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Re: paleontolgist, dinosaur and also Re: "Wonderful Life" - , repeated.



On Thu, 14 Nov 1996, Mickey P. Rowe wrote:

> Your use of the word "entirely" makes your statement pretty much true,
> but doesn't take away from the fact that it is rather misleading.  The
> extinction pattern was not specifically targeted at the dinosaurs.

If you want to call Archibald's data into question, fine.  If you won't
allow the discussion to relate to terrestrial only, fine.  But if you
accept the terms of the original argument then my statement is not
misleading.  To clarify: Archibald's data are from "the twelve major
monophyletic vertebrate groups...from northeastern Montana..."  Apart
from dinosaurs, only marsupials and lizards suffered greater than 50%
extinction rates (roughly 90% and 75% respectively).  And these are
expected because of replacement and predation by the burgeoning
placentals.  To recap the species tally:  Crocodiles had better than 75%
survival, Turtles close to 90% survival, frogs 'n salamanders 100%,
multis 50%, and, placentals 100%.

> Are the other dinosaurs
> extinct because of their bad genes, or did they just have a bad run of
> luck at the end of the Cretaceous?  Personally I don't think you can
> reasonably act like that question is anywhere near settled.

If anything I am trying to open the question.  Current dogma (I am
astounded to read Fastovsky's notion in Dinos of the East Coast, and
Gould's notion in Wonderful Life, that most people believe the dinos were
killed off because their eggs were eaten--they are, of course, being
disingenuous) emphatically states that they had a bad run of luck.  If I
ask my 12th. graders: What killed the dinos?  The unanimous cry comes
up:  "Sir, it was a random event--a meteor did it."  I am
deprogramming them.

> Making a caricature of the extinction pattern certainly won't help clear the
> issue.

I wish you would quantify this statement as I have done.  In what way am I
caricaturing the pattern.  Remember the original challenge to Stan
Friesen was to match the events with the known data.  It's hard to do
because their _is_ a pattern in the extinctions.