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No Red Plants, No Dinos

A possible reason there are few REALLY large animals around
  (+1, -6)(+1, -6)
(+1, -6)
  [vote for,

(This was my half-baked answer to the "extinction" post - just promoting it as a half-baked item on its own.)

Perhaps in the time of the dinosaurs, the dominant plant species were red, absorbing the more energetic blue/yellow light from the sun, and so grew faster and had a higher average sugar content - allowing dinosaurs to gather more energy per bite.

But when the dino-killer hit and blocked out the sun over the entire world, those plants could not survive with less sunlight and died out, while the green plants that had previously scraped by in the shade of the vast red jungles managed to survive. But the green plants don't grow fast enough or store enough sugar to feed really big animals.

Has anyone found proof that most plants in the age of dinosaurs were green like today's? Concentrations of chlorophyll or remainder traces in plant fossiles?

See the link below that may be related - but begs the question of why deciduous trees didn't evolve much earlier in the age of dinosaurs. The above could be the answer to that question.

TomRC, Oct 07 2002

The Dinosaur Origin and Extinction http://home13.inet.....dk/palm/dinweb.htm
Trees killed the dinosaurs - but why did it take so long? [TomRC, Oct 07 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Science on leaf redness http://www.sciencen...rg/20021026/toc.asp
Excellent review on current thinking about why leaves redden. [bungston, Oct 06 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       let them eat rhubarb...
po, Oct 07 2002

       Anything that stands a chance of promoting giant reptilian monsters get a vote from me ...
Aristotle, Oct 07 2002

       No red planets, no Deimos.
waugsqueke, Oct 07 2002

       Frenzal Rhomb put their theory on dinosaur extinction into a song titled "i know why dinosaurs became extinct its because they learned how to suck their own cocks."
Gulherme, Oct 08 2002

       Um, why would plants evolve to be less efficient? They clearly wouldn't. You suggest red plants were 'better' before the asteroid impact, were lost at the impact, then conditions returned to those before the impact. What would quickly happen would be that the surviving green plants would undergo adaptive radiation to enter the empty niche. So you'd have red plants evolving from the green plants.   

       I think this rules out your theory.
However, it is I think widely recognised that the atmosphere has decreased in density and CO2 content over time, leading to a decreased overall productiveness of photosynthesis. Thus, while you are wrong in mechanism, you are possibly correct that a reduction in the total primary production (amount of plant growth) might affect the size of animals. (This is not a new idea.)
Loris, Oct 08 2002

       I think that the dinosaurs had all gone on holiday to the Caribbean when the asteroid hit. They were probably just lounging around on the beach, marvelling at how effective their sunglasses were at blocking out sunlight when they all suddenly became extinct.
DrBob, Oct 08 2002

       It seems more likely to me that the plants would be green during the dino days, red after the catastrophe, then return again to green. A simple experiment will demonstrate that today, many land plants are green. However, there are red plants: rainforest plants living in deep shadow have red pigment as do red algae, living in light filtered by overlying sea. The favorite houseplant Coleus is an example of an extant red plant. After the dust cloud from the Alvarez meteor, the whole world would have been analagous to a forest floor, with only filtered light. Plants would quickly have evolved to maximize redness, leaving green plant dependent dinos to starve.
bungston, Oct 17 2002

       Oh come now! Everybody knows that dinosaurs became extinct because god discovered earth.
lazloquezos, Oct 17 2002

       TomRc, when I posted my theory on the extinction of the dinosaurs being atributed to a decrease in the rotational speed of the earth, and large reptiles no longer being able to support their own weight, I was promptly informed in no uncertain terms that (there is no idea here, [marked for deletion]), It has since been just that, deleted. What makes this posting diferent from my own ? Anybody???   

       Don't look at me, guv. I didn't delete it.
DrBob, Oct 18 2002

       My annotation was deleted too. It pointed out that this idea is really a rehash of the killer asteroid theory.
phoenix, Oct 18 2002

       2 fries: It's all arbitrary. If one of the moderators doesn't like your idea, they mark it for deletion, and out the window it goes. There are supposedly rules about what is acceptable and what isn't (click on "help" to see the rules) and some of the moderators (like Jutta and bris) try to be fair and follow those rules, but some of the others (whom I shall not name here) don't.

       phoenix: The writer of an idea has the freedom to delete any of the annotations under their idea, so this is probably what happened with yours. This ain't no democracy.
rabbit, Oct 19 2002

       Actually, Rabbit, anybody who feels so inclined can mark an idea for deletion (or expiry, although that's gradually dying out). The moderators are just the people with the unfortunate and unpleasant task of deleting marked threads after a certain period of inactivity. There are a number of threads which are so marked which will likely not actually be deleted.
yamahito, Oct 20 2002

a) No shit?
b) I only mentioned it as the author seemed intent on removing those annotations which critiqued the idea.
phoenix, Oct 22 2002

       [rabbit] lay off the mods they're just doing their job. And its not about liking or disliking an idea it's about whether it falls into one of the m-f-d criteria on the help page (go look). If they dislike your idea they'll fishbone it or anno it (to the effect) like anyone else.   

       While I'm on the topic I have just had a quich shuftie through the reasons for m-f-d; ideas-for-scientific-theories doesn't seem to be one of 'em. So I see no reason why this, or [2fries] extinction idea should be marked as such. If the bakery can stretch to poems and songs then I'm sure it can stretch to theories too.
Zircon, Oct 22 2002

       I added a link to a recent review on why leaves turn red.
bungston, Nov 11 2002

       This is an interesting idea, but the "invention" of chlorophyll occured back when algae were the most advanced of organisims. Plants evolved from algae that were already green. We know this because we have found living descendants of organisms that are at a crossroads between the two kindgoms. Charophycaens are a group of algae that exhibit the same cell wall structure as plants and share some common genes, it's a good bet that they are the direct ancestors of plants. They're green too.
Madcat, Apr 11 2003

       Dinosaurs = universal motivators.
epicproblem, May 30 2006

       //around the time of the K-T boundary, freak weather patterns of a sort that we've never experienced yet began to occur due to global worming, and every single dinosaur got struck by lightning //

Hence the old brontasaurus herders' song "My baby caught the KT, And left me a mule to ride."
DrBob, May 30 2006


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