A new study from Tohoku University claims dinosaurs would still be around had the asteroid hit some other part of Earth millions of years ago.
66 million years ago, a massive asteroid (estimated to be 10 km wide) struck what is now the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The blast was so powerful, it heated the organic matter in rocks which in turn shot soot in the stratosphere, blocking out sunlight and disrupting photosynthesis. Another effect of the Sun being blocked was the lowering of the Earth’s temperature by about 10 degrees Celsius.
In essence, due to a nuclear winter, dinosaurs were left without a constant food source. The event killed off the dinosaurs and made way for us humans.
The research paper was published in the journal Scientific Reports and bases the death of dinosaurs on geography rather than blast power.Researchers now say that the probability of the event taking place would have been about 13 percent. A lead scientist from Tohoku University in Japan, Kunio Kaiho, attributed the death of the dinosaur to bad luck. The team stated that if the asteroid wouldn’t have hit Earth’s hydrocarbon-rich areas (13% of Earth’s surface) then the global climate wouldn’t have been affected so severely.
A paleontologist at the Edinburgh University, Steve Brusatte, said in in 2014 that dinosaurs could have survived if the asteroid hit “a few million years earlier or later”. He notes the bad timing of the impact coupled the dinosaurs’ increasingly carnivore behavior is what ultimately killed the giant predators.
“The amount of hydrocarbon and sulfur rocks varies widely, depending on location… The site of asteroid impact, therefore, changed the history of life on Earth.”
If the asteroid had hit the other 87 percent of the planet, researchers are quite sure that several species of dinosaur would have persisted after the catastrophe.
Image Source: Nasa.Gov