Researchers claim it took more than an asteroid impact to end the reign of the terrible lizards.
There’s been a long-standing debate about whether the species extinction event was caused by an asteroid slamming into the Earth or a chain reaction of deadly volcanic eruptions – and a new research study suggests the answer may be both.
UC Berkeley geoscientists Paul Renne and Mark Richards looked at the colossal Chicxulub crater in Mexico. They concluded an asteroid's impact was like a match to gas, igniting a series of deadly volcanic eruptions which transformed the Earth's air. The ash-spewing gaseous eruptions blanketed the planet, creating an uninhabitable poisonous atmosphere for 500,000 years.
When the Mexican crater was discovered in 1980, the asteroid's point of impact was carbon-dated to 6.5 million years ago - the date paleontologists believe marked the death of the dinosaurs. The death knell is known scientifically as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction.
In India, evidence of a series of massive lava flows, the Deccan Trap, was also discovered by scientists. The lava flow also coincided with the dinosaur extinction timeline – sparking the long-standing debate between paleontologists.
While the UC Berkeley research team now say it was a combination of both - many geologists debate whether the Mexican crater Chicxulub was even the killer asteroid.
The extinction event may have been caused by a different asteroid in another location or by a series of meteorological impacts.
The only ones who know for sure are the dinosaurs - and they’re not talking.