Asteroids obliterated dinosaurs, study confirms
The official word is out: Dinosaurs became extinct due to a giant asteroid colliding into Earth, according to a review published in the journal Science by an international team of scientists on March 4, reports Reuters.
"A panel of 41 scientists from across the world reviewed 20 years' worth of research to try to confirm the cause of the so-called Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction, which created a "hellish environment" around 65 million years ago and wiped out more than half of all species on the planet," said Reuters.
"We now have great confidence that an asteroid was the cause of the KT extinction. This triggered large-scale fires, earthquakes measuring more than 10 on the Richter scale, and continental landslides, which created tsunamis," said Joanna Morgan of Imperial College London, a co-author of the review. The force of the asteroid upon impact on Earth is believed to have been a billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The massive asteroid or comet smashed into Earth at Chicxulub on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, said the BBC.
"The final nail in the coffin for the dinosaurs" said Morgan, was the atmosphere's contamination of blasted material which covered Earth in darkness, causing a global winter "killing off many species that couldn't adapt to this hellish environment." Gareth Collins, another co-author from Imperial College, said the asteroid explosion created a "hellish day" ending the 160-million-year existence of the dinosaurs, but also "ultimately paved the way for humans to become the dominant species on Earth." The BBC reports that the extinction also killed off half of all species on Earth including the dinosaurs, bird-like pterosaurs and large marine reptiles, leaving out mammals to be the dominant species on Earth.
After much deliberation and debate, scientists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan ruled out that the cause of the extinction was volcanic activity in the Deccan Traps (now India), where a series of super volcanic eruptions lasted for around 1.5 million years.
Check out Collins' website to see the effects of the asteroid impact.