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Sorry, but I forgot to mention this:

Fascinating article in today's (7/30) New York Times about the mass
extinction at the end of the Permian era. 

According to the scientists a huge release of carbonated water from the
ocean's depths may have put so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that
the existing species couldn't survive. This, of course, allowed the dinosaurs
to arise and "take over." Something similar occurred in 1986 in a lake in

Interesting idea. Any comments?