New evidence suggests the reign of the dinosaurs ended not with a whimper, but with a bang. Already, previous geological evidence of an apocalyptic meteor impact in what is now Mexico had led some paleontologists to believe in a massive extinction event. Now, the discovery of fossilized dinosaurs and eggshells in northeastern Russia supports the theory of a rapid extinction some 66 million years ago.
The shells are the first found at such a northerly latitude. The rich biodiversity of these fossils, which indicates that the dinosaurs weren't just visiting but lived in the locale, refutes the competing theory of gradual decline from a variety of factors such as loss of habitat, introduction of predators, and appearance of disease -- similar to the circumstances of many amphibians today. This lack of evidence for a long, slow decline is, according to the theory, a positive sign that there was, instead of a decline, a swift extinction.
But it's hardly conclusive. The odd geographical position of the site makes the fossil find fertile ground for argument on both sides of the rapid extinction debate. Accustomed to living at an average temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, these cold-resistant species would have fared considerably better than tropical dinosaurs if a meteor strike initiated global cooling, for instance; so the rapid extinction theory does not provide a full accounting for their disappearance.
Despite remaining mysteries, this surprising discovery of cold-dwelling dinosaurs who were not just surviving, but flourishing soon before a potential doomsday-meteor impact is making many paleontologists rethink the world of 66 million years ago.
Could the extinction of the dinosaur be a result of a coronal event? Unlike prey which hides, and would possibly be less vuenerable to such an event, the dinosaur was right out there exposed to radiation. Another result of such an event would be a loss of vegetation, which could have caused them to starve world wide. Maybee??
This is also significant evidence for a completely different theory involving a flood. The flood was theoretically caused by the falling of a layer of water that had previously been trapped in the atmosphere and the bursting of underground water reservoirs. The flood which is a rapid extinction theory would have wiped out all land life out very quick, everywhere over the globe. The layer of water in the atmosphere previously mentioned would have increased pressure, humidity, temperature, filtered sunlight and would have made for overall better conditions here on Earth. This would have caused the dinosaurs to be thriving at the time of extinction. It would have also allowed hot climate animals to live in very, very northerly environments, which would explain the fossils locations.
Recently they've been talking about the massive release of volcanic material an area called the Siberian Traps being part of the culprit to the downfall of the dinosaurs. This would probably explain the even talked about in the article. The even was so massive that it supposedly released a large amount of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere. I don't know if they're related, but I wonder if the meteor strike could disrupt the earths plates enough to cause a large rupture on the other side of the planet?
Re: "average temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit"
Where does this number come from? With CO2 levels 10 times the current levels should the temperature not have been much higher? Or could the IPCC possibly be wrong.
I have asked Mr. Noble to question Dr. Keller that very question via the NY Times. However, the traps in question are in India (the Deccan Traps) which are opposite Yucatan and erupted some time after the impact leading to the K/T event. I have not read anything about it since.
The Siberian Traps are tied to the Bedout crater in Antarctica (again opposite side of the earth at the time) but that was the larger P/T or End Permian extinction (before dinosaurs evolved).
As you all point out above, many events could potentially have lead to a rapid extinction of dinosaurs. Although exact catastrophe is still unknown, many scientists favor the Yucatan impact as the instigator of rapid extinction, potential indirectly by, say, increasing volcanic activity and altering temperature. In any case, these new findings are pertinent because this is still a healthy area of research with many remaining mysteries.
As for the temperature (average of 50 F), the reporting scientists used thirty one characteristics of the many leaf-fossils found at the same site (Kakanaut, Russia) to determine seasonal temperatures and precipitation. The cold month temperatures they predict would have been between 32 and 42 degrees. As for disagreement with the IPCC, I cannot really speak to that figure, save to say that the cold months would have been above freezing quite close to the North Pole, according to this study.