Summary The extinction of the dinosaurs has been debated for nearly a century, but most popular theories currently in vogue are relatively recent proposals. At the top of the list we have Alvarez's asteroid-impact winter theory, which most people outside of Paleontology and perhaps a plurality of paleontologists believe. Raup reinforces this theory by pointing out that extinctions seem to be periodic. Dewey and Keller suggest that volcanic activity could have just as well done the dinosaurs in over a period of a million years, and that no extraterrestrial agents need be invoked. They argue that the volcano theory is more consistent with the record. Lesser dino extinction theories include the ever popular climate and disease theories, egg predation, and supernova. Bakker has blended the first two into a mechanism he believes accounts for the disappearance of his favorite animals. Egg predation and extraterrestrial causes deserve very little analysis beyond what is already in the popular literature. The result is that a lot of the funds of Paleontology are being diverted to the investigation of this phenomenon. The question we must answer is whether we will become extinct before the paleontologists solve the riddle. Because extinction theories are accused of being tailored to specific cases, the proponents of catastrophic extraterrestrial took their reasoning to a new (and predictable) plateau. The new paradigm is that all extinctions were due to extraterrestrial impacts. It won't take long for this blood to reach the main- stream, and it is just a question of time before everyone will be talking about the same red river. To peddle ET theories, Paleontology enlisted a most trusted ally -- Astronomy -- and this is how the mathematicians got their foot in the door and became part time paleontologists. The mathematicians are flattered, and now we have more funds being diverted to this obviously lunatic venture. Extinction has slowly slipped away from the hands of the people who went to college to study this subject, and it is now the mathematical physicists who babble about dinosaurs. Of course, if Man had been around in the Cretaceous, there would never have been an asteroid theory. All recent extinctions are blamed on us. The older extinctions are due to comets. So what are the anthropologists, paleontologists, and mathematical physicists still investigating if we know everything? The only reason people still entertain the 'impact winter' theory is that we cannot 'prove' what happened so long ago. Like with their counterparts of Anthropology, the paleontologists will continue to believe their pet theories irrespective of the amount of evidence produced. As happens always when theories outlive their natural life span, the proponents have to invent ever more fantastic mechanisms to account for unexplained phenomena. The question all extinction theories alive today have trouble answering is selectivity. How did the tiny animals get away with it? How did the asteroid manage to kill T-Rex and Triceratops and leave the others to multiply? Ergo, the proponent invents a far-fetched mechanism to dispose of the troublesome exception. The reason all theories on the books fail is that they invoke extrinsic agents. Only an intrinsic agent pertinent to all species of plants and animals irrespective of habitat can explain why they periodically go extinct. This agent is aging. Species age as surely as an individual ages. It is the idiotic notion that intraspecific competition oscillates back and forth around the carrying capacity forever that has blind- sided the paleontologists to the real causes of extinction.
An asteroid impact did NOT cause the extinction of the dinosaurs!