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Did dark matter wipe out the dinosaurs ?


Posted on Tuesday, 11 March, 2014 | Comment icon 46 comments

An asteroid is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs. Image Credit: NASA/Don Davis
Could a disc of dark matter on the galactic plane have triggered an apocalyptic asteroid impact ?
While there is little doubt that a devastating asteroid collision was a major factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs, some theoretical physicists are considering whether there may have been an external factor at play that tipped the odds in favor of an impact taking place.

The culprit, they argue, may be a thin disk of dark matter that is thought to run through the galaxy. Whenever our solar system passes through this disc it produces a slight gravitational push that has the potential to flings asteroids and comets in our direction.

This idea would help to explain several mass extinctions due to asteroid impacts throughout our planet's history. The cycle is believed to repeat every 35 million years, a figure that is statistically supported by known impacts over the last 250 million years.

Source: Nature.com | Comments (46)

Tags: Dinosaur, Extinction, Dark Matter


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #37 Posted by Hellothere on 14 March, 2014, 4:45
...and the dinosaurs just happened to carve/paint and engrave images of themselves?? I'll stay right here thank you.
Comment icon #38 Posted by keithisco on 14 March, 2014, 6:38
Nope... there is not one iota of evidence that ANY dinosaur image ANYWHERE has been depicted prior to the beginnings of Palaeontology. You have spent far too much time at the Creationist Park, and not enough in the Museum of Natural History. IMO
Comment icon #39 Posted by psyche101 on 14 March, 2014, 7:17
I do not see any Dinosaurs in those pictures. I see bad interpretations calling artistic depictions Dinosaurs, but not any actual Dinosaurs.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Merc14 on 14 March, 2014, 13:38
hellothere, you need to watch NatgeoWild or Fox or FX on Sunday nights at 9PM for the next twelve or so weeks for an hour. Cosmos is airing ahnd I think you'll find some answers that make more sense than a 6,000 year old earth. I am serious and not being flippant about your beliefs but the majesty of the universe, the unimaginable scale of it and the complexity of life is far more grand than the simple creationist view of things.. Please watch that show, if for nothing otehr than the spectacle of it and then if, after watching the entire series, you still believe the earth is 6,000 years o... [More]
Comment icon #41 Posted by Calibeliever on 14 March, 2014, 17:11
In my experience, if a creationist could be convinced otherwise, they would have been already ... evidence in the face of a belief has to first de-construct a person's reality before it can be accepted. This is because beliefs will fight for their own life inside a person's mind, sometimes to the death. A little contrary evidence is easily sluffed off. Personally, I prefer knowledge to belief. Knowledge can be changed with new facts, beliefs can't. Even in the world of God this can be true: (of course the catch is 'conclusively')
Comment icon #42 Posted by Merc14 on 14 March, 2014, 17:43
You''re probably right. I have never dealt with a creationist before although I have heard of them so new to me.
Comment icon #43 Posted by Calibeliever on 14 March, 2014, 19:48
I'm currently living just south of here for a job. Throughout the midwest it's pretty heavy handed. Militant even ... I really can't wait for this gig to be over so I can get out of this backward place lol.
Comment icon #44 Posted by Sundew on 15 March, 2014, 2:21
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't dark matter merely a hypothetical substance to explain the so called "missing mass" and/or extra gravity of the universe? From this they go into a second hypothetical that this "substance" somehow wiped out dinosaurs? Seems to stretch credulity a bit.
Comment icon #45 Posted by Merc14 on 15 March, 2014, 2:38
You are correct, dark matter is a theory that has not been observed yet. That doesn't stop theorists form using it to explain the unexplainable and they went one step further by stating this is a different form of dark matter. We know something is there because the universe behaves in the way it does and we need that mass to explain it but not knowing what that mas is comprised of is the news holy grail of the mad scientist crowd. hell my 8 year old wants to figure it out, along with being the first person to image a black hole, or lack thereof. . Theory though and sometimes posting this... [More]


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