“Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs” is written by Stephen Jay Gould, professor of geology and zoology at Harvard. This essay is one of more than a hundred articles on evolution, zoology, and paleontology published by Gould in national magazines and journals. It tells about scientific proposals for the extinction of dinosaurs – a confusing but an exciting problem that humanity tries to solve. By analyzing and describing each of the claims for the reptiles’ demise – sex, drugs, and disasters – Gould differentiates bad science from good science and explains what makes some theories silly speculations, while the other, a testable hypothesis.
Any hypothesis, Gould says, begins with the collection of facts. In this early stage of a theory development bad science leads nowhere, since it contains either little or contradicting evidence. On the other hand, Gould suggests, testable proposals are accepted temporarily, furthermore, new collected facts confirm a hypothesis. That is how good science works. It is self-correcting and self-developing with the flow of time: new information improves a good theory and makes it more precise. Finally, good hypotheses create logical relations to other subjects and contribute to their expansion.
The disaster theory, Gould claims, is an example of good science. It has testable evidence and has an impact on studies in other fields of science, it develops further and explains why the extinction of dinosaurs occurred simultaneously with other events. This theory suggests that a large comet hit the Earth sixty five million years ago, causing the cloud of dust to rise into the sky and to block sunlight. As a result, world temperatures went down significantly, the ice age bega...
... middle of paper ...
...r optimum temperatures, hot climate caused the dinosaurs to heat up beyond their optimum. However, the heat didn’t kill them, but sterilized the males, because their testes functioned at certain temperatures. Gould argues that this theory is untestable, and the experiments with the influence of extreme temperatures on modern alligators do not necessarily explain the extinction of dinosaurs. Furthermore, many questions are not answered because of the absence of evidence. Gould states that this theory is another example of bad science.
Sex, drugs, and disasters are both popular topics that grab public attention and scientific theories of the extinction of dinosaurs. While sex and drug hypotheses represent silly speculations, the disaster claim is good science: it provides testable evidence, has an impact on other scientific fields, and generates continuous research.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The prominent theory is that dinosaurs died in a fiery death due to an asteroid crash on Earth, but is that really what caused their mass extinction. Every scientist has a theory, and with so many out there it was hard to just pick one, they all made sense. It is completely possible for a volcano to have killed the dinosaurs, or even an asteroid. Another popular theory was the ice age. These were all plausible reasons for the extinction of dinosaurs, and that’s when the combination theory was discovered.... [tags: Dinosaur, Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event]
1735 words (5 pages)
- Rapid climate change also ends up on the suspect list of possible dinosaur extinction events. During the latter part of the Cretaceous Period continents broke up causing volcanoes to erupt and fill the sky with gas and ash resulting in a drastic climate change (“Dinosaurs Climate Change and Biodiversity”). The shifting of continents changed the Earth’s landscape, altering weather patterns and overall climate (“Dinosaur Extinction Theories”). Also, over a long period of time, climate gradually changed.... [tags: asteroid, climate change, food]
1734 words (5 pages)
- Extinction of Dinosaurs Many different theories exist as to why the dinosaurs went extinct. We know for sure most dinosaurs died out around 65 million years ago. The majority of scientists agree on a number of theories as to what brought the end of the dinosaurs. The most popular theory is that an asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs. Another theory, massive climate change in the pre-historic atmosphere, caused all the dinosaurs to die. Some scientists believe that mammals out competed dinosaurs for food and other resources.... [tags: asteroid, shock wave, crater]
1255 words (3.6 pages)
- How dinosaurs went extinct. Seeing as how people always have their eye on the future it’s hard to know our past, for an example with dinosaurs. What exactly happened to them is a mystery; we know that they are extinct but how exactly. There are many types of theories out there like the Asteroid Impact theory, the possibility of the climate changing, and the thought out volcano eruption idea but which of these is accurate. There is more proof to support the impact theory overall and is highly considered to be more accurate among most scientists.... [tags: Dinosaur, Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event]
1398 words (4 pages)
- Cretaceous Extinction Event Causes, Evidence, and Effects on Biodiversity The most significant event of the Cretaceous era came at its end. Nearly 65 million years ago, the second most severe mass extinction in earth’s history occurred. This resulted in the loss of around 80% of species living at the time. Though nowhere near as severe as the end-Permian mass extinction, the end-Cretaceous extinction is the most well known mass extinction event. This is due to the violent event that caused it the extinction, as well as the chapter of earth’s history that it closed: the Dinosaurs.... [tags: mass extinction, dinosaur, asteriord]
1325 words (3.8 pages)
- Theories of the Extinctions of the Dionsaurs: Dinosaurs became extincted 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, something so devastating that it altered the course of life on earth. It seems like it happened so sudden, as geologic time goes, that almost all the dinosaurs living on earth disappeared. So how did these dominant creatures just die off. Was it a slow extinction, or did it happen all of the sudden. These questions bring rise to many different beliefs on how the dinosaur disappeared over 65 million years ago.... [tags: essays research papers]
569 words (1.6 pages)
- Theories of the Extinction of the Dinosaurs Controversy surrounds the extinction of the dinosaurs. According to one theory, dinosaurs were slowly driven to extinction by environmental changes linked to the creeping withdrawal of shallow seas from the continents at the end of the dinosaur era. Proponents of this theory propose that dinosaurs dwindled in number and variety over several million years. An opposing theory proposes that the impact of asteroid or comet caused catastrophic destruction of the environment, leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs.... [tags: Papers]
328 words (0.9 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers]
702 words (2 pages)
- The Role of Fungus in the Extinction of Dinosaurs 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.... [tags: Anthropology Essays Paleontology Papers]
1299 words (3.7 pages)
- So what killed the dinosaurs. Without having any background education in science it is hard for the general public to comprehend such matters and they rely on the knowledge of the scientists in this field. Although there has been much research on the subject nobody has come up with a conclusive answer. And we are left to read the countless articles, all having their own opinions as to the mass extinction. One such theory is that a shift in the solar system could have caused the mass destruction.... [tags: Compare Contrast]
1267 words (3.6 pages)