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Re: non-extinction



>What about the vertebrates that made it through? did they really sail
>right on by whatever happened as implied?  Or did they scrape by by the
>skin on their teeth like the nannos did?

Stephen Gould's book about the Burgess shale (Wonderful Life) contains a
fantastic commentary on the nature of extinction.  He likens an extinction
event to an evolutionary lottery, where little more than blind luck
determins whether a species survives or not.  IMHO, I think that Mike's
last suggestion is the most sound.  ASSUMING that the K-T extinction was
really catastrophic (as I like to believe) than life would've been almost
impossible for, probably, every species.

I suppose that the smaller, land living exotherms may have had a better
chance of survival because their metabolisms require so much less energy
(and any endotherm would've had an impossible time because of their energy
needs); but to say that those that survived, did so unnaffected, would be a
gross error.  What really needs to be done, is an extensive combing of late
K and early T sediments to attempt to get an idea of what the life
assemblage was at those times.  I know that any result will probably have
margins of error that would be off the scale :-), but I sense that this
would be the most effective way of determining how severe life was at those
times.  Good luck to anyone who tries this.

Rob.


GEOLOGISTS ARE FUN TO BE WITH BECAUSE THEY'RE VERY GNIESS