New evidence supports asteroid theory of dinosaur extinction

New evidence supports asteroid theory of dinosaur extinction

A new study reveals a fascinating truth about the mass extinction event that wiped the dinosaurs from the face of the Earth.

A global team of researchers studied a collection of 6,000 marine fossils, lifted from Seymour Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, dating between 69 and 65 million years old. "Clearly, a very sudden and catastrophic event had occurred on Earth", said James Witts, a doctoral student at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study, in a press release.

The evidence, Witts added, strongly indicates that the primary factor behind the extinction was a massive asteroid impact instead of climate change or extreme volcanism.

Their findings shattered earlier notions that polar creatures were distant enough from the extinction event to be affected adversely, may it be an asteroid impact striking the Gulf of Mexico or severe volcanism in India's Deccan province.

The enormous collection, excavated by scientists on Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula, included a wide range of species, from small snails and clams that lived on the sea floor, to large and unusual creatures that swam in the surface waters of the ocean.

This is the first study to argue that the mass die-off that happened at the end of the Cretaceous Period was as rapid and devastating not only around the world, but at the Earth's polar regions, according to a statement by the University of Leeds.

"Antarctic rocks contain a truly exceptional assemblage of fossils that have yielded new and surprising information about the evolution of life 66 million years ago", said co-author Prof.

They saw a drastic 65 to 70 percent drop in the species populations in the Antarctic region some 66 million years earlier, which coincided with disappearance of the dinosaurs as well as many other animals at the end of the Cretaceous period. For example, life near the Poles has to adapt to living in darkness for half of the year and to an irregular food supply.

James Witts said: "Most fossils are formed in marine environments, where it is easy for sediment to accumulate rapidly and bury parts of animals, such as bones, or bodies of creatures with a hard shell".

The impact was sudden for other species, but how about the dinosaurs?