Dinosaurs began to die out 10 million years before the impact of the asteroid
Scientists have reconstructed the history of the death of dinosaurs. The study showed that they began to die out long before the cosmic impact that caused a global catastrophe, according to Nature Communications.
Six species, including Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, and Hadrosaurus, evolved and flourished throughout the Cretaceous. But about 76 million years ago, they began to decline.
The authors suggested that this was due to a global cooling, when the temperature on the planet dropped by 7 degrees Celsius, the disappearance of herbivores and the inability of dinosaurs to adapt to new conditions.
A team of international researchers analyzed 1,600 fossils from six dinosaur families: ankylosaurids, ceratopsids, hadrosaurids, dromaeosaurids, troodontids, and tyrannosaurids. They covered a time period from 150 to 66 million years ago.
Analysis of the data showed that approximately 10 million years before the fall of the asteroid, the rate of extinction of dinosaurs increased, and new species practically ceased to appear. Scientists noted that this was a key moment in the evolution of life.
The study showed that the herbivorous dinosaurs were the first to start disappearing. This made all ecosystems unstable and vulnerable to destruction. Dinosaurs ceased to be dominant on Earth, and other species began to replace them, including mammals.
“Mammals began to increase the number of species even before the dinosaurs disappeared, and then, after the impact, they had a chance to build new types of ecosystems that we see today,” – says the text of the scientific work.
Earlier it became known that dinosaurs lived in the Arctic all year round. They also bred offspring there.