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Re: Looking for patterns in extinctions.
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
Alberta Palaeontological Society
MRC Earth Sciences Society
(who's gonna' haveta' go soon, damn end of the school year!!)