An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...

The suicidal farting of dinosaurs.

The evolutionally unexplained, sudden extinction of dinosaurs still continues to interest academics from various disciplines and is a controversial problem. A few years ago the French geochemist Simon Brassell linked together the diet and digestive system of the dinosaurs to biosphere matters and the ozone hole. 

He came to the conclusion that the dinosaurs were the reason for their own extinction, and this was done through the suicidal passing of wind. Dinosaurs, or at least most of their species, were grass-eating animals. As all higher animals, their digestive system was not capable of digesting cellulose, but instead is done by anaerobic bacteria and ciliates, which live within the animal's digestive system. This in turn is connected to the excretion of large amounts of methane, and methane of course is the number one enemy of the ozone layer. Brassell believes that the dinosaurs passed so much wind that they cuased a hole in the ozone layer. As a result of this there was a radical change in the spectrum of light reaching the earths surface and a large decrease in the production of vegetable matter. This meant that the dinosaurs ran out of food, and they were replaced by smaller mammals, that produced less wind. 

As far as I know, the hypothesis, although quite attractive, does not have many followers, but it is true that dinosaurs ate an awful lot of plant material - an animal weighing 100 tonnes must daily eat hundreds of kilograms of green matter. In this sense, dinosaurs were constantly operating as biological reactors, and therefore would have always been passing wind. Thus plenty of methane would have been released into the atmosphere. Naturally accompanying this release loud noises can be expected. One can hypothesise that these farting noises were a language of communication between the dinosaurs, or at least a method of informing others of the occupancy of a terrain and their territories. It is incredibly difficult to prove any such hypothesis, until we can recreate a dinosaur through some form of genetic manipulation (dinosaur DNA preserved in insects trapped in amber could give a starting point for this type of experiments!). If such a hypothesis proved to be true, it would be the first example of communications from 'the other end'. We normally assume that the vocal capabilities of dinosaurs were very limited, regardless of what we may sometimes see on sci-fi programmes and movies. Notice also, that the so called second brain of reptiles, larger than the one in their head, is located nearer the rear end than the front end...



(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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February  2003


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