Many believe that dinosaurs came to an end as a result of a long period of climate change and volcanic activity. However, new research claims that it was an asteroid that led to their demise.
The debate over what led to the extinction has long been a fiery topic. Some believe it is due to a large asteroid, while others believe it was volcanic activity and climate change. A third group believes that both factors acted together.
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, provides evidence against the volcano theory. “The relative roles of these two potential kill mechanisms on the timing and magnitude of the extinction have been fiercely debated for decades,” said the study.
“We show that only the asteroid impact, particularly with its prolonged consequences, was the real driver of the extinction,” said Dr Alfio Alessandro Chiarenza, who conducted the research, to CNN World.
According to The Guardian, the researchers came to the conclusion by modelling the different theories and studying their effects on the ecosystems.
“When we produced the different scenarios both for either the two things happening together, or completely separated, we see the asteroid is [the] only [event] that can completely eradicate the habitats that can be suitable for dinosaurs,” said Chiarenza to The Guardian.
First, the researchers explored the reduction in sunlight which would have resulted from the volcanic activity, then they did the same for the asteroid. They found a 5% reduction caused by eruptions, but a 10-20% reduction as a result of the asteroid. They suggested that a 5% reduction was not enough to lead to the dinosaurs’ extinction, however, a 10-20% reduction definitely was.
“Even if the volcanic eruptions had not happened, the extinction would have occurred in any case as the [impact] event was severe enough to eradicate dinosaurs’ habitats worldwide,” Chiarenza said.
Despite the evidence they have provided, their results are still being criticised. The researchers are, however, not surprised, as they are are many firmly believe in the volcano and climate change theory.