Thursday, April 30, 2009
They took a licking...& kept on ticking
The notion that an asteroid collision directly caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is pretty much accepted by the general public, although, in truth, that theory has always been controversial inside scientific circles.
Personally, I never entirely bought it. Just didn't make sense. While the asteroid impact appears to be a geological fact, there's so much it doesn't explain. Crocodilians, turtles, sharks, and birds continued on as if nothing at all had happened. This was a much more selective mass extinction which, at least to me, has always suggested an already changing climate, possibly combined with some kind of global plague. The same sort of thing is happening every day in the wildlife of our modern world.
Nevertheless, at the calculated date of the killer asteroid, about 65 million years ago, some 70% of all life on Earth suddenly became extinct, including not only the dinosaurs, but also the giant marine reptiles and flying pterosaurs, as well.
Or so we've thought, until now.
Scientists recently analyzed dinosaur bones found in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone in the , and came away with a startling surprise. Based on detailed chemical investigations of the bones, and evidence for the age of the rocks in which they are found, the researchers now suspect that the new fossil evidence suggests that some species of dinosaurs continued to survive, possibly as much as a million years, beyond the date of the deadly asteroid impact.
These creatures were tough.
Ridiculous though it may be, I still hold out hope against all odds that there's some secret steaming unexplored jungle, hidden perhaps in the depths of the Congo or the Peruvian rain forests, where the great Thunder Lizards may still exist. This is a much more romantic notion rather than a scientific one, I'll admit.
But I've always been more of a dreamer, than a scientist.