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What Killed The Dinosaurs?: The Great Mystery
This site presents theories about why the dinosaurs became extinct. The first page provides background information covering not only the "great dying" at the K-T boundary but also the mass extinction at the end of the Paleozoic Era. The author covers six factors that complicate the study of mass extinction including time resolution, the Signor-Lipps Effect, and falsifiability. A link then takes the reader to a second page where invalid extinction hypotheses are explained. These range from "hay fever killed the dinosaurs" to "the dinosaurs just faded away," (no causation implied). The final link leads us to current thinking about extinction including volcanism, plate tectonics, and the Alvarez Hypothesis.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
  • Informal
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Ref. material
  • Biology
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Paleontology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1996-2000 by The Museum of Paleontology of The University of California, Berkeley; the Regents of the University of California; and The Paleontological Society. No part of the referring document residing on the server may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without prior written permission of the publisher, except for educational purposes, and in no case for profit
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-102
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evolution and equilibrium
      • C - Life science:
        • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
        • Population and ecosystems
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth's history
    • 9-12:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Origin and evolution of the earth system
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: John R. Hutchinson
Stanford University

Publisher: University of California Museum of Paleontology