And the Winner Is…

If you bet that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant asteroid strike in the Gulf of Mexico and the ensuing global winter — you won!

The theory was advanced years ago but competing theories have gained traction since then that blame the extinctions on volcanic activity or multiple comet impacts. So, explains the LA Times:   

To settle the question, European researchers decided to assemble what Kirk R. Johnson of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science called “a K-T boundary dream team,” a collection of 45 internationally renowned scientists in a broad spectrum of disciplines to analyze the possible causes of the extinctions. Funding came from the National Science Foundation in the United States and from similar groups in other countries.Their conclusions will be published Friday in the journal Science.

“The answer is quite simple,” Johnson, a co-author and spokesman for the group, said in a telephone news conference. “The crater really is the culprit.”

The aftereffects from the impact “shrouded the planet in darkness and caused a global winter, killing off many species that couldn’t adapt to the hellish environment,” co-author and Earth scientist Joanna Morgan of Imperial College London said in a statement.

Omnivores Not to Blame
for Mammoth Extinction?

mammoth hunters

Blame a swarm of comets striking North America 12,900 years ago for the environmental disaster that caused the extinction of mammoths and many other species, say scientists quoted in a CNN report.

“The nanodiamonds that we found at all six locations exist only in sediments associated with the Younger Dryas Boundary layers, not above it or below it,” said University of Oregon archaeologist Douglas Kennett. “These discoveries provide strong evidence for a cosmic impact event at approximately 12,900 years ago that would have had enormous environmental consequences for plants, animals and humans across North America.”

An earlier theory advanced to explain the mass extinction in North America of half of the animal species weighing more than 100 pounds is that when Man migrated over the Bering land bridge, he ate all of them. Not on the very first day, of course.

I don’t know if I’m ready to abandon that theory, either. I find it incredibly easy to believe after a nonstop week of Christmas-to-New-Year’s feasting.