[Biological crisis at the end of the Cretaceous and the extinction of the dinosaurs. Validity of the cosmic hypothesis].Bull Acad Natl Med. 2001; 185(7):1307-26.BA
The history of life, which appeared more than 500 million years ago, has been characterized by a constant faunal and floral turnover. On five occasions, the background extinctions has become a mass extinction (ME), i.e. a major biotic crisis collapsing the upward curve of the biodiversity. The mass extinction of the end of the Permian is the most murderous but the end-Cretaceous one, which experiences dinosaur's death, is the most well-known. In fact, these land-dwelling reptiles with upright limbs, as well as the pterosaurs, the mosasaurs and numerous invertebrates die as far as the last. There exists a lot of hypotheses tending to explain their death but they are often extravagant and/or impossible to be verified. The last one, referring to a collapse between the earth and a heavenly large bolide has given rise, since more than 20 years, to heated debates between catastrophists and gradualists, even if the reality of the impact seems no more doubtful (discovery of Chicxulub impact crater, iridium anomaly, tektite glass, shocked quartz, spinels with high nickel concentrations). It is now the extent of the deleterious effects (regional or worldwide repercussion) which is debating. By referring to the obtained data in oceanic environment and, if necessary, in terrestrial environment where fossil record is too often incomplete, it can be noticed an important fact corresponding to a selective character of extinctions, the event of the C/T boundary killing off some taxa while others are preserved. This remark does not really correspond to the hypothesis of a sudden planetary catastrophe of large magnitude. Consequently, it seems to be reasonable to make arise intrinsic factors associated to the dynamics of the globe (volcanic eruptions, marine regression, fall of temperature) over a long period. The collapse with the Chicxulub asteroid should then come up, especially in Western North-America, as a "coup de grâce" in a weakened ecosystem.