Hypotheses on the Extinction of Dinosaurs

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Hypotheses on the Extinction of Dinosaurs

In the early nineteen hundreds, dinosaur fossils were discovered and recognized around the globe. Greedy scientists and civilians, searching for their own prize skeleton, rushed to rip bones out of the ground, destroying the fossils as they went. It was not until later in the century that scientists and paleontologists began pondering how such widespread creatures disappeared. Currently, paleontologists debate the two main hypotheses of how the classic dinosaurs died: from volcanic activity or an asteroid impact. Although they result in the same outcome, the volcanic and asteroid hypotheses differ in key elements: the actual event, the environment's stress, and the impact on life.

Physical evidence left behind in each scenario supports each possible explanation for the massive extinction responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs. Scientists that support the volcanic activity hypothesis believe the massive volcanic activity lasted approximately 500,000 years eventually ending dinosaurs reign on earth. The lava flows filled over 480,000 cubic miles, devastating areas over the entire globe. For example, The Decan Trap, a famous site of Cretaceous tectonic activity, is up to 8,000 feet deep, and it averaged between thirty-three and 164 feet deep. Fires raged across the lands. Those that believe in the asteroid impact, on the other hand, project a six mile wide meteorite moved at speeds from 50,000 mph to 150,000 mph and busted into Earth's atmosphere at the end of the Cretaceous Period. The sudden impact near the present day Yucatan Peninsula ejected 5,000 cubic miles of debris into the atmosphere and created an earthquake of magnitude thirteen sending tidal waves, 250 to 300 feet high...

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...sms alike. Conversely, paleontologists backing the asteroid hypothesis guess the massive blast killed nearby animals instantaneously. Creatures on the opposite side of the world, however, were not so lucky. They were forced to dwell in freezing temperatures until vegetation withered. Herbivores quickly starved to death; consequently, carnivores lacked prey. Instead of gradually dying off, dinosaurs perished within one generation. Although the two hypotheses of the great extinction come from opposite occurrences, in the end the event proved fatal.

While paleontologists may never agree on the true cause of dinosaurs' extinction, many people are now speculating mankind's termination. Will mother nature be responsible for our destruction also? Only time will tell. Perhaps in the far future, another species will encounter human remains and search for our match maker.
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