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Free Audio Lecture: The Search for What Killed the Dinosaurs

Taught by Professor Peter Ward, Gallagher Professor of Paleontology and Geological Sciences, University of Washington

Lecture: The Search for What Killed the Dinosaurs
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What really wiped the dinosaurs off the face of the planet? What does the answer to this question tell us about our own future on Earth?

Mass-extinction theories began around 200 years ago with the work of French scientist Georges Cuvier, who developed the idea that catastrophic natural events were responsible for the extinction of early species of life on Earth—including dinosaurs.

A definitive moment in the study of mass extinction occurred in the 1980s with the discovery of the K-T Boundary, a layer of sedimentary rock in the Earth that signaled the impact of an asteroid over 65 million years ago. This landmark scientific moment has since provided scientists with remarkable new ideas and questions about the demise of captivating creatures like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and Velociraptor.

  • Was this mass extinction sudden or gradual?
  • What role did environmental factors like volcanic activity, increases in global temperatures, and forest fires play in their extinction?
  • What clues can scientists find in studying the fossil record and rock layers?

Listen to this free lecture to discover a wealth of fascinating ideas behind the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

The Search for What Killed the Dinosaurs is delivered by leading U.S. paleontologist and award-winning professor Peter Ward. The Gallagher Professor of Paleontology and Geological Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, Professor Ward is a Fellow of the California Academy of Science and the recipient of the prestigious James H. Shea Award-given annually by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for excellence in geoscience education. A prolific author, Professor Ward's book The End of Evolution was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.

Download this free lecture at your computer, transfer it to your iPod or MP3 player, or burn it to a CD. Send the link to this free lecture to family or friends who might enjoy it; it is free for them as well!


Paul Suijk
The Teaching Company

P.S. Explore the four courses on the right to discover more scientific insights about geology, astronomy, and the development of life on Earth.

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