Akmetiev Laboratori

We both have been fascinated by the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-T) boundary since the late 1970s. The Alvarez discovery galvanized our individual research efforts and we have worked together on this problem since we met in 1983. Our research has focused on western North America, so our data and interpretations are largely based on field work and laboratory analyses in this region. We have also studied terrestrial K-T boundary sections in Russia, China, and New Zealand and searched, unsuccessfully, for them in Mongolia, Patagonia, and India.

In preparation for writing this book, we made a comprehensive survey of the world's scientific literature through 2006 pertaining to plants and the K-T boundary. Our bibliographic database includes more than 500 references, but we have chosen to cite only those most relevant to understanding the effects of the terminal Cretaceous event on plants. We sought to interpret objectively the data available in those publications rather than simply to repeat the conclusions of the original authors. In many instances we agree with the original authors, but in some we do not. In the latter instances, we trust we have fairly presented their views and that we have given no reason for offense in our reinterpretation.

To present a major conclusion at the outset, we deduce that the changes in plant communities that took place at the K-T boundary are inextricably and causally linked to the impact of an extraterrestrial body on the Earth in the Caribbean region - the Chicxulub impact. The events that transpired in latest Cretaceous and earliest Paleogene time are much more complex than this statement suggests, however. We invite the reader to explore this fascinating subject with us.

We gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance of many colleagues over the last 25 years for their insights, inspiration, and collaborations in reference to the terrestrial K-T boundary. Specifically, we thank Walter Alvarez, David Archibald, Frank Asaro, Moses Attrep Jr., Richard Barclay, Edward Belt, Samuel

Bowring, Dennis Braman, William Cobban, Philip Currie, Robyn Burnham, Steven D'Hondt, Erling Dorf, Beth Ellis, David Fastovsky, Farley Fleming, Joseph Hartman, Leo Hickey, Jason Hicks, Brian Huber, Steven Manchester, Edward Murphy, John Obradovich, Carl Orth, Dean Pearson, Herman Pfefferkorn, Charles Pillmore, Robert Raynolds, Michele Reynolds, Eugene Shoemaker, Arthur Sweet, Louis Taylor, Alfred Traverse, Robert and Bernadine Tschudy, Gary Upchurch Jr., Vivi Vajda, Wesley Wehr, Peter Wilf, Scott Wing, and Jack Wolfe. Our field efforts outside of North America were supported or enlightened by Joan Esterle, Elizabeth Kennedy, Jane Newman, Ian Raine, Khishigjav Tsogtbataar, Mahito Watabe, Makoto Manabe, Masaki Matsukawa, Harufumi Nishida, Kaz Uemura, Ruben Ciineo, Alejandra Gandolfo, Rosendo Pascual, Pablo Puerta, Raminder Loyal, Ashok Sahni, Chen Pei-ji, Sun Chunlin, Sun Ge, Rahman Ashraf, Mikhail Akmetiev, Eugenia Bugdaeva, Lena Golovneva, Alexei Herman, Tatiana Kezina, Tatiana Kodrul, Valentin Krassilov, and Valentina Markevich. Beth Ellis prepared many of the maps and plates; Dennis Braman of the Royal Tyrrell Museum reviewed data on Canadian localities summarized in the Appendix; Ian Miller reviewed the final manuscript. We are grateful to the editorial staff of Cambridge University Press for their patience, support, and guidance.

Douglas J. Nichols Kirk R. Johnson

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