The dinosaurs were already extinct, when a massive meteor hit Earth and wiped out two-thirds of all plant and animal life, new research shows.
UK – Even before the huge volcanic eruptions in India poisoned the entire eco-system and before a giant meteor hit the Earth, wiping out two-thirds of the Earth’s flora and fauna, dinosaurs were dying out.
This has been revealed in new research from the UK published in the journal PNAS. And it is key knowledge for understanding the Cretaceous period.
At that time 66 million years ago the long-necked dinosaurs still existed and the Tyrannosauros Rex even hunted other animals. But later died and so many new species came to be.
According to one of the authors in the study, Bent Lindow, paleontologist at the Natural History Museum, surprisingly they figured out that by the end of the Cretaceous period came many more dinosaurs species and many more birds species. But now they get an opposite result – the number is fewer than what was previously believed to be true.
Scientists can not yet explain why there were fewer and fewer species. Therefore, the results, leave paleontologists with new questions.
New method used
The new knowledge about dinosaur extinction has only come to light now because they have used a more precise method.
Previously, to investigate how many dinosaurs were there at end of the Cretaceous period, you had to count how many species existing in different times.
What is new is that the authors have used family trees and mapped them, and then you can get a more accurate number of how many different species are there at any time.
Dinosaur extinction – the short explanation
- The new results from the UK show that there were fewer and fewer species of dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous period.
- New species were developed, but there are several species that are becoming extinct, so diversity is reduced.
- Additionally, some violent volcanoes outbreaks in India ended the Cretaceous period. It poisoned the earth and the atmosphere throughout the global ecosystem.
- This was followed by a giant meteor hitting the Earth, creating havoc and sent dust and ash into the atmosphere.
- Meteor destroys two-thirds of the Earth’s animal and plant species and is the death knell for the last dinosaurs. This was about 66 million years ago.