Large amounts of iridium – a chemical element that is not a part of the Earth’s crust composition – were originally found in rocks of Europe and United States, and have been found everywhere ever since. Iridium, common in meteorites, is a testable evidence of the disaster hypothesis. Gould continues that the Cretaceous debacle, which is one of five episodes of mass dying, occurred at the same time as the large comet might have smashed into the Earth. The author believes this is not merely a coincidence, rather, it is a proof of the cause-effect relationship. The demise of a wide range of habitats along with the extinction of dinosaurs gives an inestimable advantage to the disaster theory over other claims, the author adds. The comet struck the Earth, and habitats, from terrestrial to marine, died with geological suddenness. Finally, this hypothesis has had an impact on the study of an atomic war and its consequences. A nuclear war, Gould says, may cause a huge drop in temperatures and result in the extinction of humanity. Testable evidence, study, development, contribution – all this makes good science.
Dinosaurs ruled the earth for over 65 million years and thankfully for the human race, they became extinct. Ultimately, only a major catastrophe could completely wipe out an entire species, let alone an entity of dinosaurs and the debacle on the causes of dinosaur extinction have flooded the minds of paleontologists for centuries. Geologist and zoologist Stephen Jay Gould published “Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs,” to compare scientific and speculative causes of dinosaur decimation. Personally, I found this passage very informational and enjoyed reading it. Gould provides three theories that capture the reader’s curiosity, allowing room for pondering in one’s mind.
It is difficult to envision that one of the greatest impact craters on Earth that measures up to 180km wide and 900m deep could just vanish just from sight. There have been many different dinosaur extinction theories offered in the recent decades. These range from poisonous plants to mass suicide by dinosaur herds. Although one concept as to how the dinosaurs became extinct has gained a wide acceptance since the 1980’s, involving a major earth impact by a meteor or comet (Icr.org, 2014). This horrific catastrophic event is thought to have extinguished up to two thirds of all animal and plant species, leaving behind a large crater found in Chicxulub, Mexico (LiveScience.com, 2014).
He narrowed his hunt down to a location in Denmark, where he had sent a colleague to perform an iridium analysis test at ("Asteroids and Dinosaurs: Unexpected Twists and an Unfinished Story," n.d.). When the results came back, Alvarez knew that whatever happened had not been a small-scale disaster. Once again, Alvarez was back to asking questions. What caused the increased iridium levels at the KT boundary? Except this time, he realized that his observations supported the ten year old hypothesis that had been proposed by paleontologist Dale Russell and physicist Wallace Tucker ("Asteroids and Dinosaurs: Unexpected Twists and an Unfinished Story," n.d.). They brought up the possibility of a supernova being the cause of dinosaur extinction. Supernovas are known to release high amounts of iridium, so such a hypothesis fit perfectly with Alvarez’s team’s discovery. However, the hope of having found a conclusion was short-lived. Luis Alvarez had mentioned that if said supernova had occurred that it would have released amounts of plutonium which would have been found alongside the iridium; no plutonium was found at either site. After more digging, the team came up with a new hypothesis ("Asteroids and Dinosaurs: Unexpected Twists and an Unfinished Story," n.d.). Perhaps an asteroid had struck Earth towards the end of the Cretaceous period, blowing enough dust into the atmosphere to
Stephen Gould’s essay “Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of the Dinosaurs” completely agrees with Joseph Williams and Gregory Colomb’s essay “Argument, Critical Thinking, and Rationality.” Gould’s essay deals with three theories for the extinction of the dinosaurs, two of which he argues are entirely invalid because they are not in accordance with the basic rules of argument laid out by Williams and Colomb in their essay. Gould also states that the third theory of dinosaur extinction, natural disaster, follows all the rules that Williams and Colomb espouse, and thus is a sound argument. Gould, Williams, and Colomb all state that the world has a problem with irrational arguments being shoved down people’s throats, and call for a
In Stephen Jay Gould’s “Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs”, Gould investigates three possible theories hypothesizing the reason behind the extinction of dinosaurs. The first theory suggests that dinosaurs became extinct due to a rise in temperature, which caused sperm to die, leading to the sterilization of male dinosaurs. The second hypothesis offer that many dinosaurs consumed bitter plants that contained psychoactive agents which their lives could not detoxify out of their systems. The last speculation about the dinosaur’s extinction is that a large cloud of dust formed in the atmosphere after an asteroid hit Earth’s surface. This dust cloud blocked out the sunlight, causing temperatures to drop and made photosynthesis impossible. Gould uses these three theories to lead to his central claim that science isn’t just about making fascinating claims, but should have a well developed hypothesis.
Although Martin is correct in his observation that humans have a direct impact on extinction, he cannot refute the fact that meteors can cause extinction. His argument in regards to dinosaur extinction was flawed. Martin argues that every child in the first grade knows that dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago. However, there is no evidence that there were humans on this Earth when dinosaurs existed so his whole argument becomes null. He cites factual inaccuracies in this
This researcher proposes that the dinosaurs did not die of heat, in fact she thinks the opposite, that they froze to death instead. Both articles have the same idea about a meteorite hitting the earth yet there is no concrete evidence as to what caused the meteorite to strike and what it did when it got here.
Nobody can really say what actually eliminated the species, although everyone has their very own idea. Asteroid impact, atmospheric changes (hot to cold), catastrophic eruptions and astronomical events (supernovas etc.). Some have ventured that early mammal inhabitation slowly “pushed” the dinosaurs to extinction. The most favored theory in the scientific field is that of the meteor impact. As always though, knowing when is part of discovering how and why.
Since the 1980s the most popular theory for why dinosaurs became extinct was because of a meteor, but many people are skeptical of whether or not the meteor was the only factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs. In Stephen Brusatte’s “What Killed the Dinosaurs,” Dr. Brusatte talks about how the mystery of the extinction of the dinosaurs was a hug influence on his life and caused him to become what he is today. As a teenager Brusatte had a chance to talk to Walter Alvarez, the man who proposed the idea of a meteor being the cause for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Alvarez was able to come up with this hypothesis by examining the clay band between the Cretaceous period and the Paleogene period. The Cretaceous period was a time when the Earth had a surplus amount of dinosaurs and the Paleogene period was the time period directly after the Cretaceous period where dinosaurs had become extinct. When Alvarez studied the clay band he had discovered that the band was saturated in iridium which is an element common on meteors and asteroids. This led him to believe that a meteor may have led to the downfall of the dinosaurs.
The impact hypothesis which is the asteroid discovered by the physicist luiz Alvarez played a role in causing the cretaceous mass extinction It was supported through evidence these facts are:
Gerta Keller, professor of geosciences at Princeton University, has recently conducted research on the Chicxulub asteroid in which she analyzed new core samples taken from the asteroid site (Botzer 2004). These samples indicate that the impact that occurred at Chicxulub actually predated the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, which occurred at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary about sixty-five million years ago. Keller claims that the Chicxulub impact occurred approximately 300,000 years before the extinction (Keller 2004). Although previous researchers estimated that the Chicxulub asteroid was the cause of the extinctions, there had always been doubts about the exact age and size of the crater, and about the origin of the “mega tsunami deposits” that were located within the crater (Keller 2004). The focus of Keller’s recent research was on finding some answers to these questions. To do so she analyzed Cretaceous limestone, dolomite, and anhydrite deposits as the site of the Chicxulub crater (Keller 2004).
This final blow would have sent earth into a nuclear winter. According to this theory, dust caused by the asteroid collision disrupted plant growth by blocking out the sunlight needed for photosynthesis for nearly a year. A chain reaction occurred as plants died off, so did the herbivores relying on the plants, and then the carnivores that relied on the herbivores. Around 75% of species became extinct, including dinosaurs, mammals, giant marine lizards, fish, birds, and insects. Meanwhile, seawater flooded around 40% of the world’s continents ("Mass Extinctions").
They say as mammals continued to evolve, they drove the dinosaurs into extinction (“What Killed the Dinosaurs”). “Not only did mammals likely compete with dinosaurs for resources, many species survived the end-Cretaceous extinction and subsequently came to dominate Earth.” (“What Killed the Dinosaurs?”). This is primarily because the early mammals were a lot smaller than the mammals that exist today. “Some of the world's earliest mammals were the multituberculates, a group of small rodent like animals that first emerged on Earth about 165 million years ago.” (Welsh, Jennifer). Scientists predict that any mass extinction event that caused animals to go extinct affected larger animals than it did the smaller animals, such as mammals ("Dinosaurs Became Extinct 'due to Laying Eggs'"). Mammals remained small for almost 100 million years, while they out competed small and baby dinosaurs for food, shelter and resources until they were extinct. Once the dinosaurs were out of the way mammals were able to evolve and grow large in size like the mammals that exist today today (LiveScience). Fossil evidence sheds some light on this theory as well. Fossils of mammals believed to date back to about eighty five million years ago show that mammals began to change rapidly and grow. “This matches up with other mammal groups, including recently discovered species from the Late Cretaceous (between 100 million and 65 million years ago) showing highly specialized