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Sunday, April 11, 2004

What happened to the dinosaurs?

Dinosaur Breath, by John G. Cramer

"This result has very interesting implications about the era of the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs apparently breathed air that was much richer in oxygen than our air and lived in forests and grasslands that were far more combustible than ours. The metabolisms evolved to live is such an atmosphere might be radically different from ours. This new information may be relevant to many puzzles of the cretaceous and jurassic periods."

"One can imagine a scenario in which the Alvarez meteor dust blocks sunlight for several years, causing a large fraction of the surface plant life to wither and die. The brown dead vegetable matter would then provide excellent fuel in the oxygen rich atmosphere. Spontaneous combustion or lightning might trigger a fire that would spread over the brown landscape, producing the worldwide fire storm. A fire of this magnitude might well consume enough oxygen to account for the observed composition drop. In any case, the combination of dust, decimated vegetation, colder climate, a world-wide fire, and a 1/3 drop in atmospheric oxygen could certainly have combined to bring about the extinction of the dinosaurs."


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