How did T-Rex become extinct?
The dinosaurs disappeared around 65 million years ago after ruling the planet for millions of years. The extinction of these formidable animals is a blueprint of what is about to happen to Man.
By far the most popular Cretaceous-Terciary (K-T) Extinction theory is Luis Alvarez's impact winter catastrophe. Asteroid strikes Earth. Cloud of debris blocks Sun. Plants die. Herbivores die. Carnivores die. Had it not been for that lucky strike, his disciples add, the dinosaurs would be roaming the Earth in our stead. It is to note that De Laubenfels was the first to formalize an impact theory in 1956. His paper got no attention because he was a nobody. The reason Alvarez and his son Walter get full credit today is not so much because they introduced the 'iridium' factor, but because Luis Alvarez was extremely well connected, especially with the US Military. Luis had worked on the Manhattan Project and was on board the The Great Artiste, a B29 Bomber that accompanied the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb in Hiroshima. Alvarez was there to measure the blast effect of the first bomb. He later won the Nobel Prize in 1968 for his work on magnetic resonance. What Luis Alvarez did was bring authority to bear on the issue. This is the only reason most people in the world now believe the impact theory. It has no merit whatsoever.
Impact Winter Theory
He who has not explained selectivity has not explained extinction
There is, however, a troubling aspect of what occurs in any mass or background extinction that Impact theorists typically downplay or omit altogether: selectivity. How does an asteroid or its effects kill T-Rex and leave the turtles alive? How does a comet or a meteorite eliminate the mosasaurs, the ammonites, and the calcareous nanoplankton and spare the sharks and fish swimming at their sides? That's a mighty smart asteroid if you ask me! Indeed, the only question that any theorist has to answer in regards to extinction is selectivity. Once we solve selectivity we solve the riddle of extinction. This is where all theories of extinction have come up short.
It is ironic that people credit these theorists with having a great imagination. Among the proposals we find: egg predation, supernovas, volcanic activity, disease... you name it! I think that this false adulation just adds insult to injury. What the brainstormers have done over the years is blurt out the first thing that came to their minds. It shows no creativity whatsoever... and certainly a total lack of research.
Species of dinosaurs were already disappearing millions of years before the K-T Boundary. This background extinction rate accelerated until there were no more dinosaurs. Surely, neither an asteroid nor volcanic activity (the second most popular theory) can produce such an effect.
More significantly, what was dying were the old species. What was dying were the species of both plants and animals that had been around for quite a while. It really has to be a very smart asteroid that can discriminate chronologically! By the time of the death of the last T-Rex, angiosperm outnumbered gymnosperm 10 to 1 at Hell Creek, Montana -- where the dinos perhaps made their last stand on Earth. If Triceratops ate cycads and these were hard to find, it follows that their economic system fell apart. And if the Triceratops began to dwindle, the T-Rex could do nothing else but follow.
The Shrinking Island
What we propose here is that Mother Nature eliminates species periodically through a mechanism we will call the Shrinking Island. If we were to stand at the starting line of the Cambrian 600 million years ago, we should be able to arrive at the conclusion that all species that are born must come to an end one day. They do not become extinct because asteroids or supernovas or diseases or climate change kills them. They become extinct because all animals ultimately depend on plants. If specific species of plants lived forever, we can perhaps conceive of the animals that have specialized on them to live forever as well. The facts are that plants have evolved over the millions of years and given way to ever more sophisticated plants. One of the earliest plants was Cooksonia which lived in the Silurian 420 million years ago. Cooksonia had no roots, leaves, or flowers. It was a truly primitive plant, the missing link between non-vascular and vascular plants. Then came the spores, the cones and the seeds. The history of plants is the evolution of sex in plants. As the older plants give way to newer, more dynamic plants, the animals which have formed a relation with the ancient regime are fated to disappear with them. The animals cannot change their eating habits overnight any more than you can switch from lettuce to pine leaves. They succumb to what is known as a mass extinction.
The Big Picture
Indeed, the study known as Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution clearly shows that as angiosperms radiated throughout the Cretaceous they displaced the ferns, cycads, and cycadeoids on which the herbivorous dinosaurs depended. The mammals, insects and other types of animals which developed a relation with the new plants ended up replacing them. There is no need for asteroids, volcanoes or other sudden, catastrophic agents to explain a mass extinction!
It's our turn now
Now it's Man's turn to undergo a similar experience. We have cleared forests and jungles and planted what we need for ourselves (as well as for the animals we slaughter and eat): the grasses. We have practiced artificial selection for over 10,000 years, helping tomatoes grow at the expense of weeds and conifers. Today we feed 7 Billion people with these grains. But imagine that all these crops that we harvest were to disappear tomorrow like the cycads disappeared on the unsuspecting Triceratops. 7 billion people die in a matter of months at most, the final stage being accelerated by cannibalism.
You ask, "Why would wheat and corn suddenly disappear from our bakeries and food marts?"
They will disappear when the global economy collapses. These products that keep us alive every day and which we take for granted are grown, processed, and distributed by corporations that do so for profits. The day that our global economy collapses these companies will have no more incentive to do so. You wake up one morning and there's no food at the store. The only food you will find is in your fridge. That supply is a measure of how much time you have to live.
Paper presented at the
International Conference on Biology, Environment and Chemistry
(ICBEC 2010, Hong Kong, China):
Paper presented at the
Apocalypse Conference, Oxford University
May 8, 2016, Prague, Czech Republic
The Extinction Series...
How T-Rex disappeared
The Extinction of T-Rex