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How Did The Dinosaurs Become Extinct?

Updated on December 17, 2010
There are many theories as to how the dinosaurs became extinct.
There are many theories as to how the dinosaurs became extinct.

So How did the Dinosaurs Become Extinct?

There are plenty of thoughts surrounding the death of the dinosaurs, the most common which is the meteor theory. In the past it was often thought that the extinction of the dinosaurs had been caused by a great flood, or simply the displeasure of God.

Over the coming article I will be giving you a few of the more popular theories as to why the dinosaurs became extinct, sprinkled liberally with the facts supporting each theory.

A Little Background Information

It is important to take note that the world was a completely different place 65 million years ago. When questioning how did the dinosaurs become extinct, you have to remember that there were some key differences in the world.

  • There were no Polar Icecaps (Which were 50 Degrees Centigrade Warmer than their temperatures today.
  • Despite the warmer poles, the overall temperature of earth was much more uniform than it is today, the Equater was at most 35 degrees centigrade warmer than the poles.
  • Carbon Dioxide levels were 12 times higher, leading to much more rapid, and evolutionary ferocious, plant growth.
  • Volcanic Activity was decreasing this led to slower plant growth, and a cooling of global temperatures.
  • Oxygen levels were much greater, but fluctuated hugely. (A Drop in Oxygen is the most likely cause of the demise of larger dinosaurs.

An Impact Event

One of the most probably and widely accepted theories of how the dinosaurs became extinct is through an impact from a large piece of outer space debris, or an intense meteor shower.  Many scientists believe the Chicxulub crater (A staggering 110 miles in diameter) may have been the result of a 10km wide meteor which could have easily have caused a worldwide extinction of animals that could not adapt to the significant rise, then significant drop of the Earth's temperature.

Not everyone agrees on whether the earths temperature would rise, fall, or do both after the impact of something as large as 10 miles in diameter. Everyone agrees however that the changes would have been immense, and catastrophic.

The Deccan Trap Theory

The Deccan Trap theory is linked to a huge amount of volcanic activity, specifically in India. There was a huge amount of volcanic activity, which could have started around a million years before the meteor impact, and rpeviously fitted in to a theory that the dinosaurs became gradually extinct.

There is no doubt that the Deccan Trap erruptions must have caused a huge amount of extinction, their unprescedented style would have released huge amounts of volcanic gasses which would have caused Global Warming, and blocked a large amount of sunlight, reducing the growth of plant life.

How Did the Dinosaurs Become Extinct

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Failure to Adapt

A lot of evidence also points to the plant life changing from a species called Gymnosperms plants (Such as conifers) to angiosperms (Flowering Plants) which many animals simply cannot eat.

The animals that did not adapt to the changing plant life had to face even more environmental stresses. From temperature fluctuations, to changes in the amount of oxygen in the air they had to breath.

It is highly possible that the much less stable environment the dinosaurs lived in, combined with a meteoric finale might have finished off the dinosaurs that could have survived otherwise.

If the Dinosaurs Became Extinct, What About Us?

Whatever the cause of the Dinosaurs extinction really was, we have some pretty good causes as to what might have killed off one of this planets most exotic and diverse collection of animals. Now we simply need to be aware that catostrophic changes to our environment can occur, much worse than the politically fueled Carbon Based Global Warming theory.

Preparation for an environmental disaster is next to impossible, and entirely unpredictable.  But Humanity is the most flexible and adaptable species to have arrived on the planet earth, and we will be the best placed to survive against the worst the Universe can throw at us.


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    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Interesting details.

      I think "all of the above."

      Meteor swarm impacts Earth (Yucatan, India and elsewhere). A tight swarm hits India creating the Deccan Traps (volcanic eruptions). Multiple massive fires created, burning the abundant plant material, converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. Dust from the impacts and eruptions blot out sufficient insolation to kill many plants, cutting back on oxygen production. And yes, dinosaurs unable to adapt to all of this.

      Humanity can survive a great deal, but can we survive the Rockefellers and Rothschilds?

    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 6 years ago from Battle Creek, Michigan

      Your theories are interesting. I am going to link you story to mine as an alternative to my theory. Voted up!

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 6 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      Very interesting theories.

    • profile image

      :) 6 years ago

      what the fluff?

    • abhishek.genius profile image

      Abhishek Raj 7 years ago from New Delhi

      great article.

      Really a good piece of information in a systematic manner, which i couldn't find elsewhere. Thanx for sharing.

    • ns1209 profile image

      ns1209 7 years ago from UK - England

      Cool hub and I think the impact theory wiped out the dinosaurs as the change would have been tremendous. Let's hope the same does not happen for humanity for a few thousand years!

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      They did something right though ruling the earth for 200 million years. And we've been around for only 120,000 years. Good hub

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 7 years ago

      Interesting hub; I enjoyed reading it, and might actually impress a nephew or two now.