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Dinosaur extinction and reduced diversity (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Stephen L. Brusatte, Richard J. Butler, Paul M. Barrett, Matthew T.
Carrano, David C. Evans, Graeme T. Lloyd, Philip D. Mannion, Mark A.
Norell, Daniel J. Peppe, Paul Upchurch and Thomas E. Williamson (2014)
The extinction of the dinosaurs.
Biological Reviews (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/brv.12128

Non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, geologically
coincident with the impact of a large bolide (comet or asteroid)
during an interval of massive volcanic eruptions and changes in
temperature and sea level. There has long been fervent debate about
how these events affected dinosaurs. We review a wealth of new data
accumulated over the past two decades, provide updated and novel
analyses of long-term dinosaur diversity trends during the latest
Cretaceous, and discuss an emerging consensus on the extinction's
tempo and causes. Little support exists for a global, long-term
decline across non-avian dinosaur diversity prior to their extinction
at the end of the Cretaceous. However, restructuring of latest
Cretaceous dinosaur faunas in North America led to reduced diversity
of large-bodied herbivores, perhaps making communities more
susceptible to cascading extinctions. The abruptness of the dinosaur
extinction suggests a key role for the bolide impact, although the
coarseness of the fossil record makes testing the effects of Deccan
volcanism difficult.

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