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Re: Atomosphere (Last of the Pterosaurs
At 4:05 PM -0600 12/2/00, Steve Brusatte wrote:
>makes sense that the Earth is bleeding off atmosphere, but do we really have
Mesozoic air samples?
Keith Rigby claims that he does, although I don't know exactly what
he has published on it. I interviewed him awhile back, and in my
process of researching I came across some articles (including one in
the Notre Dame Alumni Magazine, I believe) that described Rigby's
research on some amber specimens that had 'Mesozoic air' trapped
inside of them.
That's been around for quite a few years, but it's dubious at best. I
think it was reported at the 1993 GSA Annual meeting. It's not clear
what happens when air is trapped inside amber, but some chemical
reactions are likely, and should change the composition. Remember
that oxygen is inherently very reactive.
Furthermore, I believe that Rigby and Richard Hengst have done
another study on Tyrannosaurus breathing, and much of it was on the
difference between the atmosphere of today and the atmosphere of the
Cretaceous. I know I have the paper lying around somewhere, and
once (if) I find it I'll post the ref.
Part of the theory proposed at the GSA meeting was that the dinosaurs
died from oxygen starvation when oxygen levels dropped.
-- Jeff Hecht