Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Day the Mesozoic Died

So bye-bye Mr. Brontosaurii....

(yes, yes, double i pronunciation in Latin, and Apatosaurus rather than Brontosaurus but work with me people;
five, six, seven, eight: "A long, long time ago I can still remember....")


How the story of the dinosaurs’ demise was uncovered.
Geologists have long used fossils to help identify parts of the rock record from around the world and Walter employed this strategy in studying the formations around Gubbio. Throughout the limestone he found fossilized shells of tiny creatures, called foraminifera or “forams” for short, a group of single-celled protists that can only be seen with a magnifying lens. But in one centimeter of clay that separated two limestone layers, he found no fossils at all. Furthermore, in the older layer below the clay, the forams were more diverse and much larger than in the younger layer above the clay (See Foraminifera). Everywhere he looked around Gubbio, he found that thin layer of clay and the same difference between the forams below and above it.

Walter was puzzled. What had happened to cause such a change in the forams? How fast did it happen? How long a period of time did that thin layer without forams represent?

These questions about seemingly mundane microscopic creatures and one centimeter of clay in a 1,300-foot-thick rock bed in Italy might appear to be trivial. But their pursuit led Walter to a truly Earth-shattering discovery about one of the most important days in the history of life....
Yeah, other than that whaddya got? ....MUCH MORE

See also:

.... "The Philosophy of Complexity: Are Complex Systems Inherently Tyrannical?"
In the end the universe itself is inherently tyrannical.
You are not the boss....
Sic semper tyrannosaur
Or something.
As the philosopher Sting said to Tyrannosaurus' cousin (who is actually Apatosaurus but syllable count):
Hey there mighty brontosaurus
Don't you have a message for us
You thought your rule would always last
There were no lessons in your past

We have quite a few other complexity posts but most, sadly, are sans dinosaurs.