. From language to settlement, from birth to death. 

200,000 years is a long, long, long time. The earth spun around the sun 200,000 times while the dinosaurs died out. 

So it took the dines 10s of thousands if not 100s of thousands of years to die from the single meteor event. That's like saying Julius Caesar destroyed the Roman Empire. Forget that the empire collapsed 4-600 years after he died, he is the cause. That's not really accurate.

No. He might have played into it, but there were other causes that destroyed the Empire. Now for the dinosaurs, according to this article, there was much more at play than a rock thumping the earth. Climatic changes were altering the landscape, dinosaurs were becoming highly specialized (its probably what killed the mammoth) and as we all know, in evolution, specialized creatures always lose. It means you can't adapt. If you can't adapt. You die. The earth is not static…meteor or no meteor…its been going through climatic shifts since the sediment begin settling on the surface.

The article is interesting, and almost seems to want to hold on to the KT event, but when they know it probably wasn't what destroyed the dinosaurs. It might have played into it, been a part of a long term trend, but it was an event only.

Doesn't Dr. Who have  time machine?

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