I expect that this question will continue to be controversial. Every few years a new study comes out that reverses the conclusions of a previous study. I’ve seen the pendulum swing toward reduced diversity and back toward maintained diversity at least twice now. One may hope that each new study improves on the previous.
There has been a debate about the potential impact of supervolcanism (i.e. the Deccan traps) during that time period. Although supervolcanism wasn’t mentioned explicitly, the references to climate change are probably meant to address supervolcanism. As in all science, the debate goes on.
Are we aware of any form of life that has not thrived and what does that tell us if anything?
Is there any conceptual conflict between life as a struggle to survive and life as thriving?
Yes humans after the rise of agriculture were less healthy than previous hunter gather societies.
The concept that Darwin found interesting was Malthusian economics. Essentially, it treats economics as a zero sum game where there will be losers and winners. Biology is essentially the same thing. There are limited resources, so there will be winners and losers. Life can produce more mouths than there is food to feed them.
So when the article you linked to talks about dinosaurs “thriving” that is based on a study of their health compared to the health of their predecessors?
“The results of our study suggest that dinosaurs as a whole were adaptable animals, capable of coping with the environmental changes and climatic fluctuations that happened during the last few million years of the Late Cretaceous. Climate change over prolonged time scales did not cause a long-term decline of dinosaurs through the last stages of this period.”
It’s in the article:
They are basing their descriptions on the number and diversity of species.
Was that intended as a real question? It doesn’t seem to make sense. Did you read the paper? What we’re talking about here is species diversity, which is just a fancy way of saying the number of species. The issue is whether diversity was declining during the Late Cretaceous, so that the K/T impact was just a coup de grace on a group already on its way out, or whether it was holding steady and doing just fine. The paper proposes the latter.
I’m unable to make sense out of that one at all. I’m sensing some kind of attempt to score a point at the expense of those silly biologists, but I can’t tell what it is.
Of course you are, and of course you can’t, because it’s all about scoring points with you. When you’re a hammer …
…and Mung melts every IronyMeter within a 100 mile radius.