Authors contributed equally to this work and are listed alphabetically.
The extinction of the dinosaurs
Article first published online: 28 JUL 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society
How to Cite
Brusatte, S. L., Butler, R. J., Barrett, P. M., Carrano, M. T., Evans, D. C., Lloyd, G. T., Mannion, P. D., Norell, M. A., Peppe, D. J., Upchurch, P. and Williamson, T. E. (2014), The extinction of the dinosaurs. Biological Reviews. doi: 10.1111/brv.12128
All other authors are listed alphabetically.
- Article first published online: 28 JUL 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 JUN 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 7 JUN 2014
- Manuscript Received: 5 DEC 2013
- NSF. Grant Numbers: EAR-1325544, EAR-1325552
- Marie Curie Career Integration. Grant Number: EC 630652
- Imperial College Junior Research Fellowships
- Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowships
- mass extinction;
- Chicxulub impact;
- Deccan Traps;
- global change;
Non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, geologically coincident with the impact of a large bolide (comet or asteroid) during an interval of massive volcanic eruptions and changes in temperature and sea level. There has long been fervent debate about how these events affected dinosaurs. We review a wealth of new data accumulated over the past two decades, provide updated and novel analyses of long-term dinosaur diversity trends during the latest Cretaceous, and discuss an emerging consensus on the extinction's tempo and causes. Little support exists for a global, long-term decline across non-avian dinosaur diversity prior to their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. However, restructuring of latest Cretaceous dinosaur faunas in North America led to reduced diversity of large-bodied herbivores, perhaps making communities more susceptible to cascading extinctions. The abruptness of the dinosaur extinction suggests a key role for the bolide impact, although the coarseness of the fossil record makes testing the effects of Deccan volcanism difficult.