Dinosaur Extinction Rewritten Again

first_imgWho will go back and fix the animations?If the Chicxulub meteor finished off the dinosaurs, they were already on the edge anyway, a new theory proposes. The BBC News says dinosaurs were on the decline 50 million years before the impact. And why was that? With apologies to Bob Dylan, “A team suggests the creatures were in long-term decline because they could not cope with the ways Earth was changing.” Yes, music lovers, the times they were a-changing, just like climate change afflicts us today. “Your sons and your daughters /Are beyond your command,” Darwin told T. rex. “Your old road is rapidly agin’ / Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand / For the times they are a-changin’.” T. rex didn’t have much of a hand to lend anyway. Climate change had determined that it was time for the mammals to take center stage.The asteroid impact is commonly thought to have paved the way for mammals to take over. But the new study suggests that mammalian supremacy might have occurred eventually, without a space impact.Co-author Prof Mike Benton of Bristol University, told BBC News: “World climates were getting cooler all the time. Dinosaurs rely on quite warm climates and mammals are better adapted to the cold.“So there might have been a switch over in any case without the asteroid impact.““Might” makes right in evolutionary storytelling; the power of suggestion raises the perhapsimaybecouldness index. Earth needed to make “room for mammals,” Science Daily says. What better way than to chill out the dinos?Those interested in the case for dino decline can look at the paper in PNAS. It begins, “Whether dinosaurs were in decline before their final extinction 66 Mya has been debated for decades with no clear resolution.” But by using a “Bayesian phylogenetic approach to model the evolutionary dynamics of speciation and extinction through time,” they guarantee an evolutionary outcome (see DIGO in the Darwin Dictionary).Back to the Drawing BoardThis is most unfortunate for Darwinians, since they thought they finally had a flag up the pole everyone could salute: an asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. A team is even out there right now trying to drill into the impact site in the Yucatan. Is their work in vain? Not completely; the new study has a partial role for the impact, just not a complete one. It just gave dinosaurs the final shove.Brian Switek on National Geographic took the opportunity to review past “wild ideas” about the death of the dinosaurs. First, though,Here’s his list of previous “crazy conjectures” that came and went:Dinosaurs put too much energy into being big and spiky.They had a predetermined lifetime as a species, and time was up.They developed slipped discs.Their hormones got out of control.Their sex drives declined.They all got sick.They were afflicted with cataracts and couldn’t see the mammals taking over.They were just stupid.Caterpillars ate all the vegetation.They took up smoking [actually, that was Gary Larson’s theory on The Far Side]Before the laughing is over, Switek admits that the impact theory has problems of its own:While the giant impact is the most likely weapon in this ancient murder case, we know surprisingly little about how the strike translated into widespread death and destruction. Paleontologists have debated aspects of the impact’s ecological fallout ranging from blazing wildfires to an impenetrable cloud of debris in the atmosphere. But exactly what happened and how such environmental shocks would have killed some species while sparing others is still up for debate.Will future paleontologists consider the impact theory just another crazy conjection? Not likely; it has too much momentum to not survive this latest crisis. Previous studies, after all, had suggested the dinosaurs were not in decline; they were doing just fine up till the day of destruction. Others promote their pet theory that volcanoes did it. A new theory claims a “trickle of food” kept deep sea creatures alive during the catastrophe (Science Daily). That, however, doesn’t explain the land animals that survived. Whatever the theory, it has to explain the selective extinction of particular reptiles on land (dinosaurs), in the ocean (plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs) and in the air (pterosaurs), while leaving mammals, birds and everything else able to carry on amidst all the carrion.Selective OutrageSpeaking of climate change, the lead paleontologist promoting the new extinction theory found a way to blame humans. “Our study strongly indicates that if a group of animals is experiencing a fast pace of extinction more so than they can replace, then they are prone to annihilation once a major catastrophe occurs,” Dr. Manabu Sakamoto preaches. “This has huge implications for our current and future biodiversity, given the unprecedented speed at which species are going extinct owing to the ongoing human-caused climate change.” Those wishing to hear some diversity in opinion may wish to see Dr. Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor of atmospheric science at MIT, explain the current climate change debate in a short video on Prager University.Why is it, incidentally, that the scientific consensus is so intent on blaming the current apex predator (humans) for climate change, but never accuses the dinosaurs of the same ecological sin? Maybe they passed too much greenhouse gas. And why are impacts so bad, if they kickstarted life on Earth? (see Christian Schroeder thank comets for life on The Conversation).How Many Dinosaurs?Most dinosaur species are still undiscovered, Brian Switek says in another National Geographic piece. In a PLoS Paleo Blog, Jon Tennant shows diagrams from a new study that tries to count the species we know. Based on ecological models, researchers think we have probably found far less than half of the dinosaur species that existed—unless you count birds, which Tennant considers “just mostly a bit smaller and fluffier than their Mesozoic ancestors.”Evolutionists have a love/hate attitude about impacts. Asteroids and comets bring life, but they also destroy life. They do whatever the storyteller needs them to do; that’s why they are so useful for professional storytellers like Darwinians.The Flood model does a better job explaining (1) the selectivity of the extinction, (2) world-wide observations by humans of dinosaurs after the Flood, (3) the high level of intelligent design in dinosaur anatomy. But since it is not atheistic/materialistic, it cannot get traction in the Big Science cabal. (Visited 69 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Uplifting lives in Madagascar

first_imgThe Madagascar Action Plan aims todevelop all aspects of the country aswell as to introduce measures to curbpopulation growth. Madagascar’spopulation is expected to doubleto 43 million by 2050.(Image: Mission Madagascar)Tamara O’ReillyThe New Madagascar Action Plan (MAP), of which boosting access to contraception is an integral feature, is a bold strategy focussed on boosting a country whose ballooning population is hamstrung by social, economic and environmental pressures.The population of the world’s fourth largest island has doubled in the last 25 years to 19.5-million and estimates are that by the year 2050 it will reach 43.5-million. According to the Malagasy government, there are between seven and 10 children per household in rural areas. More than 70% of the total population lives below the poverty line and 50% of children under the age of three suffer retarded growth, partly due to malnutrition. According to the United Nations Human Development Index for 2005 which is a measurement of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living, Madagascar was listed as one of the low human development countries ranking 143 out of 177 countries surveyed.Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is the mainstay of the economy and accounts for more than one-fourth of gross domestic product, employing four-fifths of the population. Climate change and a rise in the number of natural disasters over the past 35 years have affected production and exports, creating a ripple effect on the economy and people’s ability to survive. An increase in the price of rice, the island’s staple food, has also hit large segments of the population, particularly the rural poor.Healthcare boostThe five-year MAP, initiated in 2007 to establish direction and priorities for the nation, aims to speed up development on the island by boosting eight key areas, including infrastructure, education, rural development and health.Listed under healthcare is family planning, which has been problematic in rural areas due to poor infrastructure and traditional beliefs that a woman should bear several children. Adding to population pressures is a 36% drop in infant mortality from 177 per 1 000 live births in 1981 to 43 in 2006, according to the US based Population Reference Bureau’s 2006 figures. This is a result of more extensive and accessible healthcare services in urban areas.According to Irin News, MAP seeks to reduce the average size of the Malagasy family through educational programmes aimed at reducing unwanted teenage pregnancies and making contraceptives more widely available.An early initiative of this kind was the Madagascar Population Support Project carried out between 1993 and 1998, which attempted to expand the use of modern contraceptive methods in urban areas and reduce the fertility rate. The project also provided family planning services in the workplace, introduced non-scalpel vasectomies and educated people through a popular radio series.Through these efforts the project helped increase the contraceptive prevalence rate from 3.5% to 9.7% nationally – a total increase of 177% over the five-year project life.Useful linksMission Madagscar UN Human Development Reports Government of MadagascarDo you have comments or queries about this article? Email Tamara O’Reilly at tamarao@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.last_img read more

Evaluate this year’s hybrids to plan for 2017

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As farmers open up corn and soybean fields and get the 2016 harvest rolling it is important to take a good look at how this year’s products handled the difficult growing season. Asgrow/DEKALB technical agronomist Brad Miller shares his tips with The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins.last_img

JD(U) becomes a recognised State party in Arunachal Pradesh: EC

first_imgThe Janata Dal (United), headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has become a recognised State party in Arunachal Pradesh, the Election Commission has said. The JD(U) won seven Seats in the 60-member Assembly of the north eastern State, next only to the ruling BJP which bagged 41 Seats and secured a majority.“The Janata Dal (United) is now a recognised State party in the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Bihar,” a statement from the Election Commission said on Friday. The Party will also be able to use its symbol arrow in Arunachal Pradesh, the statement added. The JD(U) shares power with the BJP and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party in Bihar. After its success in Arunachal Pradesh, the JD(U) national general secretary K.C. Tyagi had said, “The tally entitles us to the status of the main Opposition party. But we will offer full support to the BJP government” in that State.“Even if we get the Opposition party status, we will be a friendly Opposition,” Mr. Tyagi had made it clear.last_img read more

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett front fashion campaign

first_imgPop star Lady Gaga and singer Tony Bennett are the new faces of brand H&M.The “Pokerface” hitmaker and the 17-time Grammy Award-winner have teamed up to front the Swedish high street brand’s 2014 Christmas campaign.The pair, who will debut their jazz album in September, star in a commercial featuring a song from the albumThe images show the young superstar sporting a voluminous black wig and an oversize knit sweater cuddling up to the suited Bennett, reports telegraph.co.uk.Gaga, 28, and Tony, 88, will also perform a festive jazz song from the pair’s upcoming album “Cheek to Cheek” for the retailer’s TV campaign this November.last_img