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Re: Hell Creek



What strikes me are the odds. What are the odds of something as unusual as the K/T extinction- one of the largest in the past half-billion years- and another exceptionally unusual, global-scale event, one of the largest known bolide impacts (w/a 200 km crater), occurring simultaneously(as best we can tell) yet independently? That right there is a hard one for me to see any way around. In this instance, I think the close temporal correlation of these extraordinary events is extremely suggestive of causation.
Conversely, the factors cited in the Discover article are neither particularly unusual (transgression/regression of seas occurred all the time) nor global in reach (how would this affect, say, your abelisaurids, titanosaurs, and bizarre possibly herbivorous crocs in end-Cretaceous Madagascar?) Because of this its hard to buy.
Anyways, a deep understanding of why dinosaurs went extinct will probably come from studying microfossils such as plankton and pollen, which preserve well, in large numbers, and with better resolution, rather than dinosaurs (or other vertebrates) themselves. Which seems paradoxical considering that the article has a T. rex on the cover. But then again, kids don't buy Battle Action Cretaceous Foraminifera(tm) -with real missle-firing action!... or line up in droves to see a movie about genetically reincarnated ammonites on the rampage... dinosaurs(in particular those with big, pointy teeth) are sexy, plankton is... scientific. It's really too bad, I mean even the ornithischian people have been finding that its easier to get a grant to study carnivorous dinosaurs (Steven Spielberg never made a movie about an herbivore on the rampage...) than herbivorous dinosaurs.