back to article Dinosaur-murdering space boulder family found innocent

The hunt for the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs is back on, after a NASA mission indicated that the current suspected space rock is not the likely culprit. A study in 2007, which used visible-light data from ground-based telescopes, had suggested that a fragment of a huge ancient asteroid known as Baptistina had been …


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  1. TeeCee Gold badge

    "..the Baptistina family.."

    "Nice dinosaurs you've got there. It'd be a crying shame if anything nasty happened to 'em now, wouldn't it........?".

  2. Andy Fletcher

    So it turns out...

    when you try and prove that large lumps of stone are the cause for mass extinction events, you end up on rocky ground?

  3. Nerdo

    The register loves to ignore the overwhelming consensus opinion of climate scientists and to play up any doubt and promote any conspiracy theory about climate change.

    Yet when scientists discuss what wiped out the dinosaurs, the cause of which is very much more speculative than that of climate change, the scientists are taken at their word. I don't read the Reg for the science acumen of its staff, but I'm still curious to find out how they decide which scientists to believe and which the staff believes it can ridicule.

    1. Chris Miller

      One palaeontological theory has been shown to be incorrect . This is how science works, you propose testable theories and then attempt to disprove them. Please let me know what evidence would be required to falsify AGW, and I'll be prepared to treat it on an equal footing.

      1. Nerdo

        AGW falsifiability

        Chris, that is a fine criterion for picking apart useful from useless theories. In the case of AGW, if it was scientifically show that CO2 wasn't rising, then that would disprove it. If it was shown that increased CO2 doesn't trap more IR radiation, then that would disprove it. If it was shown that the long-term global temperature trend hasn't been climbing, for whatever reason, that would disprove it.

        In science, unlike math, nothing is ever 100% proved conclusively. Something could turn up tomorrow that changes everything, eg, when newtonian mechanics was shown to be incomplete.

        1. Chris Miller

          Nive try, Nerdo

          Except that AGW does not predict that CO2 will rise - it says that if it does continue to rise, the effect will be (inter alia) a temperature increase of x. The 'greenhouse' effect of CO2 alone is insufficient to account for more than ~20% of historic temperature increase, and so models have been developed with various plausible but unverified positive feedback mechanisms incorporated.

          Sadly. the models are both too complex to make useful predictions (they have too many free parameters) and far too simple to represent the complexities of our atmosphere and its climate systems. When the predicted temperature rises don't match the models - well, we always have more (better?) models.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How scence works

        "This is how science works, you propose testable theories and then attempt to disprove them."

        Ah that will explain "Scientists demand tougher guidelines on teaching of creationism in schools". Or is it just that they will are scared someone will see evolution doesn't happen?

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      There is tangible proof of a massive impact

      exactly on the K-T boundary. Paleontology that, not climate science. You are right in saying that the exact mechanisms of the extinction and the climate change as a result of the asteroid impact are speculative, but there is proof of massive forest fires in the fossil record. The estimate of the asteroid size (approx 5-10km, estimated from the impact crater remains) combined with the fact that the iridium-rich layer at the K-T boundary is found all over the world is powerful evidence that something affected the whole world just at the point dinosaurs went extinct. Bit of a coincidence that.

      1. Nerdo

        Michael -- don't get me wrong. As I am not an expert in the area, I defer to the scientists who spend their days trying to figure out the puzzle. I also believe there is good evidence to think that an asteroid event could have caused widespread extinctions.

        However, I believe that the climate science is in the same or better shape than the extinction hypothesis. On the one hand, the Reg believes scientific consensus, and on the other subject ridicules it at every opportunity. I'm not asking for an invitation to hash out climate science. It is a meta question wondering how one decides which experts to believe and which experts to dismiss.

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Erm, you might want to read the article

      It was theorised that it was a piece of the Baptistina asteroid group that hit the Earth approx. 65 million years ago, creating the KT boundary, causing massive climate change and wiping out many families of species, including the large dinosaurs. (The small ones are still with us - lookit the birdy!)

      Now we've done some more measurements that indicate it wasn't that particular set of rocks, but must have been other rocks.

      The evidence we have at present still says that it was a giant space rock - just that it wasn't the particular rocks we previously thought.

    4. Mr Young
      Thumb Up


      It's called healthy debate last time I looked? I believe the climate can and does change - I bet a massive volcano could screw us all real bad! As for humans breaking the climate, I somehow suspect the Earth would recover from that.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge


        I'm also sure that the Earth would recover from humans breaking the climate - after it eliminated the cause that is.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone with a brain as opposed to you

      What evidence for climate change would that be?

      The IPCC's own temperature data that shows the earth hasnt gotten any warmer since 98?

      All those computer models that are so great they cant even recreate whats ACTUALLY happended (not to mention that they have also been shown to have massive flaws in their models, their analysis and nobel prize winning physicists think they are rubbish)?

      The fact that they used to grow grapes in Scotland but dont now because its too cold?

      The fact that they used to have dairy farms in Greenland but dont now because its too cold?

      Only a complete moron takes as gospel that the earth is warming. Only someone even stupider believes it is caused by CO2. There is ZERO evidence and precious little in the way of reliable theory to support this nonsense.

      The IPCC is one huge bureaucracy of non scientists designed to keep 10's of 1000's of people in fancy hotels and nice holidays...

      Finally to top it off - what moron determined that a warming earth is actually bad? What fool decided that more CO2 in the atmosphere is dangerous (hint - CO2 is vital to the existance of plants - and without plants life itself doesnt exist - therefore CO2 is not a pollutant)? What is all that based on? There is zero research or evidence to suggest anything of the sort!

      You are so dumb you must struggle to stand and breathe!

      1. Jerome Fryer

        Not a learn'd brain, though

        Whoa! Someone's been reading denier blogs based on other denier blogs based on wildly incorrect news articles based on glosses of the actual scientific papers.

        To think such a thing could occur on teh' inter-tubes!

        These are pretty good sources, with information based on reading the actual scientific papers:

        The BS on climate change that el' reg' writes up is actually a public service. It is a clear warning to anyone who may mistakenly believe that the other stories could be any more reliable.

      2. Martin
        Thumb Down

        @AC 9:36

        Just a couple of points.

        "What fool decided that more CO2 in the atmosphere is dangerous (hint - CO2 is vital to the existance of plants - and without plants life itself doesnt exist - therefore CO2 is not a pollutant)? What is all that based on?"

        Google Greenhouse Effect. Then, bear in mind that we (yes, the human race) are decreasing the number of plants (Google deforestation), which is only going to increase the amount of C02 in the atmosphere. That's what it's all based on.

        You are entitled to disagree with the science (or even the "science", if you prefer). But if you don't even understand why the increase in CO2 might well be a bad thing, then you have shown no evidence that you even understand the science - which is really pretty important to be able to refute it.

        Your assessment of the IPCC as "a huge bureaucracy of non scientists designed to keep 10's of 1000's of people in fancy hotels and nice holidays" is also a little wide of the mark.

        "The IPCC is not, as many people seem to think, a large organization. In fact, it has only 10 full-time staff in its secretariat at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, plus a few staff in four technical support units that help the chairs of the three IPCC working groups and the national greenhouse gas inventories group. The actual work of the IPCC is done by unpaid volunteers – thousands of scientists at universities and research institutes around the world who contribute as authors or reviewers to the completion of the IPCC reports. A large fraction of the relevant scientific community is thus involved in the effort."

        Finally - you won't convince anyone that your view is correct by telling them that they are "a complete moron" or that they are "so dumb you must struggle to stand and breathe".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Martin

          There is no conclusive proof that increased CO2 is the *major* contributor to any kind of Global Warming. If it t'were then when we test for the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere around 900 to 1300 AD it would be higher than today as it was warmer than today (Greenland got it's name for a reason). And when we test the CO2 in the atmosphere during the Mini Ice-Age it would surely show a much lower amount than today as it was much colder.

          Increased CO2 in atmopshere != a warmer climate

          Decreased CO2 in atmopshere != a cooler climate

          plenty of periods in earths past (as mentioned above) confirm this

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    So the result from the break up could still be out there.....


    Oh, wait.


    Darn, that wont work


    always a trusty fall-back

    Explosion, because well ....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised there haven't been any posts from creationists yet stating that the earth was made a few thousand years ago and that dinosaur fossils were placeed there by Satan to confuse us...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      You missed the boat there... about 200 years. Unless the creationists are willing to bet that Satan was as omniscient as God to be able to put forth ALL the fake geologic clues scatted all throughout the world (showing the various strata that record the eras), not to mention the fact that some strata are known to go UNDER mountains that evidence points to have been formed over MILLIONS of years. Plus, our space-borne knowledge showing pretty good evidence that God didn't create the universe (seeing as the Earth isn't at the center of it--and Satan would certainly have no abilities beyond God's), poking some more holes in the creationist hypothesis. Basically, creationists have some explaining to do. At least the scientists are doing just that: providing an explanation. Sure, they made a wrong turn here, but not concerning the theory: just one facet of it. There are still other candidates to consider.

      1. <shakes head>

        there are biffrent brands of creationists some are young earthers generally seen to be nutters and oldearthers who are talking about the reason not the method.

    2. Sir Sham Cad

      Dinosaur fossils and Satan: Latest news from the Creation Science Desk!

      I feel the need to share this (even if the whole world already knows about it):

      Ask Professor Giraffenstein about the Dinosaurs and the fossil record.

      Then ask yourself WTF counts as an "evil" Dinosaur.

      1. Armando 123

        Evil dinosaur

        Eddie Izzard has done significant research into this, though he mainly focused on giraffes.

    3. peter_dtm

      it wasn't satan

      it was Slartibartfast and friends

      Slarti got an award for the Fjords

      Just ask Mr Dent - and remember the answer's 42

  6. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Everyone knows they died out because time travelling cowboys turned them into brontoburgers for the Fast Food chain that will replace McD's.

    1. Vic

      > time travelling cowboys turned them into brontoburgers

      2000AD used to be brilliant, didn't it?


    2. Sir Sham Cad

      Upvoted because

      FLESH was my favourite 2000AD story by miles! Now available collected, I think, from the usual outlets.

  7. Martin

    So, the asteroid broke up 80 million years ago...

    ...the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago....

    So fifteen million years isn't long enough for a bit of broken up asteroid to reach the earth?

    Obviously, it's a bit more complicated than that - but I'd like a bit more explanation myself.

  8. BasevaInc

    Star Trek iTallions

    The Star Trek iTallions tossed a fake bolder at the planet then moved in!

  9. Nanners

    Asteroid is as old as brontoburgers

    I was looking at that exact same time discrepancy. 80 million yr. Old asteroid, 65 million yr. Old extenction. Wher's the problem? Brontoburgers are so 2000.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When the small gang of shrews approached Mr. Velociraptor and told him bad things would happen unless he paid them some protection money, he laughed.

    He is not laughing now.

  11. davcefai

    I don't know if it applies to all Baptists, but the few I know reject Evolutionary theory. Is the name of the asteroid just a coincidence?

  12. Solly

    Surely there's a 1 in 3,200 chance that 15 million years was sufficient time.... oh wait

  13. bazza Silver badge


    Has the Georgia state parole board looked into this? I think we should be told...

  14. Winkypop Silver badge

    We don't need no steekin' asteroid!

    The dinosaurs wouldn't get on the ark.

    Said they wouldn't share a pen with the unicorns.

    That's why they were BOTH wiped out.

    rant, rave, mumble....

  15. Dave Bell

    Vague guess, inadequate data.

    I don't see how anyone can know enough about the break-up of the Asteroid and the collision with the Earth to pin this down. Maybe there's detectable iridium: at least that would make these mega-boulders a candidate.

    So just what has the change in timing been? 15 million years is a lot of time, and the dinosaurs might just have been very unlucky. The collision might be more likely to have happened 50 million years ago, with the new data, but I can't see how that translates into an impossibility.

  16. darkmage0707077

    Scientists were Wrong

    Well, I guess these weren't the rocks they're looking for, so we can go about our business.

    Move along, people, nothing to see here...

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