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Lecture - Twenty-five Years Plus of Research on Impacts and Mass Extinctions by Dr. Spencer Lucas
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
Albuquerque, NM
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Lecture - Twenty-five Years Plus of Research on Impacts and Mass Extinctions by Dr. Spencer Lucas
Paleontologists have identified many extinctions over geologic time; five stand out as much larger than the rest, but what caused them? Study of the end-Cretaceous impact event led to the idea that extraterrestrial impacts might be a general cause of all mass extinctions.  However, the end-Cretaceous extinction is the only one of the "big five" that appears to coincide with a major impact event. In fact, the underlying cause(s) of each of the "big five" extinctions may be a uniquely different set of circumstances.  What is the evidence for the events that caused each extinction; and what does that mean for our understanding of mass extinctions?

Dr. Spencer Lucas is Curator of Geology and Paleontology and Chief Scientist at the NMMNHS. He has worked at the Museum since 1988. A graduate of the University of New Mexico and Yale University, Lucas is a paleontologist who specializes in the use of fossils to determine the ages of geological and biological events in Earth history. He is the author of more than 1000 scientific articles, and has worked extensively on the mass extinctions at the end of the Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous.

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New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
1801 Mountain Rd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
United States


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Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No

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