That’s So 1986

So there’s another theory of asteroid-induced Super Ecosystem Death, this time at the Permian-Triassic boundary (which is unquestionably the coolest and most dramatic of all Super Ecosystem Deaths known to paleontology). Ho-hum. Asteroid-induced death has been massively trendy since 1980, and people have been finding ingenious “evidence” of “impact scenarios” for years.
So fuck the unusual petrology of the month; I’m not qualified to mock it anyway.

What I want to know is why do these guys insist that the K(“C”)retaceous-Tertiary event was the second-greatest of all time? Sure, the ammonites died at the K-T, and all right-thinking individuals will forever mourn their loss. And dinosaurs blah blah blah. But the K-T doesn’t hold a candle to the late Ordovician in any criteria but sexiness and lucrative edutainment potential. There are no attractive young tetrapods or land plants in the Ordovician, and even the coolest trilobites with the compound eyes don’t evolve until the Devonian, so this is understandable. But geologists should know better than to obsess over such superficial concerns as lungs and compound eyes. We’re talking half the world’s brachiopods after all.

When I am King of the Planet, the relative merits of various extinctions shall be fixed by royal decree, and artists will glorify the tragic deaths of rugose coral reefs in spectacularly costumed and choreographed circuses. Authors who insist on making off-handed comparisons to the K-T boundary in order to attract the public’s attention shall play the bottommost rugosids.


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