A groundbreaking new study into the extinction of the dinosaurs suggests that the iconic creatures suffered a far more prolonged demise than the instantaneous event we were taught in school.
For the first time, researchers used phylogenetics to map how species evolved during the era of the dinosaurs and see how populations of the creatures changed.
In turn, they discovered that dinosaurs appeared to be slowly ceding their control of the planet around 50 millions years before the infamous asteroid laid waste to what was left of the creatures.
The reason for this dino decline is believed to be the climate upheaval taking place during this time which made the planet inhospitable to the animals.
This period also gave rise to the future rulers of Earth: mammals, albeit tiny rodents and similar vermin.
Nonetheless, these diminutive mammals may have contributed to a changing ecosystem that no longer favored the dinosaurs.
As such, the remaining dinosaurs who were around for the asteroid strike may have simply gotten a head start on what was already an eventual extinction.
Despite the findings of the new research, some experts are not convinced that the dinosaurs were on track to disappear and insist that they only truly vanished because of the asteroid event.
And while we may never know the true circumstances of how the dinosaurs died, let's just be happy it happened and that we're not all still small rodents attempting to survive in a world of thunder lizards.
Source: Discovery News