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Re: Looking for patterns in extinctions.
I believe that a singular event, such as an impact will have strong initial
effects that may have lingering consequences that could alter evolutionary
events for several million years. This is an example of the butterfly effect
- the change in original conditions having profound effects down the road. It
might well have a strong ripple effect if the production of algae and grasses
at teh bottom of the food chain were interupted for even a single season.
This could put enormous pressure on grazers rippling through predators, even
effecting the bacteria feeding on the carcasses which might have had an
increase at teh time of the event and dramatic decline afterwards. As the
consequences rippled throughout the bioshpere, it would be reasonable to
asume that you would still see changes many years post event.
Just because the event is instantaneous and potentially catacysmic doesn't
mean that the effects must necesarily be of the same time scale. One only
needs to look at how a forest fire, such as the one at yellowstone several
years ago will alter the local ecosystems for a century or more.
This isn't just bang your all dead.