The competing extinction theories battle it out


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New evidence bolsters the asteroid impact theory of dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago.

I am sure you all thought the cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction — an asteroid impact on the Yucatan peninsula — was settled science. Wrong!

Palaeontologists and planetary scientists have been arguing about it for two decades, with the palaeontologists favoring a more gradual extinction process caused by multiple environmental factors (sea level rise, volcanic activity, and asteroid impact) and the planetary scientists favoring the asteroid impact as the sole cause. This story above provides a small data point favoring the planetary scientists, but hardly proves anything.

One of the reasons the asteroid impact theory dominates the public perception is that the media loves it. Who can resist such a story? Unfortunately, the people who study the fossils, palaeontologists, have remained very skeptical, as the fossil evidence hasn’t confirmed this theory as well as it should.

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