Researchers at Leiden University used a method called “Dangerous Object Identifier” to identify several dangerous asteroids.
- An asteroid impact 66 million years ago killed most dinosaurs on Earth.
- The only dinos to survive were the species that became birds.
- The impact of the asteroid produced “a blue screen of death for dinosaurs”.
After all, it was the asteroid.
A new study confirms that an asteroid impact 66 million years ago – not volcanic eruptions – killed most dinosaurs on Earth.
“Our study confirms, for the first time quantitatively, that the only plausible explanation for extinction is the impact of winter that eradicated dinosaur habitats worldwide,” said the study’s lead author. Alessandro Chiarenza imperial college London, in a Declaration.
The asteroid attack would have released high particles and gases into the atmosphere, blocking the sun for years and causing permanent winters, the study said.
The only dinos to survive were the species that became birds.
“We have shown that the asteroid has had an impact in winter for decades, and that these environmental effects have decimated environments suitable for dinosaurs,” Chiarenza said.
Artist’s depiction of Ankylosaurus magniventris, a large species of armored dinosaur, witnessing the impact of an asteroid falling on the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago. (Photo: Fabio Manucci)
Study co-author Philip Mannion of University College London explains how the study was done: “In this study, we added a modeling approach to key geological and climate data that show the devastating effect of asteroid impact on global habitats. Essentially, it produces a blue screen of death for dinosaurs.”
Prior to this study, some researchers had suggested that volcanic eruptions may have caused the extinction event, which wiped out nearly 75% of life on Earth.
The new study said that, in contrast, volcanoes may have actually helped increase life after the asteroid:
After the initial drastic global winter caused by the asteroid, the study suggests that, in the long run, volcanic warming could have helped restore many habitats, helping the new life that evolved after the asteroid attack to thrive.
“We provide new evidence to suggest that volcanic eruptions that happen at the same time may have reduced the effects on the environment caused by the impact, particularly in accelerating temperature increases after the impact of winter,” Chiarenza said.
“This volcanic-induced warming has helped increase the survival and recovery of animals and plants that survived extinction, with many groups expanding in their immediate aftermath, including birds and mammals,” he said.
The study was published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences.
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