Lecture scheduled at Shaw Institute Aug. 14

BLUE HILL — The Shaw Institute will host a talk by paleontologist Gerta Keller, the institute’s 2019 Distinguished Environmental Speaker, titled “Dinosaur Wars: Extinction by Asteroid or Volcanism?” on Wednesday, Aug. 14, as part of its 2019 Environmental Speaker Series “Planet In Crisis: Agents of Change.”

The lecture starts at 6 p.m., following a 5:30 reception honoring the speaker. The lecture at the Shaw Institute Blue Hill Research Center, 55 Main St., Blue Hill, is free and open to the public.

Raised on a dairy farm in Switzerland, Gerta Keller is at the heart of one of the most rancorous controversies in science. Keller astonished the scientific world with fossil evidence that massive volcanic eruptions in southwestern India wiped out the dinosaurs some 100,000 years before an asteroid hit the Yucatan in Mexico, creating a firestorm.

“Sure the day after, they had a headache,” Keller wrote, however “we vastly overestimate the damage to the environment and to life that this asteroid had.”

Keller has convincing evidence that the dinosaur extinction occurred gradually some 100,000 years earlier when a series of massive volcanic eruptions occurred on India’s Deccan Plateau. The eruptions rapidly heated the planet and released a storm of toxic carbon and sulfur gases into the atmosphere.

“Gerta Keller is an amazing human being and an important voice in science today”, Shaw Institute founder Susan Shaw said in a statement. “Keller’s understanding or what caused the last extinction, the forces at play, the way it actually happened over time, are like high-powered binoculars for us today as we witness the tragic decline/loss of species, sea level rise, flooding, wildfires, and increasingly hot, turbulent weather.”

Keller predicts that humans are heading for the same fate as both creators and victims of the sixth mass extinction, unless we can act soon enough to stop the most rapid climate warming in Earth’s history.

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