Like most other kids my age, I was fascinated by the wonderful and mysterious world of the dinosaurs. I recorded every dinosaur documentary I could catch on TV. I bought (well, my parents paid for them) book after book on these amazing creatures – and I would just spend hours poring over the beautiful illustrations and artist conceptions. I even tried a hand at drawing dinosaurs. I was sure I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up (besides being an astronomer, of course)!
In the midst of all my childhood ‘fantasies’, one question kept haunting me: What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? In every dinosaur book that I owned then, this question remained the central mystery. No one knew for certain. Of course, various theories were already floating around – change in climate, asteroid or comet, diseases and a few other weird ideas. Growing up through the years, I’ve had the priviledge of witnessing how this story has unfolded – from the discovery of large amounts of irridium and shocked quartz in the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, the huge crater in the Yucatan peninsula, the evolution of certain dinosaurs into birds, the rise of theories involving super-volcanoes, and now this International Scientific Panel that decides to declare once and for all that an asteroid impact killed off the dinosaurs.
Mission accomplished. Mystery solved. Really? Well things aren’t always that certain in science, and I am sure there will be detractors, no matter how star-studded this international team may be. And there will always be more questions.
Again, it’s important to remember that science is dead without its critics and detractors…
The man of science should be essentially a rebel, a prophet rather than a priest, one who should not be ashamed of finding himself in opposition to the hierarchy. ~ Edward Milne, Modern Cosmology and the Christian Idea of God