Monday, January 23, 2017

Why “The Extinction of the Dinosaurs” is Misleading

It’s well-known that about 65 million years ago, something happened. An event so big that it caused a global mass extinction, dramatically changing ecosystems all over the world. This left such a clear mark in the geologic record that scientists knew about the extinction long before they found evidence of possible causes (in the form of an asteroid crater or huge amounts of volcanic rock).

The most famous effect of this event – and the reason most people have heard of it – was the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Scientists may call it the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (since it happened at the end of the Cretaceous Period), or the K-Pg mass extinction (“K” for Cretaceous and “Pg” for Paleogene, the Period that came next), but for most of the general public, it’s known as “the Extinction of the Dinosaurs.”

But this is a misleading name. Here’s why: