The chapter of life which saw the rise of the dinosaurs is one of the most fascinating periods in our earth’s history. It is often the subject which brings about young children’s first exposure to science. When these children learn about these intriguing prehistoric beasts, one of their primary inquiries concerns the cause of their annihilation. What could have led to the demise of all those creatures, who lived very successfully for millions of years? This question has plagued experts and curious children alike for decades. In the early 1990s, a “smoking gun” was discovered – purported to solve the mystery of how the dinosaurs met their fate. This discovery was the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico. The claim was that this 180 kilometer crater was the impact scar left by an asteroid that collided with the earth. The asteroid was so large and landed with such force that it effectively ended the dinosaurs reign over the earth. However, recent evidence and research reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that this could not have been the case, because the Chicxulab crater predates the mass extinction by roughly 300,000 years. Rather, the evidence suggests that two or more impacts caused the mass extinction experienced by dinosaurs.
Fossil records inform us that the mass extinction occurred 65 million years ago. This landmark coincides with and marks the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. There appeared to be relative consensus among scientific professionals that an asteroid impact caused the mass extinction. According to this theory, “debris from the asteroid’s impact would have superheated the atmosphere so that vegetation burst i...
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...osaur Impact Theory Challenged. Internet: http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3520837.stm
iv Morgan, Jason. Chicxulub Impact Predates the K-T Boundary Mass Extinction. January 20, 2004. Page 9
v Enchanted Learning. Dinosaur Extinction. Location of the Impact Crater.
vi Rincon, Paul. Dinosaur Impact Theory Challenged. Internet: http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3520837.stm
viii Enchanted Learning. Dinosaur Extinction. The K-T Extinction.
ix Highfield, Roger. Dinosaur Extinction Theory ‘A Myth.’ The Telegraph – UK. March 1, 2004. Internet: http://www.rense.com/general49/tho.htm
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