The extinction of the dinosaurs in North America
Date of Original Version
Rightly or wrongly, dinosaurs are poster children for the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction. The rate and cause of their extinction, however, has been contentious, at least in part because of their rarity. Nonetheless, significant data have accumulated to indicate that the dinosaur extinction, in North America at least, was geologically instantaneous. The evidence comes from field studies in geologically disparate settings involving the reconstruction of dinosaur stratigraphic ranges as well as community structure in the Late Cretaceous, and from quantitative studies of the post-Cretaceous evolution of mammals. The hypothesis of extinction by asteroid impact i s concordant with what is known of the rate of the dinosaur extinction, as well as the patterns of selective vertebrate survivorship across the K-T boundary. The precise nature of the kill mechanism(s), however, remains under discussion.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Fastovsky, David E., and Peter M. Sheehan. "The extinction of the dinosaurs in North America." GSA Today 15, 3 (2005). doi: 10.1130/1052-5173(2005)15[4:RRARPD]2.0.CO;2.