Asteroid extinction theory confirmed according to articles in BBC News and ScienceDaily 4 Mar 2010 and Science Vol. 327, p1214, 5 March 2010.
An international panel of scientists has reviewed the evidence that an enormous asteroid impact was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago and concluded that it was. They looked at evidence from rocks around the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) boundary, which is considered to mark the end of the dinosaur era and the beginning of the age of mammals. The reviewers decided that the presence of iridium-rich rocks and “shocked” quartz in the rocks close the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Joanna Morgan, from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College, one of the reviewers commented: “We now have great confidence that an asteroid was the cause of the KT extinction. This triggered large-scale fires, earthquakes measuring more than 10 on the Richter scale, and continental landslides, which created tsunamis. However, the final nail in the coffin for the dinosaurs happened when blasted material was ejected at high velocity into the atmosphere. This shrouded the planet in darkness and caused a global winter, killing off many species that couldn’t adapt to this hellish environment.”
Gareth Collins, another member of the review panel from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, commented: “Ironically, while this hellish day signalled the end of the 160 million year reign of the dinosaurs, it turned out to be a great day for mammals, who had lived in the shadow of the dinosaurs prior to this event. The KT extinction was a pivotal moment in Earth’s history, which ultimately paved the way for humans to become the dominant species on Earth.”
Editorial Comment: This interpretation of the evidence is based on the belief that difference between Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks represents the passage of time. However, Cretaceous rocks are classified as such because they have particular kinds of dinosaurs in them, e.g. Tyrannosaurs, Triceratops, duckbilled dinosaurs. Tertiary rocks are classified as such because they don’t have dinosaurs, but do have mammals.
If these layers did represent the passage of time then the dinosaurs were already dead when the iridium was deposited. Geologist Derek Ager suggested that the iridium rich layer is the result of the extinction, not the cause. He notes that many Cretaceous rocks are formed from deposits of marine forams (microscopic shells) but if 99% became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous era and this would have “caused a halt in the build up of carbonates and resulted in a long break in deposition that allowed meteoric dust to accumulate.” He also points out the iridium-rich dust can come from volcanoes. (See Derek Ager, The New Catastrophism, Cambridge University Press, 1993, p182)
The asteroid theory does not explain how many other reptiles, such as crocodiles (supposedly older than dinosaurs), along with mammals and other creatures survived the event. It cannot be just their size – dinosaurs came in all sizes, and some were quite small. The idea that dinosaur extinction led to humans dominating the world is totally fanciful. The fact that some animals die may allow already existing animals to flourish, but it won’t make them develop into any other animals or humans.
Evidence News 24 Mar 2010
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