Did Dark Matter Kill the Dinosaurs?

So asks a new post summarizing a fairly recent geology paper. To give a quick summary: Almost certainly not. We already think we know what probably caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, so a dark matter proposal is really not needed.

Anyway, I’ve seen things like this (and related ones like “Did neutrinos kill the dinosaurs?,” but they are mostly fanciful thought experiments or even just April Fool’s jokes. I quickly glanced at the paper referenced in the post, and I am not at all convinced by it. The basic idea is that if a lot of dark matter is concentrated in the plane of the galaxy, then as the solar system oscillates in and out of the plane, Earth should feel effects from a changing density of dark matter possibly due to large clumps. Then, if dark matter annihilates to photons or charged particles, it can collect in the planet’s core and cause extra heating, which then can cause geological events leading to mass extinctions. It appears to me that the author found some old paper on the topic from the 90s and basically wrote a paper summarizing the earlier paper while also ignoring nearly all recent literature on the subject of dark matter. I suppose you can cook up a dark matter model that could cause problems on Earth, but it probably would not be allowed by current limits. This proposal requires very dense clumps of dark matter to exist in the galactic plane in order to explain the supposedly periodic (the plot isn’t very convincing) nature of mass extinctions.

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