Wednesday, 24 of May of 2017

Dinosaur Fossils

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Interesting Video About Dinosaur Fossils


Prospecting for Dinosaur Fossils 1

Dinosaur Fossils

How Did The Dinosaurs Become Extinct

The extinction of the dinosaurs occurred during the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 65 million years ago, and caused the loss of up to 70 percent of all life on the planet. Although this event was not the only mass extinction in Earth's history or the most severe, dinosaur extinction has spawned a range of theories from the credible to the less than believable.

Ice Age

If an Ice Age occurred during the Cretaceous Period a considerable amount of the planet's water and large areas of land would have been locked in ice. Since dinosaurs were thought to be cold blooded they would probably not have been able to cope with such extreme conditions and their numbers would have eventually dwindled.

Disease

Disease is another suggestion for the extinction of the dinosaurs. It is difficult to see however how one disease could be so prevalent as to wipe out large swathes of the animal population, travel vast distances and kill off both land and marine species as well as plant life.

Climate Change

If a gradual change in the earth's climate occurred with a cooler, drier environment and an adapting plant life, possibly the dinosaurs would not have been able to adapt quickly enough to survive. The fossil records of dinosaur skulls show they could only have had small brains. This indicates dinosaurs relied on automatic body responses rather than the cognitive, decision making responses warm blooded animals are known to make. Therefore a changing environment could have been difficult for dinosaurs to adapt to and they may not have been able to compete effectively with warm blooded animals.

Supernova

A supernova is a star that explodes with enough energy to keep our sun burning for six billion years. If the Earth was hit by the resulting radiation from a nearby supernova it would have destroyed all dinosaur life. There is no evidence for a supernova causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, and it is difficult to see how anything would have outlived such an event.

The Volcano Theory

It is known that volcanic activity was widespread during the Cretaceous era, and is a credible reason why the dinosaurs became extinct. The Deccan Traps in western India and areas in the Pacific Basin are likely sites for increased volcanic activity at this time.

The consequences of large scale volcanic activity would have led to a nuclear type winter with ash and gasses added to the atmosphere, depleting sunlight and creating difficult conditions for dinosaur species. Hydrochloric acid in particular would have broken down the ozone layer allowing harmful ultraviolet rays to penetrate to the surface.

The high level of volcanic activity would also have emitted large volumes greenhouse gasses such as C02 and methane, increasing the Earth's temperature and drastically changing the planet's climate. The effects on the dinosaurs would have been catastrophic as they struggled to acclimatize to the changing conditions, and large scale extinction of dinosaur species would have been inevitable.

Cretaceous sediments support the theory of volcanic activity as they contain higher than normal concentrations of minerals and sodium, both associated with volcanoes. Cretaceous sediments can also contain volcanic rock.

The Asteroid Theory

In the late 1970's Luis and Walter Alvarez and scientists from the University of California were studying rocks of the K-T boundary (or Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary) in Gubbio, Italy. Within the clay layer of the K-T boundary they discovered concentrations of iridium thirty times higher than normal. The two natural sources of this rare element are asteroids and lava from the Earth's core, which led Luis and Walter Alvarez's team to first suggest an asteroid collided with the Earth causing dinosaur extinction. The Alvarez team estimated the asteroid would need to be ten kilometers in diameter to contain enough iridium to cause the iridium concentrations in the clay layer.

Further evidence to support an asteroid impact has emerged. The K-T boundary has two layers. The upper layer is three millimeters thick and includes soot which is believed to have come from global fires caused by the impact.

The lower level is two millimeters thick and contains ejecta from the asteroid impact site. This includes quartz crystals known as shock crystals which have been physically altered by high temperatures and intense pressure. The layer also contains tektites and micro tektites, which are often made of fused glass.  Shocked crystals and tektites are both closely associated with asteroid impact sites.

In 1990 the scientist Alan Hildebrand, after studying data gathered by geophysicists searching for oil, noticed a ring structure called Chicxulub off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Chicxulub is a crater 180 kilometers in diameter and dates from around 65 million years ago, the same time as the extinction of the dinosaurs. It was estimated that an object ten kilometers in diameter impacting the site would have caused the crater, which fits the Alvarez team's calculations for the size of the asteroid to create the K-T boundary finds.

The Effects Of The Asteroid Impact On The Dinosaurs

It is estimated the speed of the asteroid would have been about 100,000 kilometers per hour and the initial impact would have destroyed everything within a 500 kilometer radius. The intense shock wave that followed would have caused large scale fires, whilst trillions of tons of debris, gas and water vapor would have been thrown into the atmosphere.

Earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions as well as high winds would have followed. The soot and debris in the atmosphere would have blocked out the sun for months leading to fluctuating temperatures and severe disruption to photosynthesis. The global fires would have emitted large volumes of CO2, increasing global temperatures and causing a chain reaction that would create sulphur dioxide falling as acid rain.

Fires would have destroyed up to twenty five percent of all vegetation, and with photosynthesis unable to function effectively plant eating dinosaurs would have starved. This in turn would have led to large scale deaths of the carnivores bringing dinosaurs to extinction. Smaller animals such as scavengers and birds that could have traveled longer distances in search for food would have been more likely to have survived.

Effects On Marine Life

The levels of oxygen in the sea would have decreased as deep sea water was dragged to the surface by huge under water currents. Plankton would have died as a consequence leading to a collapse of the food chain and widespread death. Acid rain may also have increased the acidity of the sea, killing vulnerable species.

Problems With The Asteroid Theory

Whilst an asteroid impact has gained ground over most other theories, there still remain problems with the theory. Paleontologists have yet to find dinosaur fossils dating to the time of the impact, and some evidence suggests dinosaurs may have already been extinct before this event. In fact dinosaurs had been steadily declining for tens of thousands of years before the Chicxulub asteroid impacted.

There have been a number of mass extinction events in the Earth's history and a number of large asteroid impacts. However, these impacts have never been the cause of mass extinctions. It is also known that some climate sensitive species such as frogs survived the cretaceous extinction event, bringing into question the true long term effects of the asteroid on the environment.

In spite of these problems with the asteroid theory it is still the strongest explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Perhaps the answer lies not with one explanation for dinosaur extinction but a combination of factors such as the asteroid impacting at a time of increased volcanic activity. In the final analysis, perhaps the extinction of the dinosaurs was a case of an accumulation of badly timed events that very few species could cope with.

About the Author

How old are dinosaur fossils?

My fellow Christians- if the earth is 6000 years old, how can we also maintain that the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago?

The God I know doesn't deceive anyone. But I have heard a few people explain things that cast doubts on my beliefs. If God created the earth with the dinosaur fossils already embedded in the earth (one contingency), or if the fossils are much younger than they appear to be (another possibility), he may have allowed this to happen in order to test people's faith. Is that synonymous with deception?

Are there serious flaws with radiometric dating techniques?

The flaw in any sort of dating method is the assumptions. When a (secular) scientist discovers a dinosaur bone, he already has the date of the bone in his mind. When he takes the bone in to get dated, any dates that may suggest anything different than he is already convinced of is discarded due to "contamination". There are many dating methods which suggest only thousands of years, rather than millions of billions, but these methods are not mentioned by the "respectable" scientific community.

In the end, it's all about a world-view. If a person has an old-earth worldview, he will interpret all evidence to conform to his worldview. Likewise, if a person has a young-earth worldview, he will interpret all evidence to show a young earth. Evidence itself does not point one direction or the other, it is the interpretation of that evidence.

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Triceratops Dinosaur Archeology Fossil Anatomy T Shirt


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When your digging for dinosaur fossils outdoors, consider wearing this triceratops skull t shirt. Made for the archeologist in all of us, kids and adults, this paleontology focused tee is sure to be a favorite of scientists, professors, teachers, and students. Take a look around a natural history museum, and you'll stumble upon many varieties of dinosaur fossils, but the triceratops stands out fro...


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Wonderful Isle Of Wight Experiences

The island is really jumping, and don't let anyone ever say anything that contradicts this! Jools Holland was here last month, with great support from 80's star Alison Moyet. This month, Jazz on the Meadow is the top attraction on the 22nd. Supporting Courtney will be Omar Puente the lengendary Jazz Violinist, American vocalist Keri Highland, and Benedict Branca on saxophone all supported ably by the Ric Harris trio featuring Edana Minghella.

This month is also the time of the annual walking festival which is very popular with individuals looking to sample the lovely IOW landscapes. For anyone who visits the island, it is essential that you acquire a guide book showing you where to begin, take some study boots, pack of chocolate and a bottle of water and go and explore! If you are on foot use the Catamaran, otherwise take the iOW Ferries from Portsmouth or Lymington.

Not long ago I went for a visit to the IOW for our anniversary celebration. It was my first visit to the island for over 20 years since coming over as a teenager for the IOW festival. I was astounded by the scenery between the Needles park and the coastal road down to Ventnor. The sea roars in on the dark brown sands, and the cliff tops look out towards France as they have done for millions of years. Many fossil remains can be found on the beaches dating back as far as the Jurassic period, when dinosaurs lived on the Earth.

One walk that I discovered, which is also on the festival list is the strip between Ventnor and Shanklin. The pathway twists and turn along the cliff top, and then dives into wooded areas that contain some beautiful old trees. Along the way you will find some carefully crafted seats made from old tree trunks, where you can relax for a while and take in the smells from the sea.

You can choose beteen several walks this year, including the 72 mile complete walk done in 24 hours non-stop beginninng on Saturday 8th of May. A smaller area is also available to consider, which is much more of a leisurely approach.

 

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