The meteor that marked the end of the dinosaurs hit Earth in the spring. The season may have made the extinction worse.
66 million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the world, or at least walked it.
For more than 150 million years, they lived and controlled the planet, before a meteorite smashed into the Earth and wiped out almost all species that lived on the planet at that time.
New research shows that a meteor hit Earth in the spring, writes Watchman.
The timing of the meteorite, which is estimated to be at least 11 kilometers in diameter, may have contributed to making the dinosaur extinction worse.
The worst in the northern hemisphere
The research showed that animals north of the equator would have been further exposed to the massive heat wave that followed the collision, because they had just gone through the cold winter months.
The meteor impact caused a long period of intense heat, but at first it became very cold.
To survive that winter, they first had to survive the impact, says paleontologist Melanie while at Uppsala University in Sweden and one of the lead authors behind the research.
Perhaps the animals that lived south would fare better, as it was autumn for them.
“Everything in the Southern Hemisphere that already has a shelter has a better chance of surviving,” he told The Guardian.
Daniel Field, associate professor of palaeontology at the University of Cambridge, was not involved in the research himself, but says the season may have affected how lethal the meteor impact was.
If the meteorite struck at a biologically sensitive time of year for many organisms in the northern hemisphere, it may have contributed to extinction rates that were higher than one would have expected.
Field also says that there was nothing greater than a cat that survived a meteorite impact, and that many species were doomed to die no matter what season the meteorite hit Earth.
Large, non-bird dinosaurs would likely have been annihilated no matter what time of year the asteroid impacted, he says.
Fossils of fish determine the season
By searching for fish fossils found in North Dakota, USA, scientists were able to calculate the time of year when the meteorite hits Earth.
Small pieces of molten rock were thrown into the air as a result of the meteorite. The remains of these stones were found inside the gills of fossil fish.
For this reason, scientists are sure that the fish they are looking for died as a result of the meteor impact.
The researchers identified, among other things, seasonal cycle lights in the growth of fish bones and the results indicate that the fish died and that the meteor struck in the spring.
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