( Originally written and posted on MySpace on October 8, 2008 )
In 1980, Walter Alvarez, a geologist at the University of California, Berkeley, advanced the theory that the dinosaurs went into extinction 65 million years ago when the earth was struck by an asteroid, which caused a catastrophic change in the earth's climate.
In his book The Outline of History, first published in 1920, H. G. Wells anticipated the same theory. Dismissing the theory that the dinosaurs went into extinction because they lost in competition with the mammals, Wells concluded that the extinction of the dinosaurs had to be the result of a catastrophic event which radically changed the earth's climate. In his words:
" The Reptiles perished for the most part, . . . . But no one has ever been able to suggest a force that could suddenly twist our spinning world in that fashion. We do not know what jars and jolts the solar system may have suffered in the past. We are left guessing. Some huge dark projectile from outer space may have come hurtling through the planets and deflected or even struck our world and turned the whole course of evolution into a new direction. Little projectiles of that sort are always striking us. They come flying into our atmosphere and catch fire with the heat of their rush through the air and burn -- the shooting stars. Most of these meteors are burnt to nothing before they reach the ground, but many have reached and continue to reach the earth. Some in our museums are several yards in diameter. Perhaps once one was big enough to produce a change such as we have supposed. But this is a lapse into pure speculation. "