(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that global warming at the beginning of the Jurassic period allowed dinosaurs to evolve rapidly and displace other large vertebrates.
This disproves another hypothesis, which says that dinosaurs took their position in the course of competition with predecessor species.
Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for tens of millions of years. However, scientists are still arguing how this group of animals managed to take this position.
Some paleontologists believe that dinosaurs achieved success after a long competition with more ancient reptiles, “with a fight” occupying their ecological niches and displacing rivals by the beginning of the Jurassic period (about 200 million years ago).
Other scientists are of the opinion that the mass extinction at the border of the Triassic and Jurassic periods played a key role – old species died, which made room for dinosaurs.
Now a group of paleontologists have found new arguments in favor of the second hypothesis.
Scientists compared computer climate models that take into account past temperature and rainfall with data on dinosaurs that lived at the border of the Triassic and Jurassic periods.
The analysis showed that it was the warming that followed the extinction that provided dinosaurs with rapid evolution and a dominant position on the planet. In particular, high temperatures allowed giant sauropods to evolve and spread.
Thus, in the Triassic, the development of dinosaurs was held back by unsuitable climatic conditions, the authors of the study believe, and not by competition from other vertebrates. As soon as the climate changed, dinosaurs began to evolve rapidly.
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