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Book review- Dino Extinction



Oh, I'm 1/2 way done with _The Great Dinosaur Extinction Controversy_
(Charles Officer) and it has quite a wallop.

I'll give a quickie of the main points so far-I'm not trying to start a
"Great Controversy" here on the list...just trying to share what the book
is about:

The book is pretty much a paper trying to discredit the Alvarez theory.
I have not reached the conclusion of the book yet, but the author presents
what I think is a strong argument for non-impact based extinction event.
They are old rehashed arguments; Deccan traps, enviromental changes, the
dinosaurs were already gone anyway, etc. 

I think he made two good points: 1) Large volcanic eruptions like Toba
spewed about 1/2 the esitmated atmospheric debris that the estimated
impact had. There were effects on the world enviroment (temp decreases,
etc.) but no lasting effects and no extinctions at all. Now, figure we are
trying to attribute at least %50 species extinctions to an event only %50
greater, it doesn't add up.
2) The fossil record shows a gradual decrease of fossils found as you go
up in strata. A single event would show a big bone pile just under the
K-T, even if you agree that dinos were on the way out, anyway. As it is it
seems like dinos were gone before the K-T.

I was suprised to see the author trying to discredit Alvarez himself. I
didn't know much about Luis' background, personally. I was suprized to see
that he was part of the Manhattan Project! No wonder he is into impact
theories and induced winters! This guy was on board during the hiroshima
bombing! Pretty much, Luis just sweeps aside geological and paleontolgical
science as poppycock-calling paleos "stamp collectors, not real scientists"!
Officer just stops short of attacking Alvarez's character, and dances on
the line.

So far, I'll report more when I read more. It's worth the $20.

-Sherry