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Re: Siberian Traps

Ken Carpenter wrote, quoting "Frank"

>Bottom line is, --Killers from Space-- are very sexy, and other mechanisms
>such as climate change and evolutionary drift, working on geological time
>frames and principles, are not.
>Americans, at least, don't like slow, subtle processes. They like
>glamorous, fast, easy kill mechanisms. What better than asteroids that
>strike like the Swift Sword of Death from above?

I don't know if this is supposed to be facetious, or if "Frank" is honestly 
speaking the truth.  If it is the latter, this is a pretty serious claim that, 
truthfully, I believe to be quite absurd.  

I'm not disputing that Americans like glamorous, sexy things.  But, saying that 
extraterrestrially-rooted mass extinctions aren't conceived in data, but rather 
by some sort of cultural subconscious doesn't seem to really fit the facts.  
Geologists and paleontologists such as Jan Smit, Alan Hildebrand, and Antonio 
Camargo, all instrumental in the mass extinction debates and all scientists who 
collected and published data supporting catastrophic mass extinctions, are not 
American.  So, do  geologists across the world ascribe to a sort of Hollywood 
pseudoscience based in glamour and not data?

It seems as if "Frank" is calling for a return to uniformitarianism, when the 
data (ever hear of Chicxulub?) and hundreds of years of research have shown 
this overarching position to be faulty.  It isn't culture keeping hypotheses 
like continental drift and climate change down when it comes to the P-T and K-T 
events.  It is data.  

I'm not sure of the specifics when it comes to Chatterjee's research, and other 
claims of a linkage between the Siberian traps and an asteroid impact at the 
end of the Permian.  This data might very well be faulty.  But, then again, so 
are many of the previous hypotheses regarding the P-T event that focused on 
million-year climate change.  We may never know which (gradual vs. 
catastrophic) is indeed the correct answer here, but to say that American 
culture is the only reason catastrophic hypotheses are being forwarded is 
incorrect.  Talk to Pete Ward and his colleagues about that.


Stephen Brusatte
Geophysical Sciences
University of Chicago
Dino Land Paleontology-http://www.geocities.com/stegob

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