Saturday, February 11, 2012

A recent news article “Origin of Dinosuar-Killing AsteroidRemains a Mystery” posted on the NASA website by Whitney Clavin and TrentPerrotto the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has ruled out the hypothesis that a remnant from an Asteroid known as Baptistina caused the dinosaur extinction 65 mya.  According to the article, the Baptistina hypothesis was proposed in 2007 based on studies from ground-based telescopes.

I remember when the Baptistina hypothesis came out, in fact I wrote a related article on the extinction and refrenced it (Dinosaur Demise from a Collision: A Theory in the Making).  This work great in more ways than one.  Although the WISE data indicates that Baptistina is not the killer asteroid, it shows how science is done.  Sometimes new information, experiments, and observations support theories and hypotheses and sometimes they don’t.  If the data supports a hypothesis it may be moved into the realm of a theory, if it does not, it may be dropped.

We always teach and discuss the successful theories but we rarely teach or discuss unsuccessful theories and such.  I would like to say I will talk more about unsuccessful theories, but with so much information, much of it new, and dwindling time during the school year due to increased administration demands on teachers, I find it unlikely.  However, this one was short, recent, interesting, and most importantly, on my mind so I can discuss this with my students.

No comments:

Post a Comment