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RE: Extinction scenarios




On Saturday, August 22, 1998 5:21 PM, Betty Cunningham 
[SMTP:bettyc@flyinggoat.com] wrote:
> this does sound a little extreme.  With much of the large herbiverous
> seed dispersers gone, how do you rehabitat medium and large-sized
> fruiting plants such as roses, berry bushes, dates, and figs (were these
> present both sides of the KT?)  Bird and small mammal action alone?
>
> Some arborial plants such as in rainforests would seem to have NO
> chances of survival if ALL trees are felled.  Orchids are notoriuosly
> fussy about habitats.

A few quick points:

1)  My scenario was not intended to be an accurate depiction of the world 
of KT+15.  I only wanted to illustrate that it is easily possible come up 
with circumstances under which the selectivity of the KT extinction has 
little to do with the immediate events of KT+0, but rather depends on the 
very selective pressures introduced by ecological succession in the range 
KT+1 to KT+~100.

2) I know even less about paleobotany than paleoecology.  However, I think 
rain forests in particular are a more recent development.  The Cretaceous 
landscape was, as I understand it, considerably more open than even 
conventional forest land today.  Working backwards from dinos, this makes 
sense.  Bunches of dinosaurs were bipedal, and the bipedal habit makes the 
most sense in open, dry biomes.

3) A number of our fellows have politely announced that they are bored 
spitless by this conversation.  While I am not, a reasonable degree of 
respect for consensus keeps the list working better, so perhaps any further 
follow-ups from anyone would be best done off-list.

  --Toby White