Talk:Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2

Deccan Traps section

"Other scientists think the extensive volcanic activity in India known as the Deccan Traps may have been responsible for, or contributed to, the extinction. However, paleontologists remained skeptical, as their reading of the fossil record suggested that the mass extinctions did not take place over a period as short as a few years, but instead occurred gradually over about ten million years, a time frame more consistent with massive volcanism. There was also a certain general distrust of a group of physicists intruding into their domain of expertise."

I don't see quite how this makes sense. Paleontologists are sceptical of the gradual-extinction massive volcanism theory caused by the Deccan Traps because their information points to a gradual extinction? It then goes on to say how they slowly came to accept a rapid extinction theory such as meteor impact instead of the slow-extinction Deccan Traps one. I'm not sure quite what whoever wrote this means to say, so I haven't changed it, but someone should make it clearer. --Orborde 05:20, 19 May 2005 (UTC)


Deleted long uneeded footnote quote about Shiva crater. The reference is there as a link for those interested. Also deleted slanderous garbage from previous discussion comment above. We can be civil here. -Vsmith 18:26, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Someone may want to place a link page for KT boundry to this site.

I removed a list of explanations. This appears to have been shamelessly ripped off from this page. --LMS

Can anyone tell me exactly (ok, roughly will do!) how long the dino-extinction took please? Deni.

"K-T" is on most of the redirects to Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, and that seems logical since it is abbreviating something hyphenated. (It's the head of what i used in my attempt to find the article.)

Yet "KT" is used twice in the first 'graph. Is that bcz the pros use KT, or is it just a guess that no one has fixed? --Jerzy 22:26, 2004 Feb 20 (UTC)

Actually, i now see that "K-T" is used in the 4th- and 3rd-to-last 'graphs, which sound more knowledgable. I'll change the KT references soon if no one responds, since the article is self-contradictory. --Jerzy 22:32, 2004 Feb 20 (UTC)

Didn't the orignal Alvarez paper concern specifically Gubbio, Italy? IIRC, the evidence became "worldwide" at a later date. --Jerzy(t) 05:42, 2004 Apr 29 (UTC)

Use of the Alvarez K-T extinction model as de facto is not warranted. The same mechanism would need to be invoked to explain other mass extinctions such as the Permian (whose process profiles do not so easily accord with an impact diagnosis). Presumably, those disappearing species which heralded the extinction process several million years prior to the K-T boundary must have used sophisticated astrometric instrumentation to see the asteroid coming, frightening themselves out of existence. Occam’s razor should dictate the more likely probability of gradual but heavy volcanism and subsequent environmental change. Evidence for this prosaic alternative is much easier to come by than a largely transatlantic led indulgence for a Hollywoodised disaster scenario. Work on other external impositions on the terrestrial environment, by MacClean and others, also deserve more merit - despite the lack of the PR machine afforded the Alvarez clan.

It is also no accident that an asteroidal impact theory prospers in a nation keen on indulging strategic defence on an industrial scale.

Steve Ringwood

Well said, indeed, Steve. The problem is that whereas you have sound reasoning on your side, you are opposed by tons of lurid magazine covers showing asteroids hitting the earth with dinosaurs in the foreground plus a dozen films with the same premise. The real science got lost in this a long time ago - which forgive me seemed to happen on a regular basis in any undertaking where Gould was involved.

If people wonder why this issue was so important to clarify instead of obfuscating, it is that our planet seems to be undergoing similar climate changes right now directly related to magnetic fields and volcanism, especially on the deepest part of the ocean floor. The Alvarez-Gould circus of Lysenkian proportions may very well have left mankind stunned like mullets when they should have been preparing themselves for the possible onset of a second Ice Age.

I'm sure Steven J. Gould would be happy that his legacy will consist not only of derailing anthropology for the past thirty years but also being instrumental in the deaths of millions of people in the Northern hemisphere who were watching the skies for theatrical cosmic intruders when they should have been keeping their eyes right down here on the planet around them instead, where the real action was.

(effeminate crypto communist edited these comments to make them more thought neutral) 13 Nov 2004

- Cleve Blakemore

Whence the K?

Geologists' abbreviating of the Cretaceous period by "K" reflects the need to avoid ambiguity: the more obvious "C" would also be the natural first choice for the "Carboniferous" period.

That makes no sense: K is just as ambiguous as C. Actually, the K stands for Kreide, the German term for Cretaceous. Geology was happening in Germany when the term was coined back in the 19th century.
Herbee 12:50, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Others attribute the K to the Greek "Kreta" which was a natural alternative to the Latin "Creta". Both of which mean chalk and latin/greek were still all the rage at the time. Incidentally, the name Cretaceous was first proposed by Jean-Baptiste-Julien d'Omalius d'Halloy in 1822 in relation to sections in France.
Dragons flight 15:17, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

There is vandalism in the footnote section under the first entry: ""Tertiary" (commonly known as horse shit)." I would have changed it myself, but for some reason, wikipedia wouldn't let me. Thanks (talk) 06:00, 13 March 2008 (UTC) -Brad

Search Problem

Listening to Melvin Bragg's programme on Radio 4 ( today (23 June 2005), I wanted to read more on the discussion topic, 'KT Boundary'. On typing in 'KT Boundary' in the search box, I got nothing in the first four or five pages that would have taken me there, even though there's a 'Category:KT boundary'. Being still fairly new to Wikipedia, I don't know how to set up synonyms for the proper article. --MaxHund 08:42, 2005 Jun 23 (UTC)

Not sure why that wouldn't return the correct article, because KT boundary and K-T boundary both redirect to this page, and normally the search takes you directly to the relevant article if the title matches the search query.
If you want to make redirects, it's quite simple - if you want article A to redirect the reader to article B, then just type #REDIRECT [[article B]] in article A - you can see what I mean here. Worldtraveller 09:07, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Supernova hypothesis section

Er, this section says, "The radiation from a supernova explosion should contain the plutonium isotope Pu-244," emphasis mine. This is kind of confusing. Are we saying that Pu-244 would be thrown off by the explosion and hit the planet, or are we saying the radiation would create Pu-244? Or is there some use of the word "radiation" that I'm confused about? -GregoryWeir 13:31, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Pu-244 would be present in material ejected from a supernova; it is distinct from the supernova's radiation which would not include Pu; nor do I think such radiation would normally create it even at relatively near proximity to a supernova. The sentence was probably meant to read "The fallout from a supernova explosion should contain the plutonium isotope Pu-244," and I've changed the article to reflect that. --User:Jeffmedkeff | Talk 22:46, 30 November 2005 (UTC)


Perhaps a pointer could be added to the image of the KT boundary to assist the reader's non-geologist eye to what feature exactly we should be looking at here? --Deglr6328 18:41, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

It would also be nice to know the geographic location of the photo. Vsmith 23:05, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, taken in badlands near Drumheller, and will add that; however, I can not recall which black mark is the KT Boundary, and don't have enough skill to identify. Need someone of greater skill to put arrow line to identify.Glenlarson (UTC)

(also written in the pertinent image discussion page) I'm a closet geologist, but I strongly think that the KT boundary does not appear in drumheller. This picture does appear to be possibly from drumheller or dinosaur provincial park, however both areas contain older sediments (where dinosaur bones would be common). Eastend saskatchewan, 400 or so km southeast, has a perfect roadside view of the boundary. Much of that area was spared glaciation and the more superficial KT boundary remains. I suggest a picture of this be uploaded in place of the current picture. (Which is a beautiful badlands shot but does not show the KT boundary). If this picture does include the KT boundary, it isn't from drumheller and the caption should say so


Should we change the layout to more accurately organize the page? I suggest the page be layed out like this:

1 Casualties of the extinction
2 Theories
2.1 Impact event and iridium
2.2 Chicxulub crater
2.3 Deccan traps
2.4 Multiple impact event
2.5 Supernova hypothesis
3 Further skepticism
4 Other mass extinctions
5 References and external links

Phaldo 18:47, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I have gone ahead and modified the headers to how I was suggesting. I saw the KT event article on the Portuguese wikipedia site and noticed that page was done how I was thinking, so I went ahead and made the necessary changes. Phaldo 00:31, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Small flaw in the KT event being caused by an impact

I would guess that an impact crater, such as the one in the Yucatan, would send tsunamis onto any adjoining or possibly distant landmasses. Wouldn't that landmass exhibit some unusual fossil formations, meaning aquatic animals (from large to small) showing up in what would be generally considered dry areas? I never know how good the fossil record is, so maybe we cannot know this, or maybe it just hasn't been discovered yet. I've got to say, if some credible source could show aquatic fossils inland by sever kilometers, that would be some strong proof of an impact event rather than some terrestrial event such as the Deccan Traps. OrangeMarlin 00:01, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

We do have tsunami deposits in North America. Dragons flight 04:05, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I saw on a special on the Discover Channel where one of the scientist from the original team that found the Yucatan crater had made an interesting discovery about 100KM from the edge of that crater in Mexico. Between the KT boundary and the iridium layer was something like 10 feet of sandstone. In that sandstone were fossil remains of aquatic worms and crabs that were only found in the ocean. The theory was that the sand could have only come from the ocean and got there from the tsunami caused by the impact. once the water receeded, all that sand was left and then the "asteroid fallout" fell on top of that. I could be wrong on the details for I didn't exactly write it down while watching it, but that's pretty much how it was explained. Hope this helps. Buggsbuny 00:58, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Global Firestorms?

"A global firestorm may have resulted as incendiary fragments from the blast fell back to Earth. Analyses of fluid inclusions in ancient amber suggest that the oxygen content of the atmosphere was very high (30-35%) during the late Cretaceous [1]. This high O2 level would have supported intense combustion. The level of atmospheric O2 plummeted in the early Tertiary period."

I softened this from "A global firestorm" to "Global firestorms." Is this just speculation or is there some credible theory? If so I'd like to see some reference to it. I'm a layperson but I'm skeptical to the idea that the earth, due to high oxygen content, was like a powderkeg just waiting for a match to initiate a conflagration. There are plenty of natural firestarters: lightning storms in particular, plus lesser asteroid strikes, or spontaneous combustion of rotting material (which would be much more common back then, given 35% O2). These would cause natural fires and prevent things from reaching the point where flammable material was abundant enough to support a global firestorm. The high O2 level would simply lower the threshold between what's flammable and what's not. Lightning fires would burn off all the flammables, just as they do today if not prevented.

"Plummeted" is a relative probably didn't happen overnight. The asteroid impact theory implies widespread reduction in living plants (food for the dinosaurs) due to the global dust cloud. Any such reduction must have been drastic to bring about extinctions, otherwise a few pockets of dinosaurs would survive and reproduce. This massive die-off in plant life would account for the oxygen level decrease, since plants are the primary source of atmospheric O2.

As I said I'm no expert. I have no idea whether Alvarez' theory is correct; but I'm not buying the global-firestorm idea. without a credible source. If there's no referencable discussion of this from a reputable source I think the paragraph should be removed. Shyland 03:40, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

It is a real theory, from some time in the late 80s. Aside from the fact that the impact definitely would have started fires and soot is found in a great many K/T boundary sections, I'm not aware of anyone who presently takes the rest of that (i.e. the oxygen bits) seriously. Dragons flight 04:10, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
OK good enough. Shyland 17:54, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Saw it on one of the many Discover Channels I get with DirecTV. Sorry, but don't remember name or channel, but it was late August 06. Had Gerta (was that her name?), the scientist (also a professor at some Ivy league school) who originally challanged the whole asteroid theory and then the guy who actually came up the with theory and found the crater in Yucatan. These two just hammered at each other, it was quite comical. Anyway, being that these two were on the show, I can say it must be credible. There was also another femal professor on the show (British accent - sorry dont know her name) who dug in the KT boundary all over the world looking for charcoal. The theory was that if there was a large global firestorm, there would be charcoal all over the KT boundary throughout the world. They found some soot, but no charcoal. So in their opinion, their could not have been a mass burning for what happened to all the organic material if it didn't turn to charcoal? Maybe I am simplifying it, but this was the theory presented. Buggsbuny 00:51, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

the documentary is "What really killed the dinosaurs" a UKTV Documentary production. It is quite a dry, but well paced documentary, much better than other American productions that I have viewed. It does however feature prominant geologists discussing a large meteor impact whilst casually mentioning that there was a lot of volcanism around this time! Well Duh! A massive release of energy into a tectonic plate would surely cause a chain reaction where any energy stored up in surrounding fault lines or nearby volcanic systems would be released .

Though most likely, the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event wasn't necessarily caused by an asteroid. This article mentions scepticisms, but has few alternatives. On the website, they have a pie chart ( showing possible reasons for the extinction event. I'd put that in this article, but I don't know where it would go, or what kind of copywrite it would have. Any ideas?

Birds are listed as being both significantly effected and minimally effected. Clarification? Coops71 15:54, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

The article says that Enantiornithes and Hesperornithiformes became extinct but the groups which were ancestral to modern birds seem to have survived reasonably well. Enantiornithes and Hesperornithiformes were not the ancestors of any modern birds. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Philcha (talkcontribs) 23:51, 22 December 2006 (UTC).

1.5 years on and still just as uninformative

Still the article (after my original complaint in Aug '05 above) gives no indication anywhere in the text, anywhere in the captions or anywhere in the talk or description pages of the images themselves as to just what in the heck the reader is looking at when he/she views these supposed images of the KT boundary at the top of the page. I argue now, that without indication of the KT boundary either in caption or within the image as an arrow or something, anything, that they are useless to the reader and merit removal from the article. The current images are equivalent to uploading this [1] image to the article on New York State without any further supplementary information and simply captioned it "New York". Its simply unacceptable. --Deglr6328 08:38, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The pics are useless to non-geologists, while geologists would need much more detailed pics.Philcha 13:14, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I made a modified image (added a line marking the boundary, based on the info and photos here, but I can't seem to get it to display - can someone who is smarter with images than I am help? Many thanks - Geologyguy 16:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I see the changes you made to my pic; they are showing up here. Thanks for doing that! Nationalparks 18:30, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Great, must be my cache or something. Thanks for the original photo - I hope I credited the original correctly and adequately in the modified one, if not please fix it in whatever way you would want it to be - I definitely don't claim anything for just putting that line on it!! cheers Geologyguy 18:49, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, you can try clearing your cache. I updated the new image's page so that the old image doesn't have to show full size, reducing server load. Nationalparks 19:37, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
The extra line in the Trinidad Lake pic doesn't help - it looks artificial and there's no explanation. I suggest: (a) drop the Trinidad Lake pic as it's just too small; (b) use the left half of the Drumheller pic and replace the right side with a set of labels pointing to the "normal" latest Cretaceous sediments, the boundary clay, the iridium and / or charcoal layer at the boundary, and the earliest Tertiary sediments. I expect (b) can only be done by a geologist - any volunteers?Philcha 19:47, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I added an explanation for the line on the caption. On the full-size image, it is easy to see the thin white bed that marks the break - that was how I figured out where it must be, by comparing to the pics in the USGS site referenced above (and also why I didn't draw the line all the way across, so that one could see the rocks there). I don't know anything about the Drumheller area, can't help there... Anyway, if y'all decide the pics are still uninformative, do what you will. (Maybe lift some of the images from that USGS site? I think they are all black & white, but maybe useful) Cheers, Geologyguy 20:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
2560x1920 should be plenty big (that's how big the Trinidad Lake pic is, if you click on it to show full-res). Nationalparks 20:58, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

K-T Boundary

Hej! On the picture KT_boundary_054, is the K-T boundary the "gray" area between the "black" and the "green"? Ljohank 19:11, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Per the discussion above, we don't know - that's why some suggested that this image should be deleted. We need either the original photographer, or someone familiar with the boundary in the area where the photo was taken, to help. Geologyguy 19:41, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Oopps! I should have read it. Thanks anyway! Ljohank 19:46, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I am the original photographer of the Trinidad picture. The white line was marked by User:Geologyguy based on this page, especially on this picture. Nationalparks 20:59, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi Nationalparks, I thought he was referring to the other pic, from Alberta, which still needs some indication of the K-T position. Is that one yours too? Cheers Geologyguy 21:15, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, that one isn't mine... Nationalparks 22:33, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

A sentence

According to the article, one of the extinction patterns is that: "Organisms which depended on photosynthesis became extinct or suffered heavy losses. And so did organisms whose food chain depended on photosynthesising organisms."

Am I missing something? Just how many types of organisms do not ultimately depend on photosynthesising organisms? Apart from chemoautotrophic bacteria, that is :). -- 17:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe "Organisms which directly depended on..." woluld help a bit. This excludes the detritus-based species, as their food was photosynthesised many years, decades (or even more) befor the event. -- 13:53, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Small Predatory Dinosaurs Missing

Has it ever been suggested that large dinosaurs, both carnivorous and herbivorous, became cannibalistic due to a lack of vegetation? Would it explain the lack of fossils and presence of teeth if they became the last food source of large dying reptiles? War machine09 06:42, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Not to my knowledge. And animals cannot simply switch diet arbitraily. Most need a very specific diet and cannot digest anything else. Humans (and pigs) are the exception rather than the norm in this. --Stephan Schulz 16:19, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Misleading asteroid impact illustration

The 'Artistic depiction of asteroidal impact' shows an asteroid that is much too big, compared to the estimated size given in the article. In the illustration, the asteroid is about 200 km in diameter, roughly 20 times too wide. An impact of such a large asteroid would cause a lot more damage than the one that caused the K-T extinction event: assuming the impact still occurred at the same speed, the energy released would be 8000 times as much (20x20x20), probably causing an extinction of all life on earth (even destroying the entire bacterial population, since the crust of the whole planet would be nearly liquefied). I understand it's only an illustration, so maybe I'm just being picky? Pierre Rioux 17:28, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

This comment is no longer relevant, as it referred to a picture that is no longer in the page (the current 'artistic depiction' is fine). Glad to see this article made it as a featured article. Pierre Rioux (talk) 00:56, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Alvarez Hypothesis=Impact Event?

Is the section titled 'Alvarez Hypothesis' a summary of Impact event? ~Sushi 06:12, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Too many lists?

This article is full of bulleted lists, many of which should probably be converted into paragraphs. It is a bit excessive. --Tom (talk - email) 16:49, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Almost all the bulleted text has now been converted to prose; I've left the last set of bullets, as it enumerates the list of extinction theories. The rest of the bulleted lists are gone, and in fact, there was no need for them in the first place, as often even two items were presented as lists. I think the next step should be to combine short sections (such as the section on how land life was affected and the section on how marine life was affected). Firsfron of Ronchester 14:27, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I've been searching a few articles, and I was thinking that those sections could be boosted with more information rather than combining them. It's Father's Day out here in the US of A, so I'm going to hang out, get treated like a KIng for a couple of hours (until everyone starts whining), then I'll try to add in my edits this evening. The article is about 200% better than it was two days ago! Orangemarlin 14:38, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, then we'll expand the sections. Sounds good. Happy Father's Day, OM! :) Firsfron of Ronchester 16:31, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Why are we including two URLs, like in the first red diff, here? Firsfron of Ronchester 06:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Because I had a margarita in one hand, editing with the other? Actually, I missed the first link, because I was trying to figure out the doi number. But the link you reverted (and for punishment you have to go edit Living dinosaurs for a day) was actually to the whole article, while the link you kept was for the abstract. I'll let you revert, with a long explanation on how I rule. Orangemarlin 12:43, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I have switched to your URL, as I guess it's the full paper. And I included a note about how you rule. But I'm not spending a day editing Living dinosaurs until you do the full WP:DINO member initiation, editing the lovely dinosaur articles about bits of wood mistaken for dinosaurs. Firsfron of Ronchester 13:09, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Dinosaur diversity

The sentence "There was no obvious reduction in dinosaur diversity, not even in the latest part of the Maastrichtian (Fastovsky and Sheehan 1995 and later papers)." sends some alarm bells off in my head. Although this may have been the finding of Fastovsky and Sheehan, I don't think this is a majority view (or at least there is considerable debate about this still in the paleontological community). Firsfron of Ronchester 06:59, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Reads like another undue weight issue (this article has many). If the prevailing wisdom is that the sky is blue, and there is one paper saying it is green, I'm not sure it's even worthy of an encyclopedia article to even mention green. In fact, and I don't pretend to play a paleontologist, it is not the view that I know. Fastovsky and Sheehan's works need to be researched a bit more to see if it's been debunked, especially in the ensuing 12 years. Orangemarlin 14:52, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth I think the Fastovsky and Sheehan paper is correctly linked in the references, and is 2005 rather than 1995 [2] As far as I can tell in that paper they mostly just express a difference of opinion - based on the poor data -- that the diversity decline seen is simply normal variation. They don't seem to me to be particularly adamant about it. Cheers Geologyguy 16:12, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Stumbled in

Hi, while I'm a fairly new editor and just stumbled over here from checking out the project page, I had Prof Alvarez as an undergrad shortly after wide disemmination of the theory based on irridium. The article seems pretty good actually, I had expected (based on other wikiexpiereince) there to be pages of awful arguement about nothing substantive. my only comments really would be to go over the whole thing slowly and make sure that all the refs. say what you indicate, and to link the summary of theories, comination of theories section to some refs. Keep up the good work! --Rocksanddirt 03:59, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

What happened?

The article disappeared from my watch list. Did I do something to offend the dying dinosaurs? Orangemarlin 09:35, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I moved the page, from Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event to Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, because WP:MOSDASH states that En-dashes are used "To convey the sense of “to” or “through”, particularly in ranges (“pp. 211–19”, “64–75%”, “the 1939–45 war”, “May–November”) and where movement is involved (“Dublin–Belfast route”)." The move caused the page to not be on your watchlist anymore. It also caused many pages to be redirected to the new page. I've just now fixed all the double redirects, but I did not fix the regular redirects. Firsfron of Ronchester 09:47, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
I just saw that. How do you find which pages redirect to an article? I can't believe you just went through and added all of those last night!!!! Or morning (depending on where you are located--actually I don't know where you are located). Orangemarlin 18:16, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
The toolbox on the left-hand side has a link called "what links here". It gives a list of articles that link to the article you're working on. If you notice that a redirect page has redirects going to it, those will be double redirects: a redirect that points to another redirect (bad). The software only redirects once and the software will not follow the second redirect, in order to prevent infinite loops, so the poor reader ends up at a redirect instead of an article. Whenever an admin moves a page, s/he should check for double redirects, and fix them accordingly. Of course, anyone can change a redirect. I am in Arizona, for the record. :) Firsfron of Ronchester 18:28, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
On second thought, looking at your edit summary (Whew. I thought I did something wrong, or you permanently banned me from the article!!!!), maybe an apology is in order, OM. I do apologize: I didn't realize that moving the article to this slightly different title would cause so much confusion. You didn't do anything wrong, of course, and even if you had, I have no power to ban you from the article (only ArbCom, Jimbo, WMF, or the community can ban users). Bans (and blocks) also don't affect watchlists. I had to laugh at the thought that you put so much work into this article, and then worried you were suddenly "banned" from it, though. Firsfron of Ronchester 19:09, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
If I really thought I was banned, I certainly would have left you a nastygram!!!! I was kidding. This project (meaning Wikipedia) has got to be the most complicated set of things that I've ever seen. I couldn't figure out why it disappeared from my watchlist, so I did a small edit just to see if it showed up. I didn't know about the what links here link. I'm going to check it out! Orangemarlin 19:26, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

GAC result

Partly reviewed by someone else. the page gets the result now.

  • Well-written: Yes
  • Comprehensive: Yes
  • Images: All satisfactory
  • Sources: Brilliant
  • Neutrality: Full
  • Stability: " "
  • RESULT: Pass Vikrant Phadkay 16:30, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Review Comments for considering Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event for 'Good Article' status

Firstly, I must say that this is a really good article and an important article for Wikipedia. It is developed and mature, well referenced, seems quite complete in its coverage and well-organised. Please see my detailed comments below.

GAC criteria

This is how the article fares with respect to the Good article criteria:

  1. Well Written - Yes. But please address certain points listed below.
  2. Factually accurate & verifiable - Yes.
  3. Broad in its coverage - Yes.
  4. Neutral - Yes.
  5. Stable - Yes.
  6. Images have acceptable copyright status - In progress of checking. Will give you feedback later, (basically due to dead-slow internet problems).
Images are OK.AshLin 13:16, 18 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done


  • Firstly, the introduction, though generally well-written, does not conform to the requirement that it summarise the entire article. This is a major weakness at the moment. For a Long article, we need a reasonably structured introduction which includes in a line or phrase, each of the section headings and written so as to give the reader a gist of the article. This is a MUST for readers who just want a summary to understand whats its all about without getting into all the details! Especially in this case where the article is written in a scientific tone which is difficult for the reader to comprehend. Hence the summary must be rewritten in simpler language with the sections remaining in a more scientific tone.
You've linked to "what is a featured article". We have not submitted this article to Featured Article Candidacy. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:38, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree. I know that this fine article is capable of and deserves to reach 'FA'. I also know that it has capable and motivated editors who I hope will soon push it to FA. So I took the liberty of giving this point. You may of course choose to do this now or during pre-FA peer review or not at all. I wont hold this point against GA, if you feel it does not need to be done now.AshLin 13:30, 18 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done
  • What is a 'geological signature'? The common man doesnt know that, so we should either provide a wikilink for it or replace it with an explantory phrase instead.
Fixed. Orangemarlin 00:29, 18 July 2007 (UTC) YesY Done
  • In the introduction the following sentance while technically correct makes clumsy reading :
With a few possible exceptions, there are no non-avian dinosaur fossils that are found later than the K–T boundary, and it appears that all went extinct during or shortly after the event.'
The normal guy gets confused so did dinosaurs get extinct or not? Or only avian or non-avian? Please make it a simple statement in the intro. Keep this difficult english for the main sections.
"Most, if not all, non-avian dinosaurs became extinct" <- a direct quote from the article. I don't know how to make it any simpler than that. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:38, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
I rewrote the intro, so hopefully it reads a lot clearer now. Orangemarlin 00:29, 18 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done

Lead section

  • A problem with the article is that it straight away heads into the extinction pattern. Logically an opening section is provided which discusses the general setting of the event in geological time with details of the extinction event and its importance/relevance to evolution/extinction. This puts the present sections (from 'Extinction pattern' to 'Cause of K-T extinction event') in perspective. Now you may feel that I am advocating repitition here and that the intro is doing the same thing; but the intro summarises the wiki while the leading section deals with the subject in context in detail, and sets up the scope for the succeeding sections. I feel this is required for a subject for which people are interested in but dont know much about, which quickly goes into technicalese and has much speculative or contradicting theories in ciculation. The present sections discuss an aspect of the subject in detail, but the K-T extinction event collectively and holistically is not discussed in detail anywhere.
  • Since K-T boundary redirects here, this first lead section could explain what it is and the image of the boundary needs to be included here.
I believe I've made the suggestions here. It does read better. OrangemarlinYesY Done

Section 'Extinction patterns'

  • Now IMHO most people coming to the article would come here due to interest in either the extinction of dinosaurs or in the Alvarez hypothesis. Should this be reasonably correct, they would scan the section for mention of the word 'dinosaur' but would not find it!
    • It definitely needs to discuss the extinction pattern of dinosaurs first and in a couple of prominent sentances.
    • Similarly in the subsection dealing with 'Terrestrial reptiles', the dinosaurs need to come first and with more details; else the article would be neglecting an important area and would fall afoul of GA 3(a) and FA criteria 1 (b). The present single (slightly obscure) sentance is not adequate.
    • The subsection on 'Terrestrial reptiles' should come first before 'Microbiota'. Or the sequence of subsections should be as per precendence of primitive to more advanced, with microbiota and plants preceding animalia.

YesY Done

I'm going to disagree on a few points here. First, the extinction of the dinosaurs is mentioned several times. But it really isn't the most important thing that happened at the K-T event. Many dinosaur families were already in decline prior to the boundary. I guess from a purely scientific POV, I'd say the other organisms that perish are much more fascinating. In addition, starting at Microbiota and working up was from the perspective of going from smallest to largest. I'll rework the Reptile section. Orangemarlin 00:36, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Seconded. And we were specifically told by a geologist not to overemphasize the dinosaurs in this article: they are important, but they were only a small part of the K-T floral and faunal extinctions. I'm not sure why they should come first, or why the order should be from most "primitive" to least (and you'd probably catch hell from a paleontologist for using the dreaded "P" word!). Firsfron of Ronchester 01:10, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I see your viewpoints. Since my viewpoint was that of the reader (I'm basically an editor, not a reviewer or admin) I feel that a little subtle emphasising of dinosaurs so as to make them easier to find plus satisfy a dinolovers craving wont hurt. I would recommend that, but I leave it up to you. As far as sequence is concerned, I felt that a logical sequence is better than no sequence so I suggested one. Sorry, I didnt notice the size sequence. Consider the point dropped. BTW I come from a different part of the world and a very different culture, so I didnt understand the bit about a paleontologist giving me hell. Would you please enlighten me?AshLin 13:09, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm not even close to being a dinosaur person. I think the last time I studied anything about dinos was reading Jurassic Park 15 years ago!!!! My personal interest in this article is more along the line Evolution. Extinction events are fascinating engines behind speciation and evolution. From a geological standpoint, it's an incredible story. From the non-avian dinosaur POV, the K-T boundary is fairly important. From a geologist, evolutionary biologist, and mammalian biology POV, the K-T event is on the top 5 list of topics. It's interesting what survived the K-T event and what didn't. We wouldn't be here writing Wikipedia if not for the K-T event, because mammals would have stayed as small omnivores hiding in the forest. In fact, birds were the top predator for millions of years after the K-T event. Pretty fascinating stuff.  :) Orangemarlin 23:26, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Who can say what the world would look like now if there hadn't been a K-T extinction event? Maybe we'd be bowing down before our dinosaur overlords, but dinosaurs were already in a state of decline at the very end of the Cretaceous. It's interesting to note, as OM has, that giant predatory birds like Diatryma and the Terror birds thrived after the dinosaurs became extinct, but we probably killed off the last giant predatory birds like Harpagornis moorei and the rest of the giant megafauna (avian and otherwise) a thousand years ago, so it's hard to say we'd still be cowering in our caves... BTW, since the P-T event caused far more extinctions, it makes me wonder if we wouldn't all be hopping around right now from pond to pond if it hadn't been for the P-T extinctions... ;) Firsfron of Ronchester 04:29, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Bah, it was only a temporary reversal. They'd seen worse. J. Spencer 04:35, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Little green aliens from Alpha Centauri would have saved our DNA. I know that, because the book was given to me in my sleep a few years ago. I'm going to write a Wiki article about it soon. But the little voices in my head keep telling me that I need to go to Loch Ness and check out the last of the pleiosaurs. Orangemarlin 04:49, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
  • In a section in the talk page, the structure of the opening sentance is contested and a solution proposed. However this suggested action was not taken by any editor. The sentance below needs to be modified in light of the discussion.
Organisms which depended on photosynthesis became extinct or suffered heavy losses – from photosynthesing plankton (e.g. coccolithophorids) to land plants and organisms whose food chain depended on photosynthesising organisms....".
Clarified the paragraph. What do you think? Orangemarlin 23:49, 18 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done
  • In the text of the subsection 'Marine invertebrates' (given in italics below), the first sentance implies that contrasting examples will follow to demonstrate the variability. But only examples which were considerably affected are given with no contrasting examples where they were not affected or had little effect. Hence variability is not demonstrated satisfactorily. Either give the additional examples or rewrite the variability clause.
There is variability in the fossil record as to the extinction rate of marine invertebrates. For example, approximately 60% of Cretaceous coral genera failed to survive the K–T boundary.[12][13] Other invertebrate groups, including ammonoids (a group of shelled cephalopods), rudists (reef-building clams), and inoceramids (giant relatives of modern scallops), also became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.[14][7]
The writing was unclear. The fossil record for some of these organisms wasn't clear, but what we do know indicates almost every genera of marine invertebrate died out. A lot of it was probably because of reduction in phytoplankton resulting in reduction in prey. Orangemarlin 00:00, 19 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done
  • The chart captioned 'Apparent fraction of genera going extinct at any given time, as reconstructed from the fossil record' does not appear to have any connection with the section and is neither explained in the text nor referred to. To me, this chart seems superfluous here and probably is more suited in an article on comparison of different extinction events. Of course, I may be wrong, in that case please rewrite the text so that the chart is referred to in the text, explained and made relevant to the article.
The chart shows marine genera extinctions throughout prehistory, including the Cretaceous, while the text discusses marine genera extinctions during the Cretaceous. I don't really get the disconnect, but I can try to make the link between the chart and the text more apparent. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:46, 17 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done
  • Is this spelling correct - nannoplankton?
Yes, of course it is. Firsfron of Ronchester 00:53, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
BTW I'm a electrical engineer, so I misunderstoond 'nanno' as a mis-spelt 'nano'. Just checking!AshLin 13:09, 18 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done

North American dinosaur extinctions

  • Needs rewriting. The opening sentence should bring out the relevance of the example. Something on the lines of...The proof of the extinction event can be deduced from the relative abundance of dinosaur taxa before the event and complete absence thereafter. The best evidence for richness of biodiversity in dinosaurs in North America can be seen in the fossils-bearing rocks...
  • In that case a reference is required to the complete absence of dinosaur taxa post-event. Now, this is important. This comparison would be a foundationary proof of the premise of the article - that there actually was a catastrophic extinction event in the short term which in effect caused the Cretaceous to transition into the Tertiary.
  • The text in the third paragraph about pollen needs to be brought into context also. How is the pollen concerned with the extinction of North American dinosaurs? Should it be in a different section? Or maybe add a lead sentance to place it into context...something like. .Post event, there was a major reduction in plant biomass and shift in the pattern of dominant plant species...
Tweaked the paragraphs per suggestions. I also reworked the section titles so that they make more sense as to what we're trying to say. I like how it reads now. Orangemarlin 00:36, 19 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done

Alvarez hypothesis

  • Some suggested wikifications - asteroid, isotope, detritus, aerosols, amber, greenhouse effect, chronostratigraphic...more can be found in the article.
Almost all of those words were already linked in the article. The only one which wasn't was aerosols, which now is. Firsfron of Ronchester 01:03, 18 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done
  • References needed here :
    • Global firestorms may have resulted as incendiary fragments from the blast fell back to Earth. Analyses of fluid inclusions in ancient amber suggest that the oxygen content of the atmosphere was very high (30–35%) during the late Cretaceous. This high O2 level would have supported intense combustion. The level of atmospheric O2 plummeted in the early Tertiary Period. If widespread fires occurred, they would have increased the CO2 content of the atmosphere and caused a temporary greenhouse effect once the dust cloud settled, and this would have exterminated the most vulnerable survivors of the 'long winter'.
Added reference. Tweaked the section to better fit the reference. Orangemarlin 00:52, 19 July 2007 (UTC)YesY Done

Deccan traps

  • Small cp ed -
The Deccan Traps would have caused extinction through several mechanisms, including the...YesY Done


  • The caption therein Craters found at the K-T boundary gives the impression that the boundary is a geographical line rather than an event in a timeline. It should read Craters from the K-T boundary or perhaps Craters formed at the time of the K-T extinction event.
It is both an event in a timeline and a geographical line (like the picture shows). Firsfron of Ronchester 22:32, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
I meant a map line. Gives the impression that the K-T boundary is something on a map like the 38th parallel or international boundary between two countries. Just wanted to let you know. This issue not being considered for GA.AshLin

A desired illustration

  • An exciting idea came to me - The best illustration A suitable illustration for this article would be a map showing the continental drift position at the time of the K-T event with the locations (estimated of course) of the craters, Deccan peninsula, Montana etc. This would give a better picture of the connectedness of events to the reader who otherwise would place events in the geographical context of the present. This would also help it on its way to FA status.A suggestion only. Not considered for GA status..AshLin
Good idea. Now where do we find one! One thing I've not learned how to do (well, I've not learned a lot of things, like last night someone explained to me what is and isn't a vandal) is how to upload images with all the appropriate legal issues resolved. Sounds difficult. Orangemarlin 16:56, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
It's not difficult, given a little time, and WP:DINO has an art staff willing to create such images. I may have the time in the next few days to put something together, and if not, the image creation team can certainly do it. Firsfron of Ronchester 18:08, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

A note aside

  • I intend to review the article after a week and hope the comments are addressed by then.
  • In addition to my comments, I have an issue with the article in general - that its a bit difficult for a normal person with non-scientific background to comprehend easily. An easier writing style would help the normal man who reads the article. I shall not be holding up this article for GA for this aspect, but I do feel that we should consider this aspect also.
  • I'm having severe internet problems, I have to travel to the nearest town for access and pay 40 bucks an hour. Still the speed there is abysmal, it takes me 20 minutes to download a page and it often times out before then. So I could not refer to any MOS pages, the many wikilinks in the article or search in the internet. I could not even check the image status. I find it diificult to even update the GAC page. It takes forever to download. So basically I saved the article, talk page and wikitext and worked two days offline on my computer. If I can just upload this also by cut and paste, I'll be happy. Please understand my constraints while considering my comments.

Regards, AshLin 16:13, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, I had internet problems so could'nt feed these earlier. I do not know if these are applicable any longer. But I leave my work for your benefit anyway. Regards, AshLin 16:13, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Some additional comments after your recent extensive editing

  • I could not understand the bolded text in the paragraph below. I got a little bit confused - were there two different kinds of ammonites? Or were there two extinctions? The gradual reduction of ammonites also appeared to appear twice, the second time being unnecessary.
The mass extinction of marine plankton appears to have been abrupt and right at the K–T boundary.[29] Ammonite genera became extinct at or near the K–T boundary along with a smaller and slower extinction of ammonites associated with a marine regression shortly before that. The gradual extinction of most inoceramid bivalves began well before the K–T boundary, and a small, gradual reduction in ammonite diversity occurred throughout the very late Cretaceous.[30] Further analysis shows that several processes were ongoing in the late Cretaceous seas and partially overlapped in time, which finished with the abrupt mass extinction.[30]

So I studied the text and this is what I think you are trying to say. Would this read better and still be accurate? :

The mass extinction of marine plankton appears to have been abrupt and right at the K–T boundary.[29] There was a small and slow extinction of ammonites associated with a marine regression preceding the K-T boundary followed by the complete and abrupt extinction of ammonite genera at the time of the event. The gradual extinction of most inoceramid bivalves also began well before the K–T boundary and occurred throughout the very late Cretaceous.[30] Further analysis shows that several processes were ongoing in the late Cretaceous seas and partially overlapped in time, which finished with the abrupt mass extinctions.[30]
I tweaked the paragraph further. The most important issue was that ammonites went extinct, but I followed it up with information about the slow extinction of genera up until the K-T boundary. There appears to be a lot of slow extinctions of other species of organisms right up until the boundary. As Firs has said before, a lot of species were in decline, and the K-T event pushed them over the edge. Orangemarlin 20:25, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
  • This paragraph sounds highly repetitive :
There is no evidence of K–T boundary extinctions of amphibians, and there is strong evidence that most amphibians passed through the event relatively unscathed.[7] Several in-depth studies of salamander genera in Montana fossil beds show that six out of seven genera passed through the K–T event unchanged.[17] Frog species appear to have passed through the K–T event with little extinction; however, the fossil record for many of the families of frogs is uneven.[7] An extensive survey of three genera of frogs in Montana show that all three passed through the K–T event apparently unchanged.[17] The data shows little or no evidence for extinction of amphibian families that bracket the K–T event.

Could we replace some of the 'passed through' phrases with other words such as 'survived' or 'were unaffected' or something like this? And replace a K-T event with something like transition or something more suitable. It would read better. (Aside - such nitpicking is very often seen on the FAC pages, where I got the idea from).

Actually, "passed through" is scientifically accurate, although I didn't notice how many times it was repeated. I've tweaked the paragraph. Orangemarlin 20:26, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Please consider stubbing marine regression, even one line would do. People are more inclined to develop stubs than red links. Following this practice over a period of time will help develop Wikipedia:WikiProject Extinction. It also makes the article look better. Not a GA point but why don't you do it anyway.

My last critical analysis. Your combined work so far has been great. The improvements to the article make me feel less of an ass for removing your GA nomination. Please respond to these last points so I can pass the article. Thanks in advance for both your contributions and cooperation to date. I enjoyed working on this article and learnt new things from you both for my own editing, namely use of {{cite}} besides other things. Brilliant referencing as Phadke said earlier. Regards,AshLin 13:48, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

P.S.  ;-) Firsfrons still hasn't enlightened little old politically incorrect me! AshLin

I never thought you were an ass. But GA and FA reviewers have a thankless job! I'll work on this today.  :) Orangemarlin 16:55, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
You shouldn't feel like an "ass", but we were confused as to what was going on, as there is a Good Article Review process for articles that don't or no longer meet the GA requirements. That, coupled with the link to WP:WIAFA, etc, worried me. Regarding "primitive/advanced": my understanding is that some paleontologists prefer to avoid these words. "Basal/derived" is often preferred because it's more PC, and some paleontologists like to use circular cladograms, as they don't imply progression to a more advanced state the way an upward-leading cladogram does. Firsfron of Ronchester 18:05, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, now! One lives and learns. I cant get access to books on science or technology in Binnaguri, much less attitudes, whims and fancies of certain disciplines of scientists. Internet is here but crawls. Recently its improved and I'm upto 30kbps now. Wikipedia is the main thing which feeds my curiousity. Reviewing GA has really brought me back in touch with my favourite topics of interest.AshLin 18:37, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Houston, we've achieved lift-off

Well done Bones and Firs, Katie is now a really good girl.AshLin 04:02, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! Don't laugh, but it took me a minute to figure out who Katie was. If you have other suggestions for improvement, please feel free to make them. Firsfron of Ronchester 11:23, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Yay! good work you'all. Now, what would need to be done to push it to Featured Article Status? Though maybe we should push on some others up to good first. --Rocksanddirt 16:52, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Firs, yer slow. And I thought all admins were intelligent, wise people. I shoulda known. Orangemarlin 17:27, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, well, all other admins are wise and intelligent. However, I got into the wrong lunch line, and no one noticed until it was too late. Firsfron of Ronchester 18:36, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I figured as much. You're also probably the real author of Living dinosaurs, but you've fooled us with lots of cool dino articles. I see your master plan to take over Wikipedia. Don't you presume I'm as slow as you are. Orangemarlin 18:42, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Badlands photo

The photo in the Badlands apparently shows the K-T boundary. Is it possible to indicate with an arrow where the boundary is? Thanks. Axl 08:37, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I couldn't do that unless I was at the location. Apparently, in the Hell's Creek area, it's easy to tell. Maybe the person who uploaded the picture to the project could point it out. Orangemarlin 12:41, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Alvarez Theory Section

I noticed that someone made a link to a separate article on the alvarez theory, however the text of the article is just about the same as the section in this article. Maybe the article could be expanded, and the section of this article simplified and linked to that one. --Rocksanddirt 17:58, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Sometimes people do that to start forked articles. The Alvarez theory article needs to be upgraded. This article probably already delves too much into the various theories. Orangemarlin 19:03, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Formating of references

I tried but failed to properly format the DOI's. In particular, citation #42, the DOI goes off of the page a little bit and creates horozontal scrolling. Wikidudeman (talk) 00:37, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Some of the DOI's use some strange formatting. I've worked to fix some of them. If we can't get them to work, we should remove the DOI's, despite making life very simple. Some of the articles may have PMID references, although usually PMID focuses on medical science. Orangemarlin 00:40, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Rampino and antipodal paragraph

Ok, I added a reference to it, but it was reverted. It appears that Rampino was not the first to wonder about this, but he did publish a poster about it at the 1993 AGU meeting. Does not seem to be a very substantial publication. I do wonder about the antipodal seismic focussing mechanism, but it must be remembered that we have essentially no data to look at. This all has to be done by computer simulation, which is plenty unreliable, especially when dealing with the continuum mechanical properties of material that we are unfamiliar with, in the mid and lower part of the crust, under extreme circumstances that we have never observed before. What about anisotropy of large amplitude waves? I would be less concerned about the paleogeography estimate that the antipodal point was "20% off" from the Deccan Traps, because of the lateral heterogeneity of the earth's crust, which can significantly alter travel times of seismic waves. In this case, we would be dealing with paleo lateral heterogeneities, which are even less certain than paleogeography. The current heterogeneous structure which has it largest components in the spherical harmonics of order 2 was only discovered in the last 20 years or so. And it has fairly large error bars. And other components of higher (and lower) order as well. What it might have been 65 million years ago is a bit speculative, to say the least. Also, it is not clear what the nature of the impact was. Was it a glancing blow? Was it a direct hit? These would excite different kinds of seismic waves, to be sure, and probably not seismic waves that are of uniform amplitude in all directions. The materials of the solid earth are not linear by any means, and there is no reason there is not some dispersive and amplitude-dependent effects involved here as well. So basically, the reversion I think is a bit naive, but I do not have any published studies to substantiate this comment at this point.--Filll 15:59, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
The biggest problem, as I pointed out in my suggested addition, is the uncertainty in the temporal coincidences. However, there are always difficulties and revisions to these temporal estimates, as indicated in the text of the article itself, and fairly large error bars, depending on the method that is used, the number and quality of samples tested, and so on. I do not think this is necessarily a show-stopper either, but I do not have a publication to demonstrate this at this point. The interesting part of this is the fact that the theory does exist and has been debated and has received considerable media attention. These are all verifiable. --Filll 16:03, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
It should be remembered, that when dealing with cutting edge science and theories, like this one, there will be loose ends. I think the value of WP compared to other encyclopediae is that it can go into detail on many more things, and at least provide links to alternative theories or interesting facts and debates that the reader can explore if they are interested. This makes WP far more valuable, since it suggests that science is not all neat and clean, particularly when it is fresh and new and not yet established firmly. Including this, with appropriate caveats, is exactly what WP should do.--Filll 16:08, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I guess my question would be: What does Rampino's theory have to do with the actual extinction event? I certainly has a place in the general articicle on the Deccan Traps, but is likely to much detail for this article (IMO). --Rocksanddirt 16:27, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, it was suggested in the early 1990s and largely refuted since then. It's not cutting edge. When it was suggested, people didn't have access to the compelling geochemistry information showing that Deccan started first, or to the paleoreconstruction data showing that Deccan was thousands of kilometers from the actual antipode. You'd be hard pressed to find advocates that this is much more than coincidence now. At best, Chicxulub stirred up an already erupting province, but you'd need a more recent reference for that. Yes, it is verifiable that people discussed this. Perhaps it was even a good idea at its time, but I don't consider advocating this to be a good reflection of current science. Dragons flight 16:33, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I think a sentence or two in both articles would be appropriate, with a couple of references. I can go into much more detail about why I think so:

1) Rampino was probably not the first to come up with this, but the media gives him credit and he did publish on it (a poster only, but still....)

2) The timing is obviously not well nailed down, so this is an open question. However, I would still suspect that this could easily be improved with more data and better techniques. Did we have a volcanic eruption that lasted many many years? Hmm...

3) The paleo geographical location objection is sort of bogus because seismic waves do not travel at the same rate in all directions, clearly. The reversion assumes a spherically symmetric laterally homogeneous isotropic earth, which is clearly incorrect. And I might add, a symmetric source, possibly from an orthogonal collison, which would be a low probability event.

4) The claim was that "most geophysicists" (a survey? I doubt it...) do not think the crust would rupture. So what is that belief based on, aside from a guess. So when did we have an event like this on the earth that we could observe? The best we can do is try to make a computer simulation, which is pretty lousy to be honest at trying to estimate effects from a 75-100 million megaton event.[3]. Recall that the largest earthquake observed on the earth is about 32,000 megatons (from the Chilean event; see Richter magnitude scale). This putative asteroid strike might have been 2000-3000 times LARGER, at least as measured in terms of released energy. So I am to believe that continuum mechanics and seismic computer programs can accurately extrapolate over 3 orders of magnitude? Highly doubtful and speculative (far more than the antipodal conjecture). This is much much worse than the meteorologists and climatologists using global climate models trying to predict what will happen with a doubling of CO2, which is not even a single order of magnitude increase.

Most geologists geophysicists did not believe in plate tectonics either, if you recall. Wegener was a meteologist, in fact.--Filll 16:37, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't have an opinion on the vailidity of Rampino's theory, I just think it's to much detail for an already pretty long and detailed article. --Rocksanddirt 16:56, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Focusing only works because a large number of paths have the same travel time to a given location and is associated with the coming together of both surface and bulk seismic ways. Any large assymmetry will substantially diminish the effect. (Think about a distorted lens in optics.) In addition, whatever rupturing effects there are must necessarily be greater at the impact size, and yet there is no evidence on large flows at Chicxulub or any other impact size. Also, the relative timing is much better constrained these days then I think you give it credit for. See for example doi:10.1126/science.1089209 where volcanic osmium and exterrestrial iridium are extracted from the same sediment column and show that the Deccan eruption began first. Dragons flight 17:11, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Even distorted lenses can still have focusing power. After all, eye glass lenses that correct for astigmatism can still focus sunlight on a piece of paper enough to get it to burn. Claiming there is no substantial focussing mechanism in anything aside from isotropic homogeneous media seems highly doubtful. I concede that there is published evidence of a Deccan precursory event, however even in the abstract it is stated that one of the reasons for investigating this is this very question. And that was only 3.5 years ago. Has it been confirmed? How good is the resolution? How big are the error bars? I will of course go with consensus on this, but I do think this sort of hypothesis, which is about a decade old, does not show clear evidence of being solidly refuted. If someone had a large range of samples from all over the Deccan flats, which had been studied using multiple dating techniques by multiple labs, and the results repeatedly confirmed, and it was clear from error bars that all these estimates were not in conflict, and strongly rejected the hypothesis of an event coincident with the putative Yucutan impact, then I would have to agree that they are unrelated for sure. However, at the moment I think it is more of a question mark. Which is how I wrote the two sentences that were reverted.--Filll 17:28, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I think you are conflating "flood basalts as a possible cause of extinction" with "flood basalts being caused by an impact". The reference I gave mentions the former, and there is still discussion of whether the Deccan contributed to the extinction event. The latter idea, that the Deccan flood basalts were directly caused by the impact, is something that is not considered plausible these days. As for error bars, the two events are seperated by half a meter in the sediment column referenced, which is quite well resolved for this kind of work. How much time that is depends on the local sedimentation rate, but amounts to perhaps ~200 kyr. Dragons flight 17:50, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
That certainly sounds convincing, but I think these are certainly early days. And of course, who knows if the impact caused one of several Deccan events, possibly in an area already weakened by volcanic activity, although this starts to sound a bit too coincidental for my tastes. However, sometimes you do get a "perfect storm" and all right things come into alignment to cause all the dominoes to tumble. Who knows what could happen with that size of impact? Anyone at this point who claims right now that a lot of these guesses are more than pure conjecture is probably fooling themselves. That is great you dug up that reference, although as I have pointed out on this talk page, there are many other issues that are still on the table.--Filll 18:15, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I will also note, that if it was so clear cut, always and everywhere, that there was 1.5 feet of distance between the two events in the sediment column, that there would have been minimal controversy about the impact hypothesis, which if I remember correctly, was substantial. So, as a non-geochemist and not a geochronology specialist, it strikes me as a little strange to hear 25+ years of pitched battles about this issue, and then someone to give me one abstract and claim it has all been solved, and that in fact there is a HUGE gap in the sediment record of 1.5 feet. So what about all those smart people arguing about this for the past quarter century? Were they using bad data? Looking in the wrong place? Just confused? Stupid? Mislead? I am not sure what I would say, but I am not willing to just say that it has all been conclusively settled and that everyone on this issue before was just plain wrong and mistaken. If I am given some strong reasons as to why they were confused, and there was no real controversy in spite of all the arguing, then I might be more convinced. It would not be the first time that a huge group of scientists ended up chasing after a will o the wisp, after all.--Filll 18:52, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Osmium isotope measurements, as proxy for volcanism, were not available until recently. Before that, the traps generally had to be dated by measuring individual volcanic formations and comparing those ages to iridium found is independent locations. Generally the precision of those measurements was inadequate to distinguish Deccan from Chicxulub, but even so, many people had already been arguing for evidence of pre-impact eruptions. Dragons flight 23:42, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
A further very strange thing about the study you quoted, is that it attributes the global warming observed at that time to the effect of Deccan volcanism. Of course, this could have been the result of a massive release of CO2 or H2S or H2O or H2SO4 or some other greenhouse gas, but isnt this contrary to the normal effects of volcanism? Every modern observed volcanic event, for which we have good data, has lead to global cooling, not warming. So I am a bit doubtful about this study in a couple of ways. I think the best that can be said is that these are early days still for this area of investigation, and not all the i's are dotted and all the t's crossed yet. How long was it before Wegener was confirmed? 50+ years? Milankovitch was effectively confirmed to about 5 or 6 decimal places (for well over 100 spectral components), about 50 years later in Phil Trans, but still not everyone accepts it, because there are no plausible mechanisms (maybe recently, but not the last I heard). Even the GR theory of Einstein was not confirmed for maybe 6 years or so, and this was one of the most interesting theories of its time. It was still too controversial for him to be awarded the Nobel for it, even though it was clearly a massive achievement. I think when we are exploring things like this in the deep past, with a lot of strange effects going on, some of which are outside our normal range of observations and events for which we have data, it is best not to dismiss anything too quickly. And it is not our job to be the final arbiter of these things, only to report what has been done. Rampino and company threw out a proposal, which some have continued to investigate. Some new data appears to cast it in doubt. That is all we need to say. History will tell what becomes accepted, not Wikipedia. All we have to do is depict the current state of things.--Filll 17:47, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Sulfur emissions produce cooling but are broken down after a decade or two. Large carbon emissions persist (at a 5% level) for several hundred thousand years [4]. Hence, for volcanism sufficiently large that carbon dioxide is the controlling effect, the signal to be seem in the geologic record is warming not cooling. It would take volcanic activity about 1000 times present day to be relevant, so it is not a common consideration. Dragons flight 18:38, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Looking at the graphs on those pages, it strikes me that the decay rate is too rapid to have much appreciable effect unless your carbon dioxide was constantly refreshed from the volcanic source. This certainly might have been possible, but does not give me some confidence that a single transient event can have some exceedingly long persistence when driving a simplistic climate model. That is the problem I see with all your arguments on these pages, I am sorry to say. You are adopting models which are far far too simplistic, I am afraid. As Einstein said, in a corollary to Occam's Razor, every theory should be as simple as possible, but not too simple. I am just reluctant to sign on to some recent current viewpoint without plenty of caveats, since these current theories will come under serious scrutiny, with most of them being discarded as most of the past theories were discarded. Let's try to write this to accommodate the real science and the real uncertainties. --Filll 21:45, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Please read the accompanying text, the initial rapid decay is caused by carbon dioxide mixing into the ocean. The persistant portion, ie. the excess that which exists in equilibrium with ocean, endures for hundreds of thousands of years. No, it's not simple, but I sort of expected you to do more than just look at the initial rapid decline and ignore the long tail. Dragons flight 23:42, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Ok I read your text more carefully. And I still have the same conclusion. The residual effect after a few decades is minor. A far bigger potential effect is associated with the nonlinear character of the climate system itself, and how it responds to this kind of forcing. You have to throw away your limited linear thinking and think about more realistic nonlinear effects.--Filll 02:13, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Is not the largest effect from volcanic events the injection of fine opague materials in suspension in the troposphere and above? Most volcanic events have short transient effects, at least the ones we are familiar with, and all our confirmed observations of this seem to show damping within a few years (looks roughly like an exponential decrease, from the data I have seen, but the data are pretty lousy to be able to assign a good model to this). So if there was sustained volcanism, then cooling could result. Transient volcanic events would probably disappear rapidly from the record, except for the injection of long residence time greenhouse gases, as you have suggested, which would of course presumably have a warming signature (although this is also assuming a very naive model of the climate system, in my opinion and experience; for example, consider Broecker and similar hypotheses). So there is a huge amount of hand-waving and assumptions here. I would dispute a lot of what I have read in that abstract. As I said, this is still preliminary. I do not think the book is closed on this. When we have mapped out and accurately dated all the major volcanic events and impact craters over the course of earth history, with proper error bars, confirmed by multiple labs, that all basically agree with each other, then we can start to map out these events carefully. If it is to be linked in with climate change, we need a MUCH better understanding of climate. In particular, the physics of clouds and problems with coupled ocean-atmosphere models are particularly troubling, but many other problems remain. The multiple nonlinear feedbacks with the biosphere, albedo and oceans are not well understood, or at least as well as they need to be. And the problems with even the term "solar constant" are legion. Beyond that, there are multiple other problems with the level of analysis that is common in this area; basically it is amateurish. And the statistics, data analysis, mathematical modelling, numerical analysis etc that are used are below the standard of what is common in other areas of the physical sciences, to be generous. --Filll 19:08, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I am not wild about Rampino or his theory, but it is interesting. And it has generated a tremendous amount of dating and cataloguing activity of craters and eruptions and laval flows, etc. It might be a while before the details of this scientific mystery are totally untangled: How many impacts were there? any associated volcanism? etc. How often has this happened before, and what were the associated craters and/or volcanic events? I agree that what I have written here is too much for this introductory article, and a short bit might be more appropriate here or even better, in the Deccan article, particularly if more references are found. Even if it is just a note that this hypothesis was proposed, and here is the evidence that seems to contradict it, and here is the activity that has resulted from it. Without this sort of mystery, who would give a darn about either the Deccan Traps or the Yucutan crater? No one except for a few dusty geologists. --Filll 17:02, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

'shakes off dust' - (ec) well, I hear you. I'm just concerned that don't clutter up the article. --Rocksanddirt 17:32, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I am a big fan of decluttering myself. I just wondered if it should not be included, if not here, at least someplace.--Filll 18:15, 3 August 2007 (UTC)


Gentlemen, a lovely article, to which I do not intend to contribute. However, can I suggest that someone move the photos around so that they look better in relation to the text - meaning they should alternate, left/right/left etc, and they should be spaced evenly through the article. Lotsa luck with the FA. PiCo 12:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

While it shouldn't be too rigid a rule, the above point seems good to me. Given the re-focus on the extinction rather than the geological boundary, my suggestion is to add a couple of notable species images on the left: here are a couple of possibilities..dave souza, talk 19:52, 7 August 2007 (UTC) –
I love pictures.--Filll 20:09, 7 August 2007 (UTC)


I've read over a lot of the comments at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, and I believe I've come to a conclusion, which I'm going to be bold and implement. The article is about the extinction at the K-T boundary. It really isn't about the K-T boundary itself, except as it relates to the extinction. The theories of what caused the K-T boundary event (let's say a big giant comet hitting the earth) are really POV forks that require and probably already have articles. I don't want to clutter this article with arcane astrophysics, geology or other fields that digress from the point at hand. This article deals with the extinction itself, which is much more complex biologically than what is out there in the lay world. Dinosaurs (other than birds) were collapsing well before the K-T event--whether the geological event pushed them into complete extinction seems to be confirmed by the lack of fossils past the event. So, I'm going to rearrange the article to what it was before. It's a biology article primarily. Geology, astrophysics, global warming, and everything else deserves comment, not intense verbiage. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 17:58, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea. Not all this material can be shoved into one article. It is too much to expect readers to absorb all that out of one article. --Filll 18:04, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Sound reasoning, a concise summary of the theories is what's needed here, and detailed accounts can form sub-articles. .. dave souza, talk 20:24, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that it appears the article is experiencing a bit of multiple personality disorder. Splitting might be a good idea. OM has done a massive amount of work, but there's no reason splitting off some of the K-T boundary material couldn't be beneficial to this article. Firsfron of Ronchester 07:44, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


I had a look -well done with some good reorganizing. I was wondering whether the multiple causes subsection at the bottom might be better directly under the Geological cause of extinctions. This would serve 2 purposes - chunk up the stubby section nicely and also allow a space for some coherent sumamary of some stregths/weaknesses/likelihoods etc.cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:39, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Good idea. Thanks! OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 01:16, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Looking much better now the K-T boundary's been split off. One question: does "Fewer than five dinosaur fossils have been found above the K-T boundary" mean four? The point doesn't seem to be covered in the detailed section or the relevant main article. Also, some illustrations of the species would seem to me to be a good idea, as discussed above. ... cheers too, .. dave souza, talk 09:55, 17 August 2007 (UTC) On second thoughts, could the Geological cause of extinctions be made much more concise in summary style? ... dave souza, talk 10:00, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I've been bold and took out the absolute number to make the statment robust against future discoveries. --Stephan Schulz 11:07, 17 August 2007 (UTC)


Hmm, this page is in an interesting state if adding a "fact" tag to an uncited statement is considered "edit warring". So, can anyone explain a) where on Earth anyone got the idea that dinoflagellates are known only from two "terrestrial" sections across the KT boundary; b) what the quoted supportive reference is (per this edit), because there aint one in the text; c) Why the attitude? Badgerpatrol 13:16, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

a) From the ref I imagine. ( It says "best know", not "only known" so unless I'm missing something, that might warrant correction )
b) see above.
c) you where rather asking for it with your edit summary.
ornis (t) 13:46, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
The quoted reference is #6, which follows a sentence later because both statements come from the same reference. J. Spencer 13:47, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I have an offprint of that ref which I can dig out, but from a very quick rescan of the online version: a) it does not say that there are only two dino bearing successions. It does quote the two that are best known. That is a big difference. b) as it currently reads, the statement is very misleading. When a geologist talks about "terrestrial" sequences, they are almost invariably talking about sediments that were deposited in a terrestrial environment- e.g. either sub-aerially or in a non-marine lacustrine or riverine setting. El Kef is definitely a marine sequence, and I'm reasonably certain that Seymour Island is too (although not 100% of the top of my head). What is meant is that these rocks have been uplifted and are currently on land, as opposed to deep sea cores - this is more or less superfluous anyway, but is particularly misleading since dinos can be found in both freshwater and marine environments. c) my edit summary reflected my surprise at the inclusion of this odd statement. I was right. I do apologise if someone took offence at it though, but it seems fairly innocuous to me. On a general point, is there a reason not to append a reference to each statement to avoid the perception that some controversial statements are uncited? Is this in the MoS or something? Badgerpatrol 14:22, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

<<voluntarily withdrawn by editor with apologies to all>>--Filll 15:25, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

What are you talking about? If anyone's slinging mud, it isn't me. I wouldn't call myself an expert in anything, although I do have some knowledge of the subject and I may be willing to help on my own terms as and when I get the time - not this weekend certainly. By the same token, the way I've been treated here seems to intimate that some editors are not willing to allow others to contribute in a constructive fashion. It's not much fun to get one's legitimate efforts, in terms of editing the article proper or contributing to legitimate discussion, slung back in one's face. Badgerpatrol 15:31, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

<<voluntarily withdrawn by editor with apologies to all>> --Filll 15:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

This is crazy. The FAC process is not a victory march. The whole point of it is to flag any issues with the article and discuss them constructively through well reasoned debate- as I most certainly have. The fact is, this article has problems and is not in my view currently up to FA status. I've stated why, at length and in a civil and constructive way (despite a succession of bizarre and unwarranted personal attacks against me) on the candidacy page. It seems others that have not been 100% favourable have been similarly treated too, now having read the full discussion. Any criticism is levelled against the article. You shouldn't take it personally - if you do, don't edit here. Badgerpatrol 15:45, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

<<voluntarily withdrawn by editor with apologies to all>>--Filll 16:15, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Come on, Filll. He didn't say that. He just thought the sentence needed improvement. And I guess it did. Anything that helps the article is a good thing (tm), and if we can tighten things to remove potential mistakes, or something someone could regard as a mistake, based on this incident, so much the better. At this point, I think the FAC is doomed, but we cannot blame Badgerpatrol for that. OM did a wonderful job, and I hate to think his work will not be rewarded, but there's no consensus to promote this article, which is not the fault of Badgerpatrol. Firsfron of Ronchester 17:16, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Firs, I actually don't get rewarded for FAC's, unless there's something you're not telling me. But I am tired of the drive-by shootings. I've been in wars with SandyGeorgia before, but she (he, not sure) at least walked me through the process, helped me along, and vastly improved the structure of the article. But someone coming here in a drive-by, not reading the references as I have, and frankly wasting our time on a rather tiny little organism (figuratively and literally) is not helpful to the project. Filll was rather tough (I got to read his commentary), but I'm frustrated. If Badgerpatrol knows something I don't (and as I've said a billion times, Dammit, I'm a doctor not a Paleontologist), CHANGE THE FUCKING ARTICLE!!!! I feel much better. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:49, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I tried to change the article. I was reverted and told to bring it to talk. Which I did. I'll have another go now however. Badgerpatrol 01:14, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

<<voluntarily withdrawn by editor with apologies to all>>--Filll 18:26, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Fill, if you can quote to me anything that I have said over the past few days to the effect that I think the article is "trash", then I'd like to hear it. If you think I have said that, then you haven't read what I've written. (For example: It certainly is a decent article, but not quite up to FA status at present.; Again, I must reiterate that the article is not bad, and I hope nobody takes offence....). You are overreacting massively here. I am only giving my honest opinion. So far, nobody has actually said anything relating to the substantive points that I raised over at the FAC page, with the exception of the dinoflagellate statement which I hope everyone now accepts is a mistake and should be changed. Where to put the reference is not half as important as the fact that that is not remotely what the reference actually says. Badgerpatrol 19:44, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Trying to edit in a constructive way

<<voluntarily withdrawn by editor, with apologies to all>> --Filll 20:15, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Consider the readership

In the previous discussions I noted the comment that the article was not big enough to contain all of the different theories/hypotheses being argued over. Rubbish. The likely reader of this article is not a fan of Barney, but someone with a fair knowledge and a desire to learn more of a reasonably specialist subject. They will probably be well able to follow all of the different lines of thought and, with the use of every reliable source available, find the references that support each point of view. Only where detail potentially interrupts the text flow should sub-pages be considered. Don't underestimate your readership, and give them all the facts.

Also, NPOV is only achieved by having all verifiable sources presented. Splitting an article into two or more differing interpretations simply gives us two or more biased articles. This is not fitting for a serious encyclopedia, so shut the fuck up arguing and start building. (Thangyew!) LessHeard vanU 21:10, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Pardon me, but what? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:42, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I think lessheard maybe thinking that the article is about more than it is? My understanding ths that the article is about the extingtion event, not the KT boundary itself, which the location of/dating of etc. has some controversy and confusion and is a subject for a full discussion itself. --Rocksanddirt 16:09, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
To be honest I have no idea of the scope of the article, although I am vaguely familiar with extinction events and assume that this relates to the fossil records - and the interpretations there arising. My comments were in respect of the argument made that one or another of the contending theories should be regarded as the primary basis of the article and that other theories could be split into other articles. I profoundly disagree with such sentiments, since they are usually more to do with promoting a particular interpretation than creating a neutral point of view. I commented that the readership of this kind of article may well be able to follow the arguments for alternative conclusions based on the records, and thus there is no reason to concentrate on a preferred theory/finding. My further observation is that a neutral article only exists when all (reasonable/verifiable) viewpoints are referenced. Anyone seeking to disinclude a citable viewpoint is not, IMO, working toward creating the best article. I can get fairly tetchy about such things. Of course, if there was anyone who was irritated by my use of vulgar language... have some idea how I feel when I find examples of recognised encyclopedic subject matter being treated like the latest pop culture fad. To paraphrase the last sentence of my previous comment, "why not put the unseemly bickering aside, work out a form of consensus and take the article to the Featured status it deserves." LessHeard vanU 19:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC) (but who would have noted it if I had written it like that?)
See Wikipedia:Summary style. This article needs to concisely summarise all the major points about the extinction event, with detail going into related main articles for each point where appropriate. Some aspects will be fully dealt with in this article, but size is a constraint both for readability and downloading time. The article won't say more than necessary about the geological K–T boundary, which has its own main article. The information will all be available, without excessive detail bloating the article size. .. dave souza, talk 20:00, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
First of all, thanks Dave. Second, to LessHeard, I don't fucking care about your language LOL. I understand your points. NPOV isn't an issue here, the biggest problem is keeping the scope of the article under control. When I first found this mess of an article, it was trying to do too many things at once. So, I tried to do the same thing, but it got out of hand. The extinction event shows up in the fossil record, and this article focuses on that event. What caused the event is much more controversial, and is covered elsewhere. Up until I started working on this thing, I thought that there was no doubt that an asteroid hit the earth and killed the dinosaurs. Now, I'm not at all convinced. Some of the species were dying well before the geological boundary. Some species survived the boundary with nary a scratch. So, we decided to stick with the biological extinction, saving the geological stuff for a better article down the road. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 20:26, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank fuck for that! :~) LessHeard vanU 20:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC)


Given the ongoing problems both here and at various other talk pages, I've posted to both WP:WQA and WP:AN/I in an effort to resolve things. Badgerpatrol 01:05, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Wrong discription?

Archosaurs The archosaur clade includes two living orders, crocodilians (of which Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae and Gavialidae are the only surviving families)) and birds, along with the extinct dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

Are birds part of the archosaur clade? 07:55, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes they are, in as far as they are a part of the clade Ornithodira. ornis (t) 08:07, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
It's amusing, but I didn't actually know this until I started editing the article. First of all, I thought that crocodilians weren't archosaurs at all, diverging well before archosaurs arose. Then I knew that birds were considered part of the Dinosaur clade, I just didn't realize how close. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:21, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Comments on recent revisions

It's been a while since I edited this article in late 2006 / early 2007. I really like the new version, great job! I particulary like the citations for section "Extinction patterns".

Some things I think still need attention:

  • I think the intro is a little too long. I'd omit the last para since causes are discussed in detail later; and I'd shorten the 2nd para (list of victims) by removing the material about Paleocene dino fossils (discussed later) and by simply adding "non-avian dinosaurs" to the front of the list of victims (currently starts with mosasaurs).
  • I think there are too many pics, and too many of these are just eye-candy. The ones I'd keep are: the Raton Pass I-25 boundary pic, but move it to the "Impact event" section; the "Marine Genus Biodiversity" graph, but move to the start of the marine sub-sections in "Extinction patterns". The pics I'd most strongly like to see removed are: the NASA impact pic, because its scaling is ridiculous (the impactor appears to be a few hundred km in diamter); Microraptor (nothing to do with bitds; a reconstruction of an enantiornithine or hesperornithiform would be much better); the Drumheller and Trinidad Lake State Park pics (made rerdundant by the more recent Raton Pass I-25 boundary pic). And I'd replace the Chicxulub Crater pic(s) with the upper part of the one in Chicxulub Crater, as it shows the approximate size of the crater.
  • It would be helpful if someone (preferably a geologist who knows the area) could enlarge the red arrow in the Raton Pass I-25 boundary pic.
  • I'd completely remove the impact pic (it's only and artist's impression) and the Drumheller pic (made redundant by the Raton Pass boundary pic).
  • "Extinction patterns" prematurely mentions "reduction in solar energy reaching the earth's surface due to atmospheric particles blocking the sunlight", which belongs in the discussion of causes. I'd just state that larger vegetarians and carnivores died out, which suggests a sharp reduction in vegetable food - which is what the last sentecne of the para currently says.
  • The 2 paras in "Extinction patterns" about Rhynchocephalia and Squamata are largely superfluous and should be removed becuase the article is pretty long.
  • "Extinction patterns" needs an internal restructure. I suggest:
    • Land plants. Placing this first draws attention to the geographical variation of extinction patterns and sets the scene for the collapse of terrestrial photsynthesis-based food chains.
    • Terrestrial invertebrates
    • Terrestrial vertebrates
    • Plankton.
    • Marine invertebrates.
    • Marine vertebrates.
  • The para in "Extinction patterns" about coccolithophorids and molluscs should point out their shared characteristic of building calcium carbonate shells.
  • There are unresolved puzzles about the extinction of dinos. (A) Why did did small predatory dinos die out? They should have been able to survive at the top of the detritus-based food chain. In my last edit I cited evidence that small predatory dinos were absent from the top of Hell Creek. I had a short private correspondence with Prof Richard Cowen that led to the suggestion that small predatory dinos were squeezed out by birds, mammals (ecological successors of Repenomamus) and juveniles of large predatory dinos (which were doomed because they grew and had to switch from the detritus-based food chain to the photosynthesis-based food chain). But I've been unable to find any published material on any of these points. (B) There have been recent finds of (small) burrowing dinos. Why did they not survive?
  • I'd like to see "Extinction patterns" start with a summary of: what became extinct; what suffered heavy losses; what suffered at most slight losses. And possibly indicators of which clades appeared to go extinct gradually / abruptly / declined but abrupt final extermination. E.g. AFAIK calcareous plankton suffered abrupt extinction while ammonites were in decline but were finally exterminated abruptly. Philcha (talk) 14:31, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Evidence" section should be worked into the relevant places in the "Patterns" section, except that the para about mullusc extinctions belongs in the "Duration" section.
  • I suggest the "Duration" section should say more about theories that dinos died out suddenly (various papers by Fastovsky anf Sheehan in the late 1990s)
  • I'd retitle "Geological cause of extinctions" to "Possible causes". The evidence is mainly geological, but the impact theory is astronomical.
  • I'd add to "Impact event" estimates of the impactor's size and the energy it released, and restructure the section:
    • Evidence (iriduim).
    • Estimated size and energy released.
    • Candidates
    • Chixculub was as bad an impact site as it could be: gypsum deposits led to SO2 emissions (aerosols, acid rain); 30 degree impact angle splashed hot debris over a large area of N America.
    • Effects and extinction mechanisms. How much would they have affected southern hemishpere?
  • Then I'd work through the article simplifying the English in the few places where it's rather academic in style.
  • Finally for each ref, try to find a free online abstract, summary, press report or whatever. Most readers do not have subsidised subscriptions (I don't which is why I'm aware of this point. I can still usually get something for most of the refs I use).
  • I'm going to answer most of these questions later. But in this one case, with the PMID or doi numbers, you can get a free online abstract. I am using two tools: WP:CITET and template creator to create the references. While working on the FAC, I personally read each reference, made sure the doi or pmid were completely accurate, that the abstract or full article were visible, and made certain that the reference supported the statement. I'm known about these parts for my obsessiveness towards references.  :) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 15:35, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Re free online abstracts / summaries / press releases, maybe I was just very unlucky with the sample I picked. I'd still want to check them out after any changes that may be made to the main text. Philcha (talk) 15:47, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I know this looks like a long list of gripes, but these are things that jar because the article is so good overall. Philcha (talk) 13:21, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Astounding. Too many figures? Not in my opinion. There are very few figures in this article. Maybe you have some suggestions for better figures. If so, great.
I'll open another Talk thread for this, since people are starting to comment on this one and I've been lucky not to hit an edit conflict already. Philcha (talk) 15:58, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
See shopping list in next thread - there are several places where images would be good provided they relate to the adjacent text. Philcha (talk) 17:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
On the academic style; well that is what the consensus pushed for. On the long LEAD; that is what the consensus pushed for. The thing is, even if one editor personally prefers things a different way, consensus often pushes the article in a different direction. And that is the constraint we have to live with if we are writing on Wikipedia.--Filll (talk) 14:57, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I cannot believe that an academic style of writing is appropriate for Wikipedia. A lot of the readers will be non-specialists, some of them teenage or younger, and a fog index of 12 would be my target. University students won't use Wikipedia directly as a source but may use it to find leads, but research has shown that logorrhoea has a negative impact even on students.
Re the long lead, it could be improved by streamlining the writing style even if the quantity of content is unchanged - and should be streamlined, because it's the section that makes the vital first impression. Philcha (talk) 15:56, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

As one of the authors of Introduction to evolution, I agree that articles on Wikipedia should be accessible; this is something I have pushed for as long as I have been on Wikipedia. However, one article cannot be all things to all people. That is why we have Simple Wikipedia, and then the Introductory articles, and then the mainspace articles. So Wikipedia offers 3 levels of articles; Encyclopedia Britannica by comparison offers 6 levels of articles. For more information, see Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible. So I would suggest this might be a better option in this case, or else there will be endless arguments between those who want a simpler article, and those who want a more advanced article.--Filll (talk) 16:22, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Just to make sure we don't have a misunderstanding, I'm not talking about any kind of "dumbing down". I am talking about: active rather than passive voice where possible; using common words where possible (one paper I used as a ref recently used "bradytelic" where "gradual" would have done the same job, so I paraphrased it in the text); avoiding archaisms such as "heretofore" and "thereby"; ordering clauses in sentences to miminise "lane changes" (from an information processing point of view humans have limited short-term memory and therefore are poor at stack management and context-switching; and I know I've broken this rule twice so far!); avoid unnecessary punctuation, because each comma instructs the user to prepare for a context switch; occasional use of simple examples, e.g. spinning skater's arms to illustrate rotational inertia /angular momentum in Tyrannosaurus and Black hole; etc. It's quite possible to write about complex subjects in simple language without sacrificing content and I've done it - see for example: Black hole, which I revised extensively in spring 2007 and where my structure and the vast majority of my text is still there; Evolution of mammals (which I'll revisit in spring 2008 as there's scope for a lot of polishing, but I needed a break from it); Virtual memory, where I made extensive revisions a few months ago. Philcha (talk) 17:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Google has offered me mainspace articles on many subjects, but I can't remember seeing a Simple Wikipedia or Introductory article in Google results. So I think the mainspace articles are Wikipedia as far as the world is concerned, and therefore making mainspace articles as easy as possible for general readers is very important. Some Wikipedians apparently agree, e.g. Virtual memory had a "too technical" tag before I edited it, and my proposal to revise Black hole got a swift "yes". Philcha (talk) 12:06, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
There are obviously useful suggestions above. The intro, though, is not too long, and doesn't need any trimming. Per WP:LEAD, "The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies, if there are any. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic according to reliable, published sources. The lead should not "tease" the reader by hinting at but not explaining important facts that will appear later in the article. It should contain up to four paragraphs, should be carefully sourced as appropriate, and should be written in a clear, accessible style so as to invite a reading of the full article." Removing parts of the lead because they are covered in greater detail later in the article misses the point of the lead.
The NASA asteroid impact image on the bottom of the article is indeed ridiculously off-scale. I also think it should be removed.
An image of a enantiornithine or hesperornithiform would be better than Microraptor. user:ArthurWeasley may have one, or can create one.
I don't like the idea of making the text less academic. "Dumbing down" is almost always a bad idea. Simple English Wikipedia may be more useful for younger readers; there may be overly technical terminology in this article, but it looks pretty readable to me. Firsfron of Ronchester 11:08, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Use of images

This relates to "Comments on recent revisions" above, but I've made it a new thread to reduce the risk of edit conflicts as "Comments on recent revisions" seems to be producing some debate.

First the images I'd remove altogether:

  • The NASA impact pic, because its scaling is ridiculous (the impactor appears to be a few hundred km in diamter)
  • The Drumheller and Trinidad Lake State Park pics (made redundant by the more recent and clearer Raton Pass I-25 boundary pic).
  • Ammonite fossil - just eye-candy.
  • Tyrannosaur at Senckenberg Museum - just eye-candy.

Pics I'd move:

  • Raton Pass I-25 boundary pic, to the "Impact event" section as the pic's main feature is the iridium layer. It would be helpful if someone (preferably a geologist who knows the area) could enlarge the red arrow in the Raton Pass I-25 boundary pic.
  • "Marine Genus Biodiversity" graph, to the start of the marine sub-sections in "Extinction patterns".

Pics I'd replace:

  • Microraptor (nothing to do with birds, which is the subject of the adjacent text) - a reconstruction of an enantiornithine or hesperornithiform would be much better).
  • The current Chicxulub maps with the larger ones at Chicxulub Crater as the upper one shows the radius.

Pic's I'd add if I can find some that meet or reasonably approximate my specs:

  • In "Extinction patterns":
    • Detailed graph of ammonite diversity in last 10M years of Cretaceous. If it includes other molluscs as separate plots on the graph, that would be good. Ammonites appeared to have beeen in decline then suffered extinction pulses then died out.
    • Nautilus larva feeding at intermediate "altitude".
    • Graph of marine extinction rates by position in the water column.
    • Graph of insect predation rates on plants from about 10My before to 10My after, by locality. I've read articles that suggest the post K-T pattern varied geographically, with some sites showing lush growth with no predation and others showing intense predatiuon.
    • Possibly pic of fern recolonization round Mt St Helens, if there's a shortage of more on-topic pics.
    • Possibly tuatara and / or champsosaur, since they are less well known to the general public. Low priority, omit if we get a lot of more on-topic pics.
    • Mammal diversification before / around K-T boundary: Chiropteran or Cetartiodactyl as at the boundary. 2nd choice: mammal from near the boundary which is not a nocturnal insectivore - a proto-primate might be good if there any that are agreed on. Failing that, Castorocauda (swimmimg, digging, fur), even though strictly it's too early for this article.
  • Deccan traps:
    • Map of area covered; even better if we can associate it with paleogeography of the time (e.g. 2-part pic lke that of Chicxulub). Philcha (talk) 16:54, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to respond to your comments. We're limited as to what we can use as pictures. Graphs and such...meh. I don't think they add to much to the article, even if you can get permission to use. Most of what you're suggesting should be in the specific articles, not in this overview. Mammal diversification, for example, really didn't happen until after the event. We're really trying to discuss what happens immediately after the event. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:34, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Orangmarlin has a good point, the scope of this article could easily get out of hand. Pictures and graphs are nice and all that, but introducing topics tangent to the focus of this page might be very problematic now and for the stability of the page later. Sticking within the general time frame of the event to me seems best. The changes that occurred millions of years later because of this event should be covered with in those specific topics and can be linked back to this one for further reading. There are some relevant topics that could be covered in this article in more detail that are not yet fleshed out. Hardyplants (talk) 07:00, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Fair comments. I was responding to someone's objection in the preceding thread that I was proposing to remove images from an article which currently has relatively few images.
Do any of my suggested additions / replacements / removals look like improvements? If so, let's implement them and worry about the rest later. Philcha (talk) 11:18, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
No, you do not have consensus to make massive changes to a Featured article. Chill out. I've observed your edits elsewhere, and you have run into concerns from other editors. Let me watch your edits to the Cambrian article first. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 16:30, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Did I suggest I intended to apply them single-handed or immediately or without further discussion? Note the plural in "If so, let's implement them." Chill out. Philcha (talk) 19:14, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Nonsensical sentence in "Pterosaurs"

"Smaller pterosaurs went extinct prior to the Maastrichtian as a result of competition with birds that filled the same ecological niche and as a result of their non-sheltering environment niche" does not make sense. "non-sheltering environment" connects well to the Robertson ref ("Survival in the first hours of the Cenozoic"), which suggests a global heat pulse caused by falling red-hot debris, and would therefore explain the extinction of large pterosaurs. The sentence says, "Smaller pterosaurs went extinct prior to the Maastrichtian ...", so the issue of shelter does not apply to them. Philcha (talk) 12:04, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Please explain yourself better. Smaller pterosaurs did go extinct in an earlier age, so they're irrelevant to the extinction event. I'm not getting your concern here. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 16:33, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
"Smaller pterosaurs went extinct prior to the Maastrichtian as a result of competition with birds that filled the same ecological niche" (end of sentence) would be fine as a note, contrasting the earlier extinction of the small ones with the survival up to the boundary of the large ones. Is "and as a result of their non-sheltering environment niche" meant to apply to small pterosaurs or large ones? If to small ones, (non-)sheltering from what? The only clue is the Robertson ref ("Survival in the first hours of the Cenozoic"), but that article only applies to the very end-Cretaceous, by which time small pterosaurs were extinct any way. If "and as a result of their non-sheltering environment niche" is meant to apply to large pterosaurs it's in the wrong sentence. Philcha (talk) 19:11, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
You're not making sense. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:23, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Hardyplants, that makes much better sense. Philcha (talk) 12:49, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event and Craters Featured Topic?

This article is FA; both Silverpit crater and Chicxulub Crater are FA: that leaves Shiva crater (stub) and Boltysh Crater (GA). So all we need to do is get Shiva up to snuff. Thoughts? David Fuchs (talk) 23:10, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Sounds good, although it would be nice to have a broader scope: if Deccan traps ("start") could also be improved, you could probably justify a broader "K-T extinction" topic. The traps are arguably more important and relevant to the topic than further articles on craters. Just my two cents! Verisimilus T 23:37, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Wow, I didn't realize so many were FA. I'll help on Deccan traps! OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:04, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
And I'll grab Shiva. Since we need a completeness of scope, are there any other relevant articles we might be missing? David Fuchs (talk) 18:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)