What Really Killed the Dinosaurs?

Scientists often have a pretty good idea of what’s going on, but views can change over time as we learn more about the natural world. Aristotle was hot stuff in ancient Greece and for centuries afterward, but Isaac Newton came along and suddenly made life more difficult for middle school students. Aristotle described physics through his observations, but Newton knew there was more going on (like friction) than meets the eye.

Or consider dinosaur extinction. One common theory is that a comet or meteor impact –or series of impacts— led to climate change that eventually wiped out the dinosaurs. However, other theories suggest that the cause was not so catastrophic. Perhaps changes in the earth itself over time caused an environment unsuitable for dinosaurs. Both excessive volcano eruption and continental drift could have altered the climate.

But wait! There’s more! It’s possible that scientists will develop new ideas about this issue in the future. The extinction of the dinosaurs is a fact, but birds, mammals and small reptiles survived. Why? If a massive climate change killed off the dinosaurs, how did other organisms survive? Questions, questions…always more questions…don’t you just love science?