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Response to Comment on "Ascent of Dinosaurs Linked to an Iridium Anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary"

Olsen, Paul E.; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Rainforth, Emma C.; Kent, Dennis V.; Koeberl, Christian; Huber, Heinz; Montanari, Alessandro; Fowell, Sarah J.; Szajna, Michael J.; Hartline, Brian W.

Our recent study on the nature of the ascent of the dinosaurs (1) argued three main points: (i) that a major terrestrial tetrapod mass extinction is concentrated at the palynologically identified Triassic-Jurassic boundary in eastern North America (based on footprints and bones); (ii) that truly large predatory dinosaurs appear immediately after the boundary (based on footprints); and (iii) that both the boundary and the mass extinction level are associated with a modest Ir anomaly and fern spike, plausibly of asteroid or comet impact origin. Although the comment of Thulborn (2) addresses a number of paleontological issues in (1), his only point salient to the conclusions of our paper is his extraordinary claim that very large theropod dinosaurs were already present in the Carnian, some 20 million years or so before the Triassic-Jurassic boundary [in contrast to our assertion in point (ii), above].

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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December 13, 2011
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