From a supernova to an alien attack, here
are the 9 most fascinating dinosaur extinction theories Number 9 Supernova Radiation
Roughly 66 million years ago, a massive asteroid, 6 to 9 miles in diameter, hit the Gulf of
Mexico. This set off the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, in which at least 75 per
cent of all species on Earth vanished, including all the non-avian dinosaurs. A giant crater
found in the Yucatan Peninsula corresponds to the timeline of the extinction. There’s
also geological evidence in the sediment of terrestrial and marine rocks. The asteroid
set off dust in the atmosphere that blocked out the sun, causing temperatures to plummet.
It most likely triggered other factors such as volcanism or changes of the sea level.
The impact hypothesis is currently the one most favored by the scientific community,
but its’ not the only one. A theory from 1971 suggests that a supernova close to our
planet was responsible for the extinction. The Earth’s upper-atmosphere was subsequently
bombarded with radiation that caused temperatures to plummet. High-energy cosmic rays may have
even reached ground level thus causing mutations and disease.
Number 8 Selenium Poisoning In 1967, Seil Koch proposed that selenium
poisoning may have been the reason behind the dinosaurs’ demise. Volcanic activity
during the Mesozoic era, from 250 to 66 million years ago, caused massive selenium deposits
all-over the world. These deposits lead to the development of poisonous vegetation. Herbivores
became sick and so did the predators that feasted on their selenium-poisoned bones and
fatty tissues. The mammals that survived were most likely intelligent enough to distinguish
between toxic and non-toxic plants. Before we continue with our list, answer this
question. Which of these creatures survived what the dinosaurs couldn’t? Was it
a. Titanoboa b. Crocodile
c. Megalodon d. Rhinoceros
Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned to find out the
right answer. Number 7 Vitamin D Deficiency
Pathologist Harry T. Marshall proposed in 1928 that the dinosaurs could have died of
rickets. This disease is caused by a deficiency of phosphates, calcium and vitamin D. As clouds
of dust covered the atmosphere, dinosaurs weren’t getting enough sunlight. This led
to the widespread onset of rickets and other similar diseases, which cause a weakening
of the dinosaur’s bones. Moreover, in lack of ultraviolet light, the plants weren’t
producing the nutrients that could have combated the disease. Dinosaurs, particularly the larger
ones, gradually became weaker and, in only a few generations, vanished entirely.
Number 6 Gravity Shift Despite having been debunked by a number of
physicists, the gravity shift theory still remains a somewhat fascinating concept. It
states that, millions of years ago, the Earth’s gravity was weaker. It supposedly explains
how the sauropods evolved and could still move around, despite their tremendous size.
Sauropods, like the Brontosaurus or Argentinosaurus, were the true giants of the dinosaur world.
These pillar-legged, long-necked creatures could way close to 100 tons and some, like
Sauroposeidon, could grow to be 60 feet tall. Then, a sudden shift in the Earth’s gravity
led to the extinction of all the larger dinosaur species. Their bodies couldn’t handle the
changes that came with the stronger gravitational pull and they were basically pinned to the
ground. What caused the alleged shift in gravity is still a matter of debate. Some have connected
it to the expanding Earth theory, which suggests the planet has been expanding or contracting
throughout its history. Number 5 Going Blind
In the early 1980s, ophthalmologist L. R. Croft suggested that the dinosaurs went extinct
because of cataract blindness. He claimed that many of the structures that dinosaurs,
such as Triceratops or Ankylosaurus, had on their heads were meant to protect them from
sunlight. In Croft’s theory, horns and crests were actually shields that sheltered dinosaurs’
eyes from the ruthless Mesozoic sun. However, this adaptation eventually succumbed to rising
temperatures towards the end of the Mesozoic. Dinosaurs started going blind before they
reached sexual maturity which basically put an end to their breeding efforts.
Number 4 Pandemic The late Cretaceous period saw the development
of symbiotic relationships between flying insects and various pathogens. One study revealed
that mosquitoes that had been preserved in amber and dated back roughly 65 million years
were carriers of malaria. Dinosaurs supposedly had weaker immunity to these diseases and
became fatally ill when they were bitten by insects. In the pandemic theory, species that
weren’t involved in the mass dying off were eventually lost in the asteroid impact. This
supposedly explains the disappearance of marine species that likely wouldn’t have been affected
by the same pathogens as those on land. Number 3 Caterpillars Ate Their Food
Entomologist Stanley Flanders wrote a paper in the 1960s proposing that the dinosaurs
were brought to extinction by caterpillars. His theory was that moths and butterflies
evolved in absence of a natural predator. Therefore, their caterpillars would have consumed
vast amounts of vegetation uninterrupted. Herbivorous dinosaurs needed to eat a lot
of plant material to maintain their enormous weight. So, as the caterpillars wrought havoc
on their food sources, the herbivores basically starved to death. The carnivores soon followed
since they didn’t have anything to hunt anymore except each other. It would have taken
only a few years of extreme plant scarcity for the dinosaurs to disappear. Birds evolved
from theropods, meaning they’re in the same family as the T-Rex. Yet, unlike their massive
cousin, they survived the extinction event by learning to prey on the caterpillars.
Number 2 Egg Problems There are a few theories suggesting that dinosaurs
became extinct because of problems with their eggs. One theory claims that more and more
animals developed a taste for freshly produced dinosaur eggs and that breeding females simply
couldn’t keep up with predation. This wouldn’t be abnormal animal behavior since egg-eating
has been practiced for hundreds of millions of years. Another theory claims that a genetic
mutation gradually caused the eggshell layer to become either too thin, thus making the
embryos vulnerable, or too thick, meaning hatchlings couldn’t kick their way out anymore.
Without any fresh blood to replenish their ranks, it wouldn’t have taken a long time
for the dinosaurs to die out entirely. So, which creature survived what the dinosaurs
couldn’t? The right answer is b, the crocodile. These reptiles are believed to have remained
largely the same for about 200 million years. The K-Pg extinction event caused drastic weather
changes that crocodiles most likely survived due to their burrowing and hibernation habits.
Additionally, they’re highly effective hunters, will eat just about anything and can go without
a large meal for a long time. They have excellent immune systems, produce many offspring and
tend to dominate their semi-aquatic habitats. Number 1 Aliens Wiped Them Out
Some ancient alien theorists have proposed an alternative explanation to the K-Pg extinction
event. It’s highly unlikely that humans would have thrived alongside giant hyper-carnivorous
predators, at least not within the current timeframe of several millennia. The theory
is that extraterrestrial beings exterminated the dinosaurs to give humanity a better evolutionary
chance. Some versions claim that the dinosaurs had been genetically engineered by aliens
in the first place, as an experiment. Opinions vary on how the extermination was carried
out. Various propositions include a super-virus, weather-tampering, poisoning the atmosphere
or using a gravitational device to redirect an asteroid towards our planet. The decision
was supposedly made after these beings had been monitoring the Earth for a long time.
They have since intervened to guide humanity’s progress from its humble hunter-gatherer beginnings
to becoming the planet’s most dominant species. Thanks for watching! Would you rather that
science evolved to the point where it could genetically bring back dinosaurs or to the
point where you could go back in time and see them in their natural habitats? Let us
know in the comments below!