Asteroid impact triggered the rise of the dinosaurs

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According to scientists, the era of the dinosaurs ended about 66 millions ago with the impact of a massive asteroid. However, what is less discussed is how they managed to become the dominant species on Earth in the first place. Now a group of British and Italian researchers think that they have the answer. The dinosaurs would have spread to every corner of the Globe 232 million years ago after an asteroid impact.

Although the terrestrial vertebrates had existed at the beginning of the Triassic geologic period 245 million years ago, they would have only spread throughout the land 13 million years later, according to a research team from Great Britain and Italy, whose work has been published in the journal “Nature Communications”.

One of the reasons for the dinosaurs’ expansion was extreme climate change, which was accompanied by the impact of a meteorite, which influenced the living conditions on earth and in the water.

For their study, the researchers examined footprints of dinosaurs in rock formations in the northern Italian Dolomites. There they found only a few traces for the earlier period, but a rapid spread in the later period. At the same time skeletal finds in Argentina and Brazil pointed to an explosion of dinosaurs after the meteorite impact.

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“It was exciting to see the footprints and skeletons tell the same story,” said geoscientist and lead author Massimo Bernardi of the Museo delle Scienze in Trento, Italy, and the British University of Bristol. “It is amazing how clearly the change from ‘no dinosaurs’ to ‘quite a few dinosaurs’ was.”

Accordingly, the dinosaurs’ time was largely determined by two meteorites. A devastating meteorite strike 66 million years ago finally ended the era of the dinosaurs. But many millions of years earlier, more Dino species disappeared from Earth than new ones, British researchers reported in 2016 in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences

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Andrei Santov

Andrei, a sociologist by profession, born in Russia but currently located in UK, covers mostly European and Russia-related news for The Talking Democrat.