QUESTION TEXT: Some scientists believe that 65 million years…
QUESTION TYPE: Paradox
PARADOX: An asteroid strike could have killed the dinosaurs.
However, the asteroid strike could not have killed the plants. Most of the debris would have settled within six months, too soon to kill plants.
ANALYSIS: On many paradox questions, there’s no way to think of a right answer ahead of time. Here, you just have to keep an open mind for other ways an asteroid strike could kill all the dinosaurs.
The right answer provides an alternate way the asteroid could have killed the dinosaurs: the dust caused disease. The disease could have occurred even if most of the dust settled.
- Poor carnivores. But we haven’t established that the herbivores would have lost their food: the dust settled very quickly.
- This doesn’t matter, since the asteroid strike would hurl dust into the entire atmosphere.
- That’s interesting. But the debris cloud settled down very fast, so the cool temperatures wouldn’t have lasted for long.
- Ok, so “many” dinosaurs would have been killed. But this doesn’t tell us that the asteroid strike was enough to kill all of the dinosaurs.
- CORRECT. This could kill all of the dinosaurs. The atmospheric debris went everywhere. And if enough dust stayed airborne even after most of it then settled then respiratory infections could have killed all of the dinosaurs.
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