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Sixty-five million years ago an asteroid the size of Mount Everest smashed into the Earth at sixty times the speed of sound. It unleashed a series of events that wiped out 70% of all species including the dinosaurs. Tony Robinson, Catastrophe IV: Asteroid Strike, Channel 4 2008
Scientists have found this same layer all around the world. Below it fossils from countless species, above it 70% of them are gone including the dinosaurs. ibid.
The iridium suggested that sixty-five million years ago a massive asteroid hit the planet. At the exact same time as the death of the dinosaurs. ibid.
Sudden and dramatic climate change: dust and ash blocked out the sun; temperatures dropped like a stone and kept on dropping thanks to the impact’s location; the blast generated incredible heat; it vaporised the rock and blasted tons of sulphur dioxide into the air; it mixed with water in the atmosphere to form sulphuric acid droplets: and that was a disaster. ibid.
Carbon dioxide choked the planet. Temperatures increased by around 20 degrees Celsius over the next hundred years. It was global warming on a fast track. ibid.
It was the meek – the burrowers and the scavengers – who inherited the Earth. ibid.
Dinosaurs – it’s the meat-eaters that get all the press. But recent research has revealed that out of the seven hundred species discovered, over two-thirds were herbivores. Vegetarians ruled. Iain Stewart, How to Grow a Planet I: Life From Light, BBC 2012
But the dinosaurs’ days of grazing were about to end abruptly. Sixty- five million years ago an asteroid ten kilometres wide across killed them off. The grasses survived. But they in turn would face their own crisis. Iain Stewart, How to Grow a Planet II: The Power of Flowers
Fundamentalist Christianity – fascinating. These people actually believe the world is 12,000 years old ... I got one word to ask you, one word question, ready? Dinosaurs! Bill Hicks, Revelations, Dominion Theatre London
He says, Dinosaur fossils? God put those here to test our faith ... I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. ibid.
Christian: God created the Earth six thousand years ago ... Dinosaurs and human beings lived on the Earth at the same time.
Tony: What? Like the Flintstones? The Sopranos s6e4: The Fleshy Part of the Thigh starring James Gandolfini & Lorriane Bracco & Edie Falco & Michael Imperioli & Dominic Chianese & Steven van Zandt & Tony Sirico & Robert Iler et al, HBO 2006
If one small and odd lineage of fishes had not evolved fins capable of bearing weight on land (though evolved for different reasons in lakes and seas,) terrestrial vertebrates would never have arisen. If a large extraterrestrial object – the ultimate random bolt from the blue – had not triggered the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, mammals would still be small creatures, confined to the nooks and crannies of a dinosaur’s world, and incapable of evolving the larger size that brains big enough for self-consciousness require. If a small and tenuous population of proto-humans had not survived a hundred slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and potential extinction) on the savannahs of Africa, then Homo sapiens would never have emerged to spread throughout the globe. We are glorious accidents of an unpredictable process with no drive to complexity, not the expected results of evolutionary principles that yearn to produce a creature capable of understanding the mode of its own necessary construction. Stephen Jay Gould
Sussex ... [Gideon] Mantell is convinced he has in his possession a set of fossils that will not only transform man’s understanding of the prehistoric world but will secure his reputation as England’s greatest amateur geologist. Days that Shook the World s2e7: Dinosaurs and Duplicity, BBC 2004
The common belief is they are the remains of animals drowned in Noah’s flood. ibid.
By May 1822 Mantell felt confident enough to present his work in a book on the geology of Sussex. ibid.
But a chance discovery by Mary [Mantell] that was to turn the world of natural science on its head ... It appeared to be the fragment of some sort of giant tooth. ibid.
Mantell – the first man in the world to discover a plant-eating dinosaur. ibid.
1953 ... Scientists are about to expose the most audacious fraud in the history of archaeology ... In November 1912 a startling discovery was announced of the remains of what was claimed to be the earliest known human being. The finds were made in a gravel pit in the village of Piltdown in Sussex. ibid.
Since the 1950s several of Charles Dawson’s earlier archaeological finds have also been re-examined and proven to be forgeries. ibid.
The most daring fraud in the history of science. ibid.
Dragons of the prime
That tear each other in the slime. Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam
We are talking about an object roughly fifteen kilometres in diameter ... I think it’s probable it was a comet. Gene Shoemaker, US Geological Survey
We’re here because they’re not. Dr Dan Durda, planetary scientist
We think it was an object about six miles in diameter coming in at about twelve miles a second. Which would cause an impact energy of about sixty-five million mega-tons of TNT. Don Yeomans, NASA/JPL
The apocalyptic event has been called the K-T Extinction, because of a thin band of geological signatures dating to that time all over the world, known as the Cretaceous Tertiary, or K-T boundary. It separates the age of reptiles and the age of mammals. Dinosaur bones are not found above the K-T boundary. The Universe s2e12: Cosmic Collisions, History 2008
In the 1990s a Mexican oil company found the smoking gun. While drilling off the Yucatan peninsula they discovered a hundred-mile-wide impact crater buried under water beneath three thousand feet of limestone. Analysis of the rock confirmed the crater had been formed by an asteroid. ibid.
For as long as Earth has existed, comets and asteroids have been crashing into it. Soon after its formation about four and a half billion years ago our planet became a frequent target in a cosmic shooting gallery. According to the Earth Impact Database more than one hundred and sixty impact craters have been identified. The largest is one called Chicxulub, Mayan for Tail of the Devil. This crater measures more than one hundred and seventy kilometres in diameter. It was made by the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs when it crashed in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Universe s3e8: Stopping Armageddon, 2009
If you dig down into the Earth, down to what is called the K-T boundary, you find this very thin layer of soil which represents the boundary between the dinosaur era and the post-dinosaur era, between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary era ... When you analyse these soil samples you get high levels of iridium. Professor Micho Kaku, author Physics of the Impossible
The largest flesh-eater the world has ever seen – all children now learn at an early age, but are reluctant to believe, that Tyrannosaurus and all the other dinosaurs followed a well-trod trail to oblivion. Horizon: The Dinosaur Hunters, BBC 1971
In the bed of the Paluxy River in Texas are tracks made by dinosaurs seventy million years ago when the hard limestone rock was mud. This is evidence that convinces the most doubting tourist. ibid.
Perhaps the climate deteriorated, becoming too hot or too cold. Or suddenly too wet, or too dry. There were problems maybe of reproduction. Or maybe their eggs were eaten by the tiny furry mammals. Maybe it was God’s will. Or lack of standing room in the Ark. ibid.
Dinosaur bones are only one source of information. Present-day animals are another. Horizon: The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs, BBC 1976
The dinosaur footprints are only part of the information needed. ibid.
Other dinosaurs too were suddenly seen as fast-moving agile creatures. And [John] Ostrom’s new ideas about them developed ... Perhaps they were hot-blooded too. ibid.
‘My son Walt brought along this little sample of rock ... You see this clay layer here about a half inch thick that’s from the time the dinosaurs went out.’ Horizon: Death of the Dinosaurs, Professor Luis Alvarez, BBC 1981
‘Finally decided to look for some iridium for some measure of the deposition rate.’ ibid.
Luis decided to measure the amount of iridium in the clay ... Luis realised they had stumbled upon something important. ibid.