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The Bolide




If we do not look closely at the extinctions of all the life forms at the
K/T boundary we are spittin' into the wind. The ammonites and other
cephalopods, along with a "butt load" of other invertebrates, also left us
some clues with their depature. I doubt any parasite or pathogenic factor
cited for dinosaurs can be applied to these creatures unless it was a
planet-wide bug that was highly selective. 

W:
You mean highly unselective, don't you?  One of the most valid points that
can be made about infectious diseases is that they are selective in what
hosts they attack and how they attack them.  One mode of attack works
for Victim A but Victim B may not even have the same systems as A and
the bug have to find a different means of attack or not attack at all.  

I find the idea that the invertebrate groups that lost it were probably done
in by physical and ecological factors much much much much mre
plausible than the scenario of disease. Such factors would have included
potential major pH shifts as a consequence of acid rain wiping out forms
that required a stenoacidic environment for any critical life cycle point,
any affect upon prey species would be passed up the trophic levels.

I think when the factors are considered, The Bolide (note caps) and the
sequelae are enough.  

RS:
 Did the rotting corpses of
billions of dinosaurs poison the oceans? I sortta doubt it, but it's
impossible to rule out.

W:
Any poisoning of the oceans by the rotting flesh of land animals
percolating through the soil, degraded by microbes, etc, would be
inconsequential compared with the effects of the impact.  Add to that the
idea that such a chemical influx would be of nutrients and not poisons.
The oceans should have bloomed with phytoplankton... ceteris parabis, of
course, or maybe not. Even at this level, the extinction of some bigtime
players would mean just about nothing because the former bit-players
become big starts in almost nothing flat.  Any evidence of this from the
sediments of the time?

RS:
I've been hesitant to suggest that aside from the energetic effects of a
bolide it might have brought something else along with it, or mutated
something already here. What the "something" might be, I have no idea.
Since we have very little chance of finding a clue, time being the bitch
she is, we have to either have a leap of faith or find the smoking gun. The
rhino virus may have never existed before the Chixychubby whack. How
would
one prove it one way or another?

W:
Probably couldn't prove it. But I really doubt that the impact caused
mutations like radioactivity in a Japanese monster movie.  I do not doubt
that it created environmental changes that opened things up for
heretofore minor groups (like mammals and "birds").

RS:
  An alien spore of a new strain of fungus
may have been a dormant passenger that was totally new, then, and
selectively poisonous to some species while harmless to others. Whether
such a pathgenic microrganism could survive the trip, again, who knows.
I
think it might be more likely than such an impact would alter a preexisteng
organism. I have no clue as to the likelyhood of such a mutation, just a
thought.

W:
Sounds like a Fred Hoyle scenario.  No evidence.  Except maybe
nanobacteria from Mars???

(Snip)

RS:
 I must agree with George O. that this whole thread is becoming a tad
tiresome, but I can understand the interest. Afterall, we would all like to
know exactly what happened to end the dinosaurs long age of
domination.


W:
Well, maybe.  

Wiwaxia