I just came across this interesting article; what do you guys think? Is there some truth to it?
Insects - 1 Million, Dinosaurs - 0
Illustration: Alain Beneteau/www.paleospot.com
Look around. See any dinosaurs? Nope, not a single dinosaur to be found. Insects, on the other hand, are everywhere and the species count tops one million. Somewhere around 65 million years ago, insects and dinosaurs shared the planet. So how did insects continue to thrive, while the dinos disappeared?
The answer lies in amber, according to researchers George and Roberta Poinar. The Poinars studied insect guts and dinosaur feces preserved in the prehistoric tree sap. In their book, What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease and Death in the Cretaceous, they assert that the rise of insects ultimately sealed the fate of the dinosaurs. Insect guts revealed pathogens of disease, powerful enough to sicken large reptiles. In the dinosaur feces, the Poinars uncovered intestinal parasites spread by "filth-visiting insects," in their words. Were bug bites alone enough to knock of T-rex? Not likely, but let's call that strike one.
As insects rose to power (okay, that might be an exaggeration, but allow me some poetic license), they brought along the flowering plants. Insects pollinate, and pollination means more flowers. The ferns and gingkoes that fed the dinosaurs were displaced. Strike two for the lumbering lizards.
A final piece of the "insects trump dinosaurs" theory suggests that insect pests out-competed the dinosaurs for their traditional, and now diminishing, food sources. One hornworm took out most of my tomatoes last summer, so I can sympathize. Strike three, you're out.
Read Dinosaur Bob's (aka Bob Strauss, About.com Guide to Dinosaurs) take on the theory.