What Happened to the Dinosaurs?
by Laurence D Smart B.Sc.Agr., Dip.Ed., Grad.Dip.Ed
[Free to print and distribute. Copy must be in full.]
According to scientists, the dinosaurs because extinct at the end of the evolutionary Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago.
There is general agreement among dinosaur experts concerning the date at which they are believed to have disappeared, but there is a great deal of controversy among these experts as to what caused them to disappear.
Contrary to the media reports (radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and documentaries), there is no scientific proof of the cause of the dinosaur's extinction. There are lots of theories based on the analysis of geological evidence that have been evaluated scientifically, but as nobody was there to see the extinction event, ALL theories are only conjecture based on circumstantial evidence.
Honest palaeontologists admit this:-
By 1963, there were around 46 dinosaur extinction theories, and many more have been added since then. Some of the theories postulated are:-
(1) Climate was too cold
(2) Climate was too heat
(3) Summer was too hot and the winter too cold
(4) Climate was too wet
(5) Climate was too dry
(6) They starved to death
(7) They overate to death
(8) Nutritional problems
(9) Plants evolved, providing nutritional imbalance
(10) Plants evolved poisons that dinosaurs were susceptible to
(11) Insects evolved a sting poison that dinosaurs were susceptible to
(12) The drinking water became poisonous
(13) Caterpillars stripped the plants of leaves
(14) The herbivorous dinosaurs changed their eating habits to a less nutritious plants
(15) The carnivorous dinosaurs ate out the herbivorous dinosaurs
(16) A change in the earth's axis
(17) A change in the earth's gravity
(18) A reversal in the earth's magnetic field
(19) A sudden burst of cosmic radiation
(20) A supernova exploded near Earth increasing cosmic radiation
(21) A supernova exploded near Earth destroyed the Ozone layer
(22) Volcanism produced toxic radioactive dust
(23) An over spill of cold brackish water from the Arctic Ocean caused an ecological chain reaction
(24) The land became too hilly
(25) The regression of shallow seas reduced the dinosaur's speciation rate
(26) An increase in atmospheric pressure
(27) A change in the atmosphere's components
(28) A decrease in carbon dioxide
(29) An increase in oxygen
(30) A decrease in oxygen
(31) Tiny mammals ate the dinosaur eggs
(32) Heavy parasite burdens
(33) Slipped discs
(34) Hormonal disorders
(35) Shrinking brains
(36) Chronic constipation
(37) Over specialization
(38) Inability to change
(39) Becoming too large
(41) Hyperactive pituitary glands
(43) Racial senescence (their kind had existed long enough)
(44) Social problems causing malformed bones
(45) Poisonous gases
(46) Volcanic ash
(47) Volcanic gases
(48) Meteorite impact
(49) Comet impact
(50) Sunspot activity
(51) Mass suicide
(52) Dinosaur wars
(53) Cancer caused by neutrino bombardment from dying stars
(55) Hypercanes (super hurricanes)
The following are outlines of three of the most popular theories today.
The extinction of the dinosaurs is just one of the many extinctions that occurred in 26 million year cycles over the past 250 my. These were caused by the periodic disturbance of the Oort cloud by the Sun's twin star, Nemesis. The disturbance of the Oort cloud released numerous comets into the solar system that collided with the earth. (J.J. Sepkoski, in "Global Catastrophes in earth History: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Impacts, Volcanism, and Mass Mortality", (V.L. Sharpton, et al eds.), Special Paper 247, Geological Society of America: Boulder (USA), 1990)
This was a popular theory in the 1980's that gained favour because of the existence of 1cm-10cm thick clay layers that contained an overabundance of the element Iridium. This 30-160 times increase in the Iridium suggests that a meteor impacted with the earth. The collision of a 10-km meteor has been calculated to send 60 times its mass into the stratosphere, causing a cooling that would wipe out 50% of living things, including the dinosaurs. The meteorite theory is also supported by changes in fossil plants, microtektites, shocked quartz, sooty layers, isotope ratios, and the 'smoking gun' structure in Mexico.
Evidence of massive volcanism in Cretaceous rocks indicate a demise of the dinosaurs from extensive volcanic activity. This is further supported by the Iridium layers that could have been laid with volcanic dust from basalt eruptions. The volcanic theory is also supported by shocked quartz, element ratios, changes in clay layers, the survival of the frogs, polar dinosaurs, Cretaceous clay & shale, and the 'smoking gun' structure in Mexico.
Many of these theories are examples of the 'Reinforcement Syndrome'. This syndrome states that - "An hypothesis tends to be supported by further research, when the support really is not there". (M.J. Oard, CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 11, Pt. 2, 1997 p:139)
What about a Worldwide Flood?
A large number of scientists who are Christians, subscribe to the proposition that The Biblical Flood accounts for the mass destruction of the dinosaurs.
Despite the fact that there have been many volcanic eruptions and meteorite collisions in the past, a large worldwide flood carries weight because it explains many other geological features.
(1) Many dinosaurs were buried in obvious marine sediment. (Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Vol. 15, 1995 p:275-297; also Vol. 10, 1990 p:515-517)
(2) Dinosaur fossils can be found associated with thousands of metres of flood sediment. (M.J. Oard, CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 11, Pt. 2, 1997 p:144)
(3) The large dinosaurs would need to have been buried rapidly for their remains to have been fossilized. (W. Glen, in "The Mass-Extinction Debates: How Science Works in a Crisis", Stanford University Press: Stanford (USA), 1994 p:243)
(4) Analysis of charcoal within dinosaur fossil sediments in Colorado & Wyoming have provided evidence for a large regional flood catastrophe. (Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1992 p:6-13; Vol. 33, 1996 p:141-151 & 170-175)
(5) Dinosaur bones are often found in large graveyards where they have obviously been deposited by a cataclysmic flood. (D.E. Fastovsky & D.B. Weishampel, "The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs", Cambridge University Press: London, 1996 p:11; Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 30, 1993 p:997-1006)
(6) Graveyard bones are often disarticulated and piled up, with some standing on their ends. (J.R. Horner and J. Gorman, "Digging Dinosaurs", Workman Pub: New York, 1988 p:122; E.H. Colbert, "Men and Dinosaurs", E.P. Dutton & Co: New York, 1968 p:162)
(7) Dinosaur graveyards often contain only one species. This seems to indicate that fleeing herds were entombed together. (W.P. Coombs, in "The Dinosauria", (D.B. Weishampel, et al eds.), University of California Press: Berkley (USA), 1991 p:33-34; Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 30, 1993 p:997-1006)
(8) Some graveyards have been claimed by palaeontologists to have been caused by sandstorms rather than floods. But, what were the dinosaurs eating in the desert? (Nature, Vol. 374, 1995 p:446-449)
(9) What has been claimed to be a brooding dinosaur has been found fossilized on the nest. (Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 33, 1996 p:631-636; Nature, Vol. 376, 1996 p:764-765)
(10) There is a lack of young juvenile dinosaurs in bone-beds. (M.J. Oard, CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 11, Pt. 2, 1997 p:143-144)
(11) There are few sites where the dinosaur fossils are at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary (ie the end of the Cretaceous period). There are only 20 locations in the whole world where the fossils are even close to the boundary. (D.E. Fastovsky & D.B. Weishampel, "The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs", Cambridge University Press: London, 1996 p:391)
(12) Most dinosaur fossils are not found near the Iridium layers. (M.J. Oard, CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 11, Pt. 2, 1997 p:144, 149)
(13) Undulates have been found below the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. (Science, Vol. 232, 1986 p:629-633)
(14) There is "no statistical support for the sudden extinction of dinosaurs" (M.J. Oard, CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 11, Pt. 2, 1997 p:141) (see also Geology, Vol. 23, 1995 p:881-884).
SOURCE: CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 11, Pt. 2, 1997 p:137-154