An asteroid killed the dinos?

    Who's on first?

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) Extinction is by far the most popular. It was made popular subsequent to
    the theory that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs. Let's look at this theory and see if it has any merit.

    The influential father and son team of Luis and Walter Alvarez dusted up and managed to usurp
    Max De Laubenfels' old extraterrestrial impact theory and make it theirs. De Laubenfels had already
    proposed that an extraterrestrial impact did away with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, 24 years before
    the Alvarezes. Therefore, the theory published by the Alvarezes was not new. Indeed, Napier and Clube
    published an impact theory titled A theory of terrestrial catastrophism’ in Nature in 1979, a few months
    before the Alvarezes. And even they were upstaged by a t least two researchers a couple of hundred
    years ago. Georges Cuvier, the Father of Paleontology, had already entertained the possibility of
    catastrophies in the 18th Century and Pierre de Maupertuis argued in 1742 that “comets have occasionally
    struck the Earth, causing extinction by altering the atmosphere and oceans.”

    What the Alvarez plagiarizers contributed was evidence in support of De Laubenfels' theory. The evidence
    consisted of an unusually thick layer of iridium that seemingly covered the entire surface of the Earth. Since
    iridium is a more common component of meteors and asteroids, the Alvarezes speculated that De Laubenfels'
    theory might actually have merits. And since in Mathemagix it is evidence rather than rationality which is used
    as a measuring rod, the Alvarezes rather than De Laubenfels got the cigar.

    Later, researchers ore evidence was presented later in the form of a crater that researchers found in Yucatan,
    Mexico. This
    wrapped up the case for the paleo-mathemagicians. THEY were convinced of this truth.

    Fire and Ice

    The Alvarezes did not argue that the impact itself killed the dinosaurs in every corner of the planet. The
    asteroid 'theory' relies on several sequential agents and mechanisms, one contingent upon the other.

    1. First, the asteroid kills the animals in the vicinity of ground zero.

    2. Then, the extremely hot cloud of vapor from the impact expands and kills animals
    in a much larger radius. The shock waves generate landslides all over the planet.
    The quakes trigger walls of water to rise as tsunamis and floods drown the poor
    dinos that are still alive.

    3. The countless pulverized rocks generated by the impact as well as meteor showers
    now rain down on the flying reptiles to ensure that they don't escape the theory. You
    wonder how it is that asteroid theorists reconcile the tsunamis with the fires. You would
    think that the floods would have put out the fires. But the asteroid theorists gloss over
    these trivial details and prod on as if nothing.

    4. Now the debris from the explosion begins to affect the weather. By shear bad luck
    (for the dinos), the asteroid happened to land on a pile of sulfur which now gets blown
    up and combines with the water in the atmosphere. Sulfuric acid pours down as what is
    commonly known as acid rain and selectively wipes out the sea reptiles, the ammonites,
    and the plankton while leaving the sharks and the fish unharmed.

    5. Countless particles from the disintegrated rock explode through the air and begin to
    eclipse the Sun, a cloud of dust that envelopes the planet and prevents the phytoplankton
    as well as the the land plants (whatever remained of them after the first three mechanisms)
    from photosynthesizing. The herbivores that miraculously survived the first four calamities
    now die en masse. Th carnivores follow shortly after.

    6. If all of that wasn't enough to wipe out all life on Earth, the paleo-mathematicians
    throw on top of it the straw that broke the camel's back: an impact winter. The blotting
    of the Sun triggered the temperatures to drop, a glacier age of sorts sets in, and that
    extinguished whatever survived... except of course, the mammals, the angiosperm, the
    birds and the bees and the fishies in the seas, the plants they ate and everything else
    that didn't get burned, drowned or froze. All of these survived for years by eating detritus.

    In a nutshell, that's the mechanism proposed by Alvarez and his followers. One of these deluded individuals
    -- Curtis Peebles -- summarizes in Asteroids: A history the asteroidists' vision of what they think happened...

    The asteroid fanatics brush aside objections and resolve these issues easily. They invent one cause for
    each species and habitat and continue as if nothing. Thus, they avoid answering the question of selectivity.
    But that's just the beginning of their problems. A more fundamental problem is that under the asteroid
    proposal all plants die. Not a single plant remains alive on the planet according to the official theory. This
    is troubling nt because it doesn't explain extinction. It is troubling because not a single plant timeline on the
    Internet shows that all plant life died at the K-T Boundary.

    This Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution

    A 3-year study of fossilized plants, pollen, and other markers tells a radically different story than the one
    the experts tell the masses. It concluded that in the last 50 my of the Cretaceous the flowering plants not
    only did not go extinct, but they in fact displaced all others and took over the land. This was the period in
    which the number of species of tiny mammals scurrying about at the dinosaurs' feet mutiplied. The results
    are synthesized in the chart below titled Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution. We verify that the angiosperms
    (flowering plants) displaced the cycads and the ferns from the global ecological system not only number of
    species, but in the total population of plants. By th end of the Cretaceous the last remaining hadrosaurs and
    ceratopses found very little to eat. Indeed, one study claims that the large herbivores were already in decline
    in the last 12 million years of the period.

    Problems with the asteroid theory

    As all other extinction theories that have been proposed, the problem with the Cuvier/Laubenfels/Alvarez
    theory is that it cannot explain the only thing that a theory of extinction has to explain: selectivity. He who
    does not present a mechanism for how Mother Nature eliminates one species or a class of animals and
    leaves their contemporaries alive has not discovered the mechanism of extinction. It's just that simple!

    And here there is no doubt. The proponents of the asteroid impact have insurmountable barriers when it
    comes to explaining selectivity. The impact fanatic should set aside his evidences, proofs and unjustified
    enthusiasm for a least a minute and try to think for the first time in his life. The alleged impact left many
    species alive, among which we find our very own class of mammals. The survivors also include reptiles
    such as snakes, turtles and crocodiles, not to mention countless angiosperms. What disappeared,
    instead, were the gigantic reptiles such as the aquatic Mosasaurs and the aerial Quetzalcoatlus. How
    does the impact believer explain this bias of Mother Nature? Why didn't the fires that engulfed the Earth
    kill the mammals? Why didn't the sulfuric acid that rained on the oceans wipe out the fish? Why didn't the
    sizzling rocks that fell from the skies clobber the birds?

    More to the point, the asteroid cannot explain chronological selectivity! What died 65 million years ago
    and in ALL mass extinctions were the ancient species, the ones that had been evolving for millions of
    years. The paleo-mathematicians never figured this out. It was the newer species, the recent inventions
    of Mother Nature, that survived. It's got to be a pretty smart asteroid to do that!
Presumably the fires from the falling hot rocks burned everything in sight...
...perhaps even vaporized the waters...
...Or maybe the waters put out the fires...
...and yet water and fire don't mix...
The Cretaceous
145 - 65 mya

    A typical plant time line shows continuity of all orders and families of plants from the
    Cambrian to the present. The one below is merely one example from a popular
    source. However, not a single plant time line on the Internet shows an interruption of
    plant life on Earth!
    Are the asteroidists proposing that God created the plants all over again from scratch?
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The History of Life on Earth

    Throw the dog a bone

    To accommodate the proponents of volcanism after Luis Alvarez trashed Dewey McLean, the impact
    theorists sometimes reluctantly incorporate the acidity of the waters caused by volcanic contamination.
    The asteroidists decided to extend an olive branch to these pitiful dissidents to get them on board. That
    way everyone gets a piece of the action. The asteroid was the decisive factor -- "We won that battle,
    -- ha, ha, ha -- but, what the heck, let's throw the poor volcanists a bone to lick on so that they won't be
    such sore losers."

    It is tentative to conclude that after millions of years, towards the end of the Cretaceous, the large
    herbivores had become specialists in cycads, cycadeoids and ginkgoes. These were the plants they ate.
    The dinosaurs were to the cycads what the mammals would be to the grasses and the mammal-like
    reptiles had been to the seed ferns. It is the food they radiated with which in great measure determined
    their respective physiology. When the cycads disappeared, the dinosaurian herbivores that relied upon
    them vanished with them.

    At least one paleobotanist reasons that the dinosaurs could not have adapted to flowering plants overnight:

    "For most of their history, herbivorous dinosaurs must have consumed ferns and a
    variety of gymnosperms, including conifers. During the Cretaceous, there was a
    rapid change in the Earth's vegetation with the rise and adaptive radiation of the
    angiosperms (flowering plants). Our research suggests that the dinosaurs generally
    failed to make the transition to these "new" food plants..."

    That reasoning is on the money. Animals which have specialized in certain plants after millions of years of
    evolution cannot switch their diets overnight. Another researcher furnishes the closing argument...

    "Whether or not either cycad or palm fronds could have provided sufficient  
     nourishment for these Late Cretaceous dinosaurs is not known, but I know
     of no other plants from ceratopsian-bearing strata that possessed the physical  
     characteristics suggested by ceratopsian dentitions."


Nila and Bill      


Mathematical Physics      
Rope Hypothesis    
Ye Olde You Stupid Relativist

    But the asteroidists don't really need the volcanists. They already have sulfuric acid raining down from
    the skies from the pile of sulfur that the asteroid blasted when it fell. The Deccan Traps are invoked
    partly to justify the gradual disappearance of dino species prior to the asteroid strike and to please the
    volcanists. It's all about consensus and bargaining and politics. None of it has to do with Science.

    That's how the contemporary politics of 'science' works: the truth of a theory is determined through
    consensus. (Somehow, they always forget to send me an invitation to those pow wows.)

    So how do we explain the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution chart with all this thorough killing?

Battle of Mice

Asteroidists won the

'Great' Dinosaur Extinction Debate

"It seems, my friends that while we have been conquering
Darius here, there has been a battle of mice in Arcadia."

 Alexander the Great

(Comment on the Battle of Megalopolis between Alexander's
regent Antipater and Spartan King Agis III.)

The cycads, cycadeoids
and ginkgos were displaced
by the angiosperms
throughout the Cretaceous.
The large herbivores were
also in decline toward the
end of this period.