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hungarian_boss
03-06-2010, 02:29 AM
LONDON (Reuters) A giant asteroid smashing into Earth is the only plausible explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs, a global scientific team said on Thursday, hoping to settle a row that has divided experts for decades.

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.

Scientific opinion was split over whether the extinction was caused by an asteroid or by volcanic activity in the Deccan Traps in what is now India, where there were a series of super volcanic eruptions that lasted around 1.5 million years.

The new study, conducted by scientists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan and published in the journal Science, found that a 15-kilometre (9 miles) wide asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub in what is now Mexico was the culprit.

"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.
The asteroid is thought to have hit Earth with a force a billion times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

Morgan said the "final nail in the coffin for the dinosaurs" came when blasted material flew into the atmosphere, shrouding the planet in darkness, causing a global winter and "killing off many species that couldn't adapt to this hellish environment."

Scientists working on the study analyzed the work of paleontologists, geochemists, climate modelers, geophysicists and sedimentologists who have been collecting evidence about the KT extinction over the last 20 years.

Peter Schulte of the University of Erlangen in Germany, a lead author on the study, said fossil records clearly show a mass extinction about 65.5 million years ago -- a time now known as the K-Pg boundary.

Despite evidence of active volcanism in India, marine and land ecosystems only showed minor changes in the 500,000 years before the K-Pg boundary, suggesting the extinction did not come earlier and was not prompted by eruptions.

The Deccan volcano theory is also thrown into doubt by models of atmospheric chemistry, the team said, which show the asteroid impact would have released much larger amounts of sulphur, dust and soot in a much shorter time than the volcanic eruptions could have, causing extreme darkening and cooling.

Gareth Collins, another co-author from Imperial College, said the asteroid impact created a "hellish day" that signaled the end of the 160-million-year reign of the dinosaurs, but also turned out to be a great day for mammals.

"The KT extinction was a pivotal moment in Earth's history, which ultimately paved the way for humans to become the dominant species on Earth," he wrote in a commentary on the study.

(Collins has created a website at http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/Chicxulub.html which allows readers to see the effects of the asteroid impact.)

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imfromdafeuchur
03-06-2010, 02:45 AM
It was aliens brah....

they used weapons of massest destructiones por pa fukkin vor.

drpurple
03-06-2010, 02:46 AM
had a read of this the other day. to be honest, i didnt really see it as news.

SiZzLaX
03-06-2010, 02:58 AM
I read somewhere once that there were reported sightings of dino's in the Congo or something.. would that make all this research false if that were actually true.

drpurple
03-06-2010, 03:00 AM
I read somewhere once that there were reported sightings of dino's in the Congo or something.. would that make all this research false if that were actually true.

no, it would mean that either a subspecies survived, OR evolution has given us yet another species that we havent discovered. it wouldnt ruin any research, it would merely add to the whole picture.

imfromdafeuchur
03-06-2010, 03:00 AM
I read somewhere once that there were reported sightings of dino's in the Congo or something.. would that make all this research false if that were actually true.

Probably just large reptiles.

drpurple
03-06-2010, 03:07 AM
Probably just large reptiles.

i would absolutely love it if we found a bipedal knee-over-ankle reptile or lizard type thing in some remote part of the world. absolutely love it. particularly if it had rudimentary feathers. id try and keep one as a pet.

floods
03-06-2010, 03:14 AM
Yeah pretty interesting to think how diff the world would be if they hadn't died out like that

To be honest, I think humans would be harder to kill off like that

drpurple
03-06-2010, 03:17 AM
Yeah pretty interesting to think how diff the world would be if they hadn't died out like that

To be honest, I think humans would be harder to kill off like that

well, yeah. mammals survived....