The Top Ten Weirdest Dinosaur Extinction Ideas

Paleontologists, both professional and amateur, have dreamed up some bizarre explanations of how the dinosaurs disappeared from Earth

Silhouette of the Tyrannosaurus called Stan. This "tyrant lizard king," was excavated and prepared by the Black Hills Institute. (© Louie Psihoyos/CORBIS)

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Dinosaur Farts

Much like death by aliens, the idea that dinosaurs farted themselves into extinction was never a scientific hypothesis. The notion was a misconstrued conclusion drawn from some recent dinosaur research. Last year, paleontologist David Wilkinson and collaborators tried to calculate how much gas the long-necked, hefty sauropod dinosaurs could have produced. The researchers speculated that the dinosaurs’ annual output of methane gas would have been enough to influence the global climate, but the researchers said nothing about extinction. After all, a variety of sauropods existed for tens of millions of years without showing any sign of gassing themselves out of existence. Ignoring the actual research by Wilkinson and colleagues,, various news sites jumped on the study to suggest that dinosaurs gassed themselves into oblivion. Such sites were only blowing hot air.

About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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