The debate over what ultimately killed off the dinosaurs is an area of great interest to not only scientists, but everyone. The dominant thought seems to be that an asteroid struck the earth at the end of the Cretaceous period and killed off much of the fauna and flora inhabiting the earth. However, the sequence of events following that mass extinction has been fairly blurry until a recent discovery, published in a recent issue of Science, by paleontologists Vivi Vajda and Stephen McLoughlin. These discoveries have revealed that during a period from anywhere between a few months and a couple of years after the asteroid stuck earth, fungus served as the dominant flora across the globe (Vajda). This point is reiterated in a news report published by the Swedish Research Council (SRC) soon after. In this essay, I will analyze the credibility of the research performed by the two paleontologists, the accuracy of the media article in conveying the Journal’s message, and I will provide some of my own thoughts as to how believable I interpret this account of what actually happened to the dinosaurs and floral life after the impact to be.
Paleontologists Vivi Vajda, from Lund University, Sweden and Stephen McLoughlin, from Queensland University of Technology, Australia, recently finished research in New Zealand regarding the significant rapid decrease in the diversity of plant species during the brief period following the asteroid’s collision with earth. In their research, Vajda and McLoughlin examined a 10 cm thick layer of coal, known as the K-T Boundary, which represents the time period when the Cretaceous era ended and the Tertiary began. In this thick coal layer of earth,...
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...actly when the impact of the asteroid occurred, how much damage it truly did, and how long the period of atmospheric darkness lasted, I believe that there is enough positive data to persuade even the most skeptical audience. This recent discovery of the flourishing fungi during a period when larger plants died is just another stepping stone in solving the mystery of what truly happened to the dinosaurs for good. I believe this research is, overall, very credible and establishes a reliable theory of what exactly happened to the dinosaurs and what life was like during the period following their demise.
Vajda, Vivi; McLoughlin, Stephen. “Fungal Proliferation at the End of the Cretaceous-
Tertiary Boundary.” Science. Volume 303, Issue 5663, March 5, 2004.
No author given. “A World Ruled By Fungi.” Swedish Research Council. March 8, 2004.
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