God, asteroids and volcanoes. What do those three items have in common? They are all three forces believed to have caused the extinction of dinosaurs. While there are many theories, no one knows for sure exactly what happened. Just as there are two sides to ever story, there are two sides to the dinosaur extinction debate. The most commonly accepted theories are based on evolution. Creationists, those who believe the earth was created by a supreme being, have their own theories on the topic.
Theories of Evolutionists
Some theories held by evolutionists include a disease epidemic; drastic climate change, such as with the Ice Age; competition with other animals; mental disorders, based on evidence of the miniscule size of dinosaur’s brains in relation to their bodies; and overpopulation. Others theories are:
The Asteroid Theory
This is the most widely accepted theory. Scientists believe that a large asteroid or comet struck the earth around 65 million years ago. There was so much dust from the explosion that it blocked out the light of the sun for months or even years. Without the sun, plants were unable to photosynthesize, leaving the herbivores to starve. Consequently, the carnivores also starved. Evidence cited for this theory includes a huge asteroid crater found in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
This theory states that a massive increase in volcanic activity could have led to the extinction of the terrible lizards. According to this supposition, a volcanic explosion of enormous proportions occurred approximately 65 million years ago. The volume of ash and debris combined with sulfuric acid and poisonous gases would have made the air impossible to breathe. In addition to poor breathing conditions, the ground would have been covered with molten rock.
In 2004 scientists found fossilized cold water plankton in what used to be a warm sea, giving aid to the theory that the dinosaurs were killed off by an Ice Age. The Ice Age theory suggests that the waters of the earth froze, the temperature was drastically reduced and the dinosaurs were killed.
Theories of Creationists
As previously stated, the most commonly accepted theories are based on evolution. There are, however, alternative theories that disagree with evolution altogether. Creationists believe in the divine creation of the universe. They have their own theories about the extinction of the dinosaurs, some completely differing from modern science, and some similar. Creationists can be divided into two categories. It is important to first understand the differing beliefs of creationists before venturing into their theories.
This group of creationists adheres with the theory held by secular scientists that the earth is billions of years old. Their theories about the start of life differ from evolutionists in that they believe God created the earth. Theistic evolutionists believe that God set evolution into motion. Other types of old-earth creationists believe that there was a gap in time between the creation of animals and the creation of man, similar to the theory of evolution which states that dinosaurs and man lived billions of years apart. The theories of dinosaur extinction held by old-earth creationists mirror those of evolutionists.
Young-earth creationists believe that the earth and everything in it is less than 10,000 years old. They believe in the literal translation of Genesis where the Bible states that God created everything in six days and on the seventh day He rested. They also believe that dinosaurs accompanied Noah and his family with all of the other animals on the ark. Young-world creationists tend to believe that dinosaurs were killed off by men after the Great Flood. They cite ancient texts describing encounters with dragons and dragon slaying. The word “dinosaur” is a relatively new word, coined in 1841, whereas the word “dragon” and variations of it have been around since the 13th century. Some young-world creationists believe that there may still be dinosaurs living in remote places of the earth today. Other young-world creationists believe that dinosaurs died of natural causes, diseases that only affected their species.
In conclusion, there is not enough evidence to prove matter-of-factly what happened to the dinosaurs. Until it is proven without a shadow of a doubt, more differing theories are sure to emerge.