How Mammals Survived the Fifth Mass Extinction

CGI rendering of ancient Loxolophus mammal taken from the PBS NOVA special, Rise of the Mammals. In this recreation, Loxolophus scavenges for food in the palm dominated forests found within the first 300,000 years after the dinosaur extinction. (HHMI Tangled Bank Studios)

Fossil Site Reveals How Mammals Thrived After the Death of the Dinosaurs

by Riley Black /

In central Colorado, at a place called Corral Bluffs, there lies an unusual graveyard. The ranks of the dead aren’t filled with people, but animals that lived 66 million years ago. Preserved in hardened concretions of stone lie the remains of turtles, crocodiles, and most of all, mammals that lived in this place during the first million years after the terrible impact that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs. These animals form a part of our own evolutionary narrative—the story of how mammals went from scurrying around the feet of larger creatures to dominating the continents of the world, evolving into a variety of unique beings, including ourselves.

Mammals are not recent additions to the world that came after the time of the dinosaurs. The oldest mammals go back much further in time, and contrary to the standard story of shrew-like critters kept in check by monstrous reptiles, mammals thrived during Mesozoic era. The asteroid impact that felled the “terrible lizards” was also a portentous event for the mammals that had already been plying their own success for tens of millions of years.

The mammalian story is a complicated one.

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Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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  1. “These animals form a part of our own evolutionary narrative—the story of how mammals went from scurrying around the feet of larger creatures to dominating the continents of the world, evolving into a variety of unique beings, including ourselves”. ..hum!!! Again, I used to be a proponent of Darwinism until I looked at the Cambrian explosion 530 million years ago,then DNA, genome but as well noticed that some species did not change. Examples are the prehistoric and living fossil like the horshoe crab and the coelacanth fish to cite a few Even the primordial bacteria like prokaryotes, eukaryotes and stromatolites have not changed since 4 billion years. But where I was really upset with the scientists and institutions like the Smithsonian is they have to tow to their model no matter what, use mumbo jumbo explanation or first class words or outright lies and fraud (the Piltdown Man come to mind) and even rug under the carpet when a discovery does not fit the model (filtering process discussed by M Cremo)…

    • … I accept that micro-evolution does happen in one specie as it is observable in the fossil record. However, macro evolution has not been proven. So far, no fossil bones of mutant species (missing links from a specie changing to another) have been found, and I am confident these will never find these including ours. True, some mammal species have survived all the 4 major extinction level events like the horsehoe crab and the coelacanth but it was always noted that new species came on Earth after these cataclysms out of the blue without showing any connections with previous species. They just happen to appear. Period! Even a hard core Darwinist like Richard Dawkins admitted that obvious fact. Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace’s ideas and theories were good ideas, I have no issue with that. Even Darwin stated that if no mutant species can be found (the macro evolution bones) in the fossil record, then his theory can no longer be maintained. That was honourable of him, but today scientists have ignored his advice and will use non sense such as punctuated equilibrium or genetic bottleneck… to get away with problems that the fossil record does not show just to maintain that crumbling theory. That is not science, it is outright fraud.

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