Did Ancient Aliens Exterminate the Dinosaurs?
Did dinosaurs and people coexist?
Proponents of ancient aliens have made many claims in recent years and one of them is that extraterrestrials exterminated the dinosaurs so advanced mammals such as humans could dominate the planet. Is this theory true or just the work of overactive imaginations bent on writing bestselling books and/or producing a hit TV show?
Please keep reading and let’s explore this intriguing possibility:
What killed the Dinosaurs?
Anyone familiar with dinosaurs has probably heard that the impact of an asteroid about 65 million years ago could have brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs. This is known as the Cretaceous-Paleocene extinction event, also known as the K-T extinction, marking the end of the Mesozoic Era, the so-called Age of Dinosaurs.
This asteroid was five to 10 miles across and struck the earth in what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, creating the so-called Chicxulub crater. The blast effects of this cataclysmic event and the resultant debris being flung into the atmosphere, dramatically lowering the temperature of the earth, may have caused the extinction of numerous species, including the dinosaurs, which ruled the earth for about 160 million years.
The asteroid impact is pretty much an established fact, but did it really kill off those terrible lizards?
Interestingly, crocodilians may have survived the extinction because cold-blooded creatures require much less food. Many scientist believe that some if not most dinosaurs were warm-blooded or endothermic. However, mammals are also endothermic and they survived the mass extinction, though their size and niche were much smaller than that of the dinosaurs.
Nevertheless, dinosaurs definitely went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, give or take thousands of years. Avian dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx may have survived somewhat longer, which makes sense, because most scientists believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
At any rate, the majority of scientists believe a killer asteroid destroyed the dinosaurs – but not all scientists.
Deccan Traps and More Possibilities
About a half million years before the asteroid impact, a period of massive volcanism known as the Deccan Traps greatly increased the amount of greehouse gases spewing into the atmosphere. This warmed the average temperature of the earth about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, essentially cooking the hapless saurians. Then the asteroid impact would have created a kind of nuclear winter, freezing them.
Perhaps not one but two climate-changing events brought about the demise of the dinosaurs.
Another theory postulates that dinosaurs couldn’t digest flowering plants, known as angiosperms, which proliferated during the late Cretaceous period. Dinosaurs preferred conifers or gymnosperms. This inability to adjust to a changing ecosystem could have doomed the dinosaurs. After all, a “failure to adapt” is what dinosaurs are known for!
Still another theory posits that continental drift killed off the dinosarus. Renowned paleontologist Robert Bakker is a proponent of this little known hypothesis. Bakker insists that dinosaurs were indeed warm-blooded and that shifting land masses finished them off. You may recall that the supercontinent known as Pangaea started breaking apart about 200 to 250 million years ago, creating numerous new watery ecosystems. Could dinosaurs have adapted to such changes?
The Case for Ancient Astronauts Exterminating Dinosaurs
Many people may be familiar with the TV program Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. On the episode titled “Dinosaurs,” proponents of ancient aliens present the theory that extraterrestrials purposely killed off the dinosaurs so people could then flourish. They think these purported ETs used nuclear weapons to snuff out the dinos. Could this be true?
The evidence provided by these ET enthusiasts is that many dinosaur fossils contain the element iridium, which has been found in abundance in the strata created at the time of the K-T extinction. Bear in mind, nuclear bombs contain iridium-192. They also say many dinosaur fossils are radioactive, which is true; in fact, dinosaur fossils are often covered with leaded paint to protect people from radiation.
But did this radioactivity come from the detonation of a nuclear bomb or from the rock in which the dinosaur fossils were found? Many fossils, particularly ones in North America, have been found in or near uranium deposits.
Many scientists think at least some of this radioactivity could have come from a Gamma-ray burst (GRB). For that matter, couldn’t a GRB have wiped out the dinosaurs? And couldn’t these aliens have initiated such a burst? Who’s to say?
Did Dinosaurs and People Coexist?
Many proponents of ancient astronauts support the theory than humans and dinosaurs could have existed at the same time. Perhaps the best evidence to support this theory is that there are places where dinosaur footprints have been found with what appear to be footprints of people. Perhaps the most prominent of such places is Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas.
These footprints in Texas certainly appear genuine but could erosion have formed them? It’s been proven that erosion has altered some of these footprints. And a fair number of scientists claim that at least some of these alleged human footprints were faked, and this has proven to be the case as well.
Scientists also point out that these human footprints could have been left by dinosaurs with five toes. For example, many dinosaurs actually had five fingers or claws, if you will. Also keep in mind that the fossils for perhaps thousands of dinosaur species have never been discovered. Could the footprints of these unknown species have appeared human-like?
ET advocates also say that the Maya people of ancient Mesoamerica carved the likeness of dinosaur-like creatures in some of their temples, many of which can be found in the Yucatan Peninsula, the scene of the killer asteroid impact.
Moreover, in Ica, Peru thousands of andesite carvings show dinosaurs existing with humans, but these carvings could have been produced in the thirteenth century or even later. And a rock carving at Angkor Wat, a temple complex built about a thousand years ago, shows the likeness of a stegosaurus, a well-known dinosaur species.
But is the existence of artifacts with images of dinosaurs proof of anything?
Wouldn’t Nuclear Bombs Kill Everybody and Everything?
Assuming that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaneous, and that these supposed ancient aliens detonated nuclear bombs to kill the dinosaurs, wouldn’t the resultant fireballs have destroyed all creatures (and people) within the blast zones? This would be like trying to fight a cockroach infestation by burning down the house! Such a question wasn’t answered by the experts on Ancient Aliens. The theory that dinosaurs coexisted with humans is hard enough to believe, but saying that ancient aliens snuffed out the dinosaurs stretches credulity to the limit.
The TV program Ancient Aliens is a very interesting and eye-pleasing production but some of the claims on the show seem far-fetched indeed. Nevertheless, if anyone proves that extraterrestrials exist, the theories presented on this show may become more fact than fantasy.
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© 2012 Kelley