Not by Fire but by Ice
THE NEXT ICE AGE - NOW!
Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us
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Mass extinction every 27 million years,
But they pooh-pooh "Nemesis Star"
12 Jul 10 - Boffins insist that much of life on Earth gets regularly wiped out every 27 million years (give or take a few million years), says this article in the Register.
This revelation was set forth in a new paper by paleontologist Richard K Bambach of the Smithsonian Institution and astronomer Adrian Melott.
According to Bambach, there's no doubt at all that every 27 million years-odd, huge numbers of species suddenly become extinct. "An excess of extinction events are associated with this periodicity at 99% confidence, " says Bambach. (Give or take those few million years.)
This periodicity had previously been noted by other scientists, though not so far back into the past. (Just for the record, I point out a 28-million year periodicity to extinctions in "Not by Fire but by Ice.")
It had been thought that this periodicity was caused by the "Nemesis
Star," a huge, dark companion star orbiting the Sun on a
27-million-year cycle. When "Nemesis" ploughs into the Oort Cloud -
an area beyond the planets where comets seem to like to hang out -
it causes a shower of comets to rain into the inner solar system,
smashing up life on Earth. (I also discuss - and dismiss - the
"Nemesis Star" in the book.)
Or maybe in six million years. (Thank God for scientific precision, aye?)
See entire article and graph:
The closest American equivalent is "egghead."
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