What Happened the Day a Giant, Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Hit the Earth
September 10, 2019 7:36 AM   Subscribe

This is the thing that always blows me away, "Had the impact occurred elsewhere, or in a place of deeper ocean water, the extinction may have happened differently, or not at all," because it's literally just a matter of a couple minutes of the Earth's rotation.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:00 AM on September 10, 2019 [10 favorites]

There was another post on metafilter about this researcher that I cannot now seem to find and the comments expressed a lot of skepticism about his theories, particularly given that the actual article was still in press. I would love to hear from an informed mefite now that the PNAS article is actually out since this is all very interesting but well above my paygrade.
posted by Frowner at 8:08 AM on September 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

The one you want Frowner, is the post about Robert DePalma. The current post does not mention the tektites, which is interesting. The current post stresses the vaporized sulfur and the cooling effect; the tektites are melted glass that scattered across the world and have been blamed (IIRC) for rapid heating---at least at first.
posted by TreeRooster at 9:05 AM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not to derail, but the controversy is all about whether DePalma told salacious details to popular magazines before submitting those details to peer review. He claims he plans to release a series of papers.

More germane, the scientific controversy is over the timeline and how long it took for the dinosaurs to expire. The radiolab I posted above, for those who don't have time to listen to Jad and Robert joke around charmingly for 20 minutes: their guest is Jay Melosh from Purdue, who at 22 minutes in the podcast, argues that the atmosphere is heated to broiling point by the tektites falling back to earth.
posted by TreeRooster at 9:44 AM on September 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Salacious"? So he was doing a tell-all about dinosaur sex?
posted by happyroach at 9:53 AM on September 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

ooooh! can't wait to read this later!!!
posted by supermedusa at 9:53 AM on September 10, 2019

"Salacious"? So he was doing a tell-all about dinosaur sex?

See, the mental picture I got was of two dinosaurs--carnivore and herbivore--doing the eternal dance of predator and prey, when they see the meteorite fall to earth and see an enormous flash on the horizon. They look at it and then each other, shrug, and set to satisfying the passion that dare not speak its name while they still can. I guess that I'm just a romantic when it comes to mass extinctions.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:06 PM on September 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

The catastrophe not only decimated the dinosaurs, leaving only birds to carry their legacy...

Pet peeve: to decimate something is to reduce its numbers by 10%. It was a punishment used by conquering armies; they'd kill one out of every 10 men in a conquered city. The catastrophe did VASTLY more than decimate the dinosaurs.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:55 PM on September 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

The predator/prey sex seems to have happened in the song "Snorky the Sea Serpent"-- here's a video that has the song and a cartoon of a Tyrannosaurus Rex having a baby with a Apatosaurus[?] eventually leading to a "modern day animal". Silly but still a little too adult for children in the year the video was made. I guess?
posted by RuvaBlue at 4:00 PM on September 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Maybe decimation was used by conquering armies, maybe not but it wouldn't make sense to kill one of out every ten of your vanquished foes. That's not going to inspire fear. Decimation was used by the Romans on their own soldiers as a form of discipline.
posted by rdr at 4:47 PM on September 10, 2019

argues that the atmosphere is heated to broiling point by the tektites falling back to earth.

The issue I've always had with that theory is, at least in the extreme form where the entire earth turned to a hundreds of degree oven for hours... it doesn't entirely match which species survived, does it? Like, we are reasonably sure that there was a nuclear winter and shutdown of photosynthesis, both because of what the physics says about how much dust and aerosols should have been put in the atmosphere, and because it matches what survived: detritus communities that lived on the dead. Almost nothing in the way of pure carnivores or herbivores, just omnivores. Nothing over a few kilograms in weight. Well, what would you expect to survive a fire like that? Animals that lived in water, maybe some burrowing creatures. it doesn't really explain birds surviving, with their fragile feathers, and the mammals that survived weren't just burrowers they included arboreal mammals like our ancestor.

I'm curious if anyone has ever read a piece that really addressed that.
posted by tavella at 5:46 PM on September 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Pet peeve: to decimate something is to reduce its numbers by 10%.
Decimate: verb.
3. a: to reduce drastically especially in number
cholera decimated the population
Kamieniecki's return comes at a crucial time for a pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries — Jason Diamos
b: to cause great destruction or harm to
firebombs decimated the city
an industry decimated by recession

Cambridge Dictionary
verb [ T US /ˈdes·əˌmeɪt/
to destroy large numbers of people, animals, or other creatures, or to harm something severely:
Overfishing has decimated the cod population.
We decimated public transportation in the 1950s and ’60s.

Lexico (Dictionary.com and Oxford University Press) Historically, the meaning of the word decimate is ‘kill one in every ten of (a group of people)’. This sense has been more or less totally superseded by the later, more general sense ‘kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of’, as in the virus has decimated the population. Some traditionalists argue that this is incorrect, but it is clear that it is now part of standard English.
MY pet peeve is when people insist on using the archaic form of "decimate", when the meaning has clearly evolved, and the new form has been established for generations.

So "The fucking dinosaur population was decimated. Fucking get over it." Is! A proper use of the term.
posted by happyroach at 9:54 PM on September 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

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