Speaker Series 2016: The Cretaceous-Palaeogene Mass Extinction: What Do We Really Know?

The Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction is one of the most famous extinction events in Earth’s history, most notably as it marked the end of the Age of Dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago. Although it is widely known that dinosaurs were wiped out during this event, many other types of animals also went extinct at the same time, both in the oceans and on land, resulting in the disappearance of nearly seventy-five percent of all species on Earth. Despite frequent claims of “ground-breaking discoveries,” the exact details of the K-Pg mass extinction remain shrouded in mystery. Ongoing research by palaeontologists and Earth scientists aims to elucidate how rapidly species went extinct, the reason(s) why some species disappeared while others survived, and what was/were the cause(s) of the mass extinction event.

In this talk, the Museum’s own Dr. François Therrien, Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology, will present an overview of the current state of knowledge about the K-Pg mass extinction and attempt to answer the question: “What killed the dinosaurs?”


One thought on “Speaker Series 2016: The Cretaceous-Palaeogene Mass Extinction: What Do We Really Know?

  1. For many years, the impact hypothesis has been all but proven to the satisfaction of nearly everyone. But it and other physical factors–notably volcanism–needn’t have been the only ones involved. If Tyrannosaurus really was an invasive species, as was just suggested, it might’ve eradicated certain taxa in Laramidia (and perhaps beyond) including–but not necessarily limited to–other tyrannosaurs. While Chicxulub appears firmly established as a cause of the K-Pg, some species may have disappeared before the impact, resulting in the apparent, reduced diversity of latest Maastrichtian Laramidia.

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