Dinosaur Extinction Theories

Analysis of Dinosaur Extinction Theories

Why are humans so curious about the beasts, the dinosaurs that roamed the earth over 65 million years ago? We know so little about them, and yet they are considered a special addition to the history and evolution of the world. Dinosaurs, great and small, were decimated long before homo-erectus ever walked upright across the continents. Not only were the dinosaurs destroyed, but so were 65% of all other types of flora and fauna on the Earth.

Young and old, big and small, all have their theories about the destruction of the dinosaurs and each one is as probable as the next. However, taking a scientific look at the theories, many believe they have found the real reason for the extinction. They try to give evidence to prove their theory is right and discredit all other theories. There are approximately four extinction theories that have led the way in recent years and from the evidence given seem to be more probable than some of the other more outlandish theories.

To be fair, we will look at each of the four theories in alphabetical order. After reviewing the information, the process of deciding which theory seems most probable is left with the reader. That is one of the great things about theories, some theories seem more likely, but none can be ruled out, especially when the event occurred over 65 million years ago.

Arctic Spillover Theory
This theory is based on the theory of the Mesozoic continental drifts that would have isolated the Arctic Ocean for a time. During this isolation, the waters around the world would have become colder with the water in the Arctic area freezing. As temperatures rose, the Arctic spilled back into the other oceans, creating a glacial layer over the earth, or a type of deep freeze, which in turn destroyed the inhabitants of the Earth.

Asteroid Theory
Another theory based on the idea of an Ice Age, or as it is often called, nuclear winter, comes from the asteroid theory. The idea is that the asteroid would have hit the Earth throwing dust into the atmosphere and blocking all the rays of the sun, which would cause the temperature to drop and thereby create a chain reaction in the destruction of plant life leading to the death of the dinosaurs. The initial blast of the asteroid would also likely cause catastrophic natural disasters, such as fires, tsunamis, earthquakes, and other such events. All of which, in one way or another, would have aided in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Ozone Depletion Theory
The depletion of ozone would cause the atmosphere to change into a collection of gases that would not be able to sustain life. This theory uses the catastrophic volcanic eruptions as the cause of the ozone depletion. The volcanic gases would overtake the normal atmosphere, increase the temperature and choke the dinosaurs into extinction by asphyxiation.

Volcano Greenhouse Theory
The volcano-greenhouse theory is very similar to the ozone depletion theory in the fact that the gases from the erupting volcano would change the atmosphere. However, taking the theory a step further, the ash from the volcanoes would have created a greenhouse effect and caused the temperatures to rise quickly and to the demise of the creatures walking the Earth.

One thing that seems to be a factor in each of these theories is the concept of temperature. The Arctic Spillover Theory and the Asteroid Theory both are based on the idea of an Ice Age or extreme drop in temperatures that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. On the other side, the Ozone Depletion and Volcano-Greenhouse Theories are so similar and the extreme increase in temperature is a major factor in the extinction of the dinosaur for both. From this analysis, it is clear that temperature seemed to have had an influence on the extinction, but other than that everything is still a theory, including whether the temperature increased or decreased. What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? We may never know, but it sure will be fun to try continuing searching for the answer or at least for more theories.