Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:40 AM
KARSTIC AND PSEUDOKARSTIC CAVES AS SHELTERS DURING HEAT PULSE EXTINCTIONS
Despite vigorous dissent, bolide impact remains a viable explanation of at least the K-T extinction. Mechanisms of such extinctions and of survival of certain nonmarine vertebrate families have been theorized in considerable detail. In 2004, Robertson et al proposed sheltering effects of water and of 10 cm of soil as primary survival mechanisms during short IR heat pulses. Their paper especially stressed "natural cavities" including animal burrows, "tree holes" and termite mounds but virtually excluded caves; in listing taxa of potentially surviving neornithine birds known in the Cretaceous, they noted only that some Hawaiian honeycreepers nest in some lava tube caves. Reviews of the enormous variety of spelean habitats of modern troglobitic, troglophilic and trogloxene nonmarine vertebrates, and of the equally enormous variety of potential spelean shelters during the K-T extinction suggests that their concept should be expanded. K-T paleokarsts and related pseudokarstic features may contain unique data on rodent-sized mammals known to have survived this extinction.