When the asteroid fell, the dinosaurs were the masters of the Earth and were not going to die out at all

(ORDO NEWS) — A study by the University of Edinburgh has provided new evidence that dinosaurs were doing very well before the asteroid hit and were not going to die out.

Scientists have reconstructed food webs for millennia before and after the asteroid impact and have shown how some mammals and birds survived the catastrophe that ended 165 million years of dinosaur life.

Today, most paleontologists agree that it was the fall of the asteroid that led to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

But whether they were already in a state of decline and dying out, or vice versa – they flourished, there is no agreement on this yet.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh looked at more than 1,600 fossils dating from 18 million years before the asteroid impact – the last years of the Cretaceous period – to the first 4 million years of the Paleogene period, which began the day a rock 12.5 km in diameter crashed into the Mexican peninsula. Yucatan.

The fossils represent virtually every species of animal that lived during this period, from fish, salamanders and frogs to crocodiles, dinosaurs and mammals.

Evaluating the number of remains found, the researchers concluded that dinosaurs occupied a stable and secure place in the ecological network at the time of their death, while there is no indication in the fossil record that their food sources were declining, said lead author Jorge Garcia-Giron.

The price of dominance

When the asteroid fell the dinosaurs were the masters of the Earth and were not going to die out at all 2

Mammals during the Late Cretaceous, by contrast, struggled to survive in a landscape dominated by giant reptiles.

“It’s kind of a compromise,” Garcia-Girón said. “Dinosaurs, of course, were the masters of the entire ecosystem.

But on the other hand, mammals were willing to diversify and colonize different habitats and different environments.”

When the asteroid hit, this flexibility could have been a lifesaver for mammals.

The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event , which began with the fall of an asteroid, destroyed approximately 75% of the species on the planet.

When the collision happened, fires started, huge clouds of particulate matter heated up the landscape and changed the atmosphere.

Most dinosaurs could not burrow underground, fly away to safer territory, or submerge themselves in order to get through hard times, as the surviving species did.

Dinosaurs were ideally suited to the landscapes and climate of the Late Cretaceous. When an unprecedented, unexpected event destroyed this world, the dinosaurs left with it.

While the new study answers questions about a major event in the planet’s past, it could also help scientists interpret our future.

Understanding the five mass extinctions in the Earth‘s prehistoric record can help us anticipate which plant and animal species will be harmed or lost by anthropogenic climate change.


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