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Re: Looking for patterns in extinctions.

    Hi all,
        Sorry for this frivilous and probably useless post, but I 
just can't seem to keep my mouth shut:-).

        Something that seems apparent to me is that if the dinosaurs 
did die out gradually, over the span of millions of years, then 
shouldn't we see evolution and diversification of mammals to fill the 
niches that the dinosaurs were dropping away from? In other words, as 
we start seeing dinosaur populations decreasing, shouldn't we start 
finding larger and more specialized mammals mixed in with them? 

        I don't really buy a gradualist approach to dinosaur 
extinction. Sure there was stuff going on that impacted in their 
populations... But if it was very gradual (eg: disease), then why is 
there a breaking point when everything just dropped dead? Dinosaurs 
should have just slowly dwindled off into nothingness with mammals 
filling their niches just as gradually. Of course this bars any 
actual evolution of dinosaurs to cope with the cause of their 
distress. And why would dinosaurs survive at least one prior plague 
(end of the Jurassic according to Bakker) and not another. You're 
probably all thinking now how I'm totaly twisting and misenterpreting 
evidence from the real world, so I'll just shut up now:-).

        BTW, what is it with some palaeontologists that they seem to 
have such a disdain for the work of of other scientists in other 
disciplines? The way some of them(us/whatever) talk about physicists, 
astronomers, and geophysicists almost disgusts me. Heaven knows I'm 
no mathimatician (dropped physics and failed calculus once already, 
better luck next semmester:-)), but that doesn't make me feel that 
their work is any less valid. To get a complete picture of our 
universe, we're all going to have to work together, regardless of 
professional hang-ups.

Cory Gross
Alberta Palaeontological Society
MRC Earth Sciences Society
(who's gonna' haveta' go soon, damn end of the school year!!)