extinction

From the Smithsonian: Top Ten Dino Discoveries of 2020

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It was a good year for dino hunters. The Top Ten are not numbered but #4 from the top is “Dinosaurs Weren’t in Decline When the Asteroid Hit:

If dinosaurs “ruled the Earth” for millions of years, why were they hit so hard by the mass extinction of 66 million years ago? Paleontologists have been puzzling over this question for decades, and, some have suggested, dinosaurs might have already been dying back by time the asteroid struck. But an increasing amount of evidence contracts that view, including a study published this year in Royal Society Open Science. The researchers looked at different evolutionary trees for what dinosaurs were around during the end of the Cretaceous to track whether dinosaurs were dying out, thriving or staying the same. After sifting through the data, the paleontologists didn’t find any sign that dinosaurs were declining before the asteroid strike. In fact, dinosaurs seemed perfectly capable of evolving new species. If the asteroid had missed, the Age of Dinosaurs would have continued for a very long time.

Riley Black, “The Top Ten Dinosaur Discoveries of 2020” at Smithsonian Magazine

Here’s the open access paper arguing the case.

The thing that still puzzles many of us is, if dinosaurs weren’t in decline, why did they all die out?

Here’s one scenario of the asteroid hit that is said to have taken out 100% of dinos:

3 Replies to “From the Smithsonian: Top Ten Dino Discoveries of 2020

  1. 1
    Pearlman says:

    The 1656 anno-mund ‘Mabul impacts year’ aka global flood by Noach, is the clear resolution, as explained in/by the YeC Moshe Emes series volume I Framework for understanding science in max. available context.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    The modern notion of ‘creative destruction’ is just as false for technology as it is for dinosaurs. The carriage industry didn’t die when automobiles replaced it; the carriage industry simply BECAME the auto industry, gradually and smoothly. Dinosaurs didn’t die when mammals replaced them; they just BECAME birds gradually and smoothly. In each case all of the needed genes (skills, purposes) were already present. The genes just switched to making somewhat different structures.

  3. 3
    aarceng says:

    Polistra @ 2,
    Did they all become birds? Why didn’t some become other kinds of creatures?
    But birds were already around before the great extinction. We don’t think of T Rex with a duck flying overhead but that’s what fossils show.

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