Dino-killing asteroid didn't act alone





There's never a good time to get clobbered by an asteroid — something the dinosaurs discovered in the worst way possible. It was 65.5 million years ago that an asteroid measuring 6 mi. (10 km) across, slammed into the Earth just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, blasting out a 110 mi. (180 km) crater and sending out a cloud of globe-girdling debris that cooled and darkened the world. That spelled doom for species that had come to like things bright and warm. Before long (in geological terms, at least) the dinos were gone and the mammals arose.

That's how the story has long been told and it's still the most-widely accepted theory. Now, however, a study led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and published in Nature Communications suggests that the asteroid may not have affected all dinosaur species equally. Some, including the well-loved triceratops and duck-billed dinosaurs, might have been on their way out already and were simply hastened to the exit by the asteroid blast. The reason for their weakened state — and the way the investigators discovered it — provide both new insights into the fate of the dinosaurs and new methods with which to study their world....



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